Garage Sale Shopping

Rummage sale, yard sale, garage sale--call it what you want, but if I see a sign and furniture set out on your property, I'm there!

Why did I make the jump into rummage sale shopping? A few reasons.
1. Our cute home didn't come furnished--though truthfully, if the previous owner's taste in furniture is like their painting style, I'm thankful.
2. We are on a limited budget and new furniture is beyond its reach.
3. I love vintage/antique/retro/old everything and prefer them to new pieces. I mean, I'm the girl whose only request when approached by her boyfriend about her taste in engagement rings was to have a vintage ring. The same girl that described her upcoming nuptials as having "old Hollywood glamour with a vintage Dakota vibe." Yes, I love the bygone eras.

Bottom line, I haven't found a better way to score on inexpensive furniture than rummage sale shopping.

Things I've learned from shopping rummage sales:
1. There are few ways to experience the triumph that comes with purchasing an amazing bargain, like the $15 antique oak dresser I found yesterday. It's gorgeous grain is covered in six layers of paint, but it's in great shape otherwise. As you can see in the photo, it didn't fit in the back of the car very well. Thankfully the sale was only 3 houses down from mine. Thanks neighbors!
2. If I love something when at it's worst, I'll love it even more when I'm done fixing it up. Such is the case with my new bamboo coffee table. In less than 24 hours, I bought it, removed the old caning from the joints, sanded, primed, painted and placed it in our living room. I've wanted a glass-topped coffee table for months, but didn't think I'd find one for $15! Often, what separates a rummage sale steal and the higher-priced piece is the work it'll take to get it whipped into shape--do the work and save some cash.
3. If there's something I love but it's over my budget, I'm not afraid to talk to the sellers and see if they are willing to take a lower price. I did this on a huge wall mirror for our bedroom. It was marked as $50, but I ended up paying $30. A smile and some charm go a long way.
Thinking of jumping into the savings? A few things I've learned that may help:
1. Check the local listings to find out which sales are on both Friday evening and Saturday morning. Lots of the best things at a sale will get snagged on Friday evenings. We've only gone out on a Friday once (and that was because I drove by it on my way home from work) but we ended up with a $40 NEW IN BOX pedestal sink. Sidenote: Mike asked the woman selling it if there was anything wrong with it, and apparently she just never got around to installing it. Our bathroom revamp budget thanks her!
2. Set a budget. I only carry cash when rummage sale shopping, ensuring I never spend more than I intend to.
3. Shop with a friend. My friend Lori, who looks for name-brand baby clothes for her infant son, and I have gone scrounging shopping together a few times. You'll get plenty of chatting time in while trying to type the correct address into your GPS and find the next location.
4. Don't buy what you don't immediately need. Impulse buying is dangerous because you don't want to end up with a house full of stuff you don't use. If you've picked up something but you're not sure what you'll do with it, put it down and walk away.

Happy hunting!


  1. i love this post! my boyfriend just got a house in minnesota and (assuming things go as planned) i'll be moving in with him after i graduate. i also love vintage/retro items and i never really thought about garage sales to find furniture. thanks for the idea!