Something I can safely say I am pretty good at is thrifting. I actually will admit it--I am a total boss at thrifting.
I am also pretty awesome at estate sales, though I do not like how fast my heart beats when I arrive early to a sale and have to wait in line for numbers. I much prefer to take my time leisurely strolling through the recently dead's home and locating treasures to add to my collection. Estate sales can be tricky, as many of you know. Some estate sales are clearly the actual location of the deceased's final moments--a bit creepy at times. However, in the interest of finding a great bargain, I've often found myself pushing past the somewhat uncomfortable realities of an estate sale to find amazing steals. It seems friends are often saying, "Wait, where did you find that? How do I find something like that?"--my only answer is a willingness to be patient, to be discerning and to trust your gut--if you love it, it's probably awesome.
Recently, one of my finds was featured on the lifestyle blog, Vintage Revivals, which was an awesome surprise and this got me thinking about some other amazing deals I've scored and wanted to share a bit of insight into them and into my thrifting with you.
Outdoor Furniture: About 3 months ago, I went on a Craigslist binge. When I say that, I mean I was actively involved in the FREE and MATERIALS sections of Craigslist. I've heard that CL is getting more and more popular in West Michigan for bargains, so to stay ahead of the curve, I've started to prey upon innocent people who do not know that the items they are giving away are actually worth some serious money. It feels a bit selfish, yes, but at the same time, hey, I'm doing them a favor by removing the item from their house, right? Anyway, these rattan chairs were actually in the FREE section, but incorrectly (score for me, still, you'll see). The girl selling them wanted $50 for all four chairs and an (unpictured) glass top matching table. PERFECT for my patio area outside, just needed some restaining and some vintage patterend Hawaiian cushions and boom, outdoor seating. This was one of those moments were I was literally shoving the chairs into my car before she realized what a great price I was getting. I've looked up similar sets on ebay and they are retailing for 4-5 times what I paid.
The woven chairs at right were also a similar find, though these came from an estate sale in Sutton's Bay in early June. I had intitially done a full walk through of the sale and seen nothing I wanted, but then, in the garage, far up on top, I spotted one of the chairs. When I asked the guy to pull it down for me, we found a partner chair AND a jute rug! He gave me both chairs and the rug for $3. I also found an awesome set of deer antlers which he threw in for another $1. Again, a perfect situation where the family just wanted to get rid of stuff and I happened to want it--score! These woven chairs were featured on Vintage Revival!
MCM Chairs: These 2 guys are probably my favorite find. I went to a Goodwill last year right when we moved int our house purposely looking for a chair pair. I walked into the first place I stopped and sitting right there were these two boys--well, not exaclty in their current state, but rather in plaid upholstery. Nevertheless, they were solid wood, made in Indiana, and gorgeous. Plus they were $10. So I snatched them up, took them to the unholstery guru on Fulton and 5 weeks later, I had 2 brand new mid century modern rocking chairs for the living room. Sure, the unholstery was more than I'd like to have spent, but all in all, no regrets whatsoever about giving these guys a new life.
Glassware/Kitchenware: I LOVE anything glass and anything useful. The kitchen is usually my first stop at any estate sale. These two gentlemen were at an estate sale in Muskegon about a year ago--they actually had over 200 state slate glasses and they were all a rock bottom price of 25 cents each. I KNOW. I loaded up on about 12 of them before Ian told me that was enough (I personally do not think it was nearly enough and I've kicked myself since for not pushing forward and purchasing all 200). I've also been able to score lots of vintage Pyrex, Dansk and cast iron ware from estate sales--these are a fantastic place to look for kitchen supplies; way cheaper than buying new and often with far more character!
Carpets and Rugs: I live in a 120 year old house with wood floors--thus, I am always on the search for rugs and carpets to fit into different spaces and to provide a bit of silencing for the clickety clack of dog toenails. A few weeks ago, I scored the Persian beauty to the left and I haven't been the same sense. Picture it--Thursday afternoon, I'm supposed to be heading up North to throw the Pop Up weddings, but I've got to make one more stop at a thrift store to get some more glassware. I'm wandering around the glass section, listening to the floor creak, when, from the corner of my eye, by the picture frames I see it--the remnant of a Persian rug....approximately 8x4, this little girl had been sawed in half and left to fester. She was being used as display, basically, and when I asked the woman if it was for sale, she said, "Umm, sure, how about $12?" I almost wet my pants. Had I had one more cup of coffee, I would have. I grabbed it up, got home, quickly washed and vacuumed it and what we revealed with the most amazing dark rose Persian I've ever seen. Additional score--it is the exact size for the bathroom where I've been searching for a rug!
Paintings/Mirrors: Paintings and mirrors are also awesome thrift finds. Mirrors can prove a bit more difficult, I think, but it's possible. This beauty to the left is a paint by number I found at a thrift store earlier this Fall. I've been on the hunt for Paint by Number work for about 2 years now and I currently have about 18 in the downstairs bathroom. My goal is to cover the entire space with vintage paint by numbers and while it's an ambitious goal, I think I can do it. This little guy was only $10!
Peacock Chair: This guy is a little controversial. When I brought him home, Ian gave me the "Are you kidding me?" guff about it. Personally, I was over the moon when I found him on CL for $15, but after Ian pushed back, and then our friend Josh did too (who is known for having 100% great taste), I started to doubt Peacock. I have wanted a Peacock chair for awhile and this one is in great shape. Initially I planned to put it on my upstairs office patio, but since that project really hasn't taken off this summer (currently the area is still....well, nothing), it's on the front porch, tied down in case of strong wind or hooligans. I guess the jury is still out for me--now that I've heard from 2 naysayers about the chair, I am a little unsure--so feedback--yay or nay?
I'd love to hear some of your tips and ideas too for thrifting, estate sales and garage sales!