We all have perfectly good furniture and art pieces that no longer fit with our d?cor and yard sales are a good way to get rid of them while earning enough to buy something new that really fits. And visiting those sales is one of the most inexpensive ways to add new life to your home decorating style. The piece that doesn't fit in someone else's home may be just what you were looking for! - And at a fraction of the piece of a new piece!
If you have never been to a garage sale, it is easy to come home with a carload of bargains you have neither use nor room for. A chair for a dollar is no bargain if you already have ten more chairs than you need. As a veteran yard-saler myself, let me offer these tips for the yard-saleing newbie:
1. Make a list of what you need and stick to it. And that means even if you discover a cheap treasure you "might be able to use sometime." Believe me, in six months you will be selling it at your own yard sale - for half the price!
2. Measure your room, windows and available space for certain furniture needs. And speaking from experience, remember to take the list with you!
3. Make a list of addresses and short instructions about how to get there. Check the classifieds and free shopper ads for times and rules. Some people get very grumpy if you interrupt their sleep by showing up at their home two hours before the sale starts.
4. Keep small bills in your hand and leave large bills in your purse. If you take out a big roll of large bills, there is not a vendor alive who will give you a lower bargain price for the item you want. They want their share of that roll!
5. Go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Getting to a yard sale before its "picked over" assures you can find more that you might be able to use. When you visit a yard sale later in the afternoon, vendors are more likely to take much less for the items they still have because they don't want to pack them back in the garage! You might be able to find some good bargains for furniture that was overpriced earlier.
6. Take a partner with you. Share with your partner what each of you is looking for and spread out. You can cover twice as much distance in half the time!
7. Pick up everything you think you might want. You can always put it back. And if you don't pick it up when you see it, chances are someone else will spy it and buy it!
8. Choose furniture with good bones such as solid wood construction and dovetailing. Its much easier to refinish a good piece. Shoddily made furniture will still be shoddy after you redo it.
9. If you find drapes, scarves, sheets or bedspreads in a fabric that blends with your d?cor, buy it to use for reupholstering a used chair, to make pillows for your room or dozens of other uses.
10. Picture frames, even empty ones, can be painted or stained to create new looks. You can always find unframed art you like and with the help of creative matting, you can make it all work together.
And one more thing - I have no scientific proof for this opinion, but I have found it true time after time - the bigger the sign, the lousier the yard sale. Its as if they are using a large sign to make up for the lack of merchandise to attract buyers.
So next Saturday, make your list, take your measurements, grab a good friend and start your new decorating project. You will have fun, get plenty of exercise and save money. What better way to spend a day?
About the author:
Pamela Cole Harris has been a writer and designer for 35 years
(Yikes, has it been that long?) Enjoy her tongue-in-cheek
approach to inexpensive interior design at:
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