I’m a big fan of garage sales. I’ve had them and I’ve gone to lots of them. They are the epitome of a Win/Win situation! The person having the sale gets rid of unneeded items and gets a little extra cash as a result. While the buyer gets some needed items at a low cost. Everybody is a winner!:-)
As we have entered into the month of May we have officially hit the Garage Sale season-wahoo! Below are some decor pieces I have found at garage sales, the prices I bought them at, and some trusty tips! My purpose in sharing this info is to hopefully motivate you to get your running shoes on and ready to sprint (or drive if you have to be lazy about it, lol) to some garage sales this year! No matter what your level of garage sale experience is or even if garage sales give you the eebie jeebies I hope you get something out of this post.
Warning: Onslaught of photos ahead!
1. Baker’s Rack Turned Console Table
When I spotted this garage sale find it was fashioned in oak wood with oak wicker drawers and forest green wrought iron legs. It was UG-GA-LY and that’s an understatement. It also had a matching 2-tiered shelf that was equally unattractive. But I quickly envisioned it’s potential and scooped the set up for $20. I use the 2 tiered shelf in my closet to house my shoes and this transformed table proudly sit in our master bedroom across from our bed.
***Tip- When you go to garage sales be color blind. Seriously, colors of furniture and décor can be painted easily. Look at the items functionality and overall shape and lines. If the color is the only thing that’s bothering you, take it home and paint it. Paint like a magic wand–so be color blind!
2. Sofa Table Turned Outdoor Table Bench
This outdoor bench was originally a sofa table that I found at a garage sale for $5. The wood was faded and quite frankly it was a pretty unimpressive as a sofa table. But I took it home with me hoping that I could chop off it’s legs (Monty Python and The Holy Grail movie just came to mind, “it’s just a flesh wound”) and make it a bench for my new outdoor table. It was in dire need of some seating–lots of it! Good news, it worked! I used my miter saw to make the cuts (it helps to have another person there to hold the weight of the other side of the bench while making cuts). I think a jig saw or even a handsaw could of worked too. Oh, and I gave it a nice, new coat of paint. Personally, I think it’s happier being a bench.
***Tip- Remember to think outside the box. The seller may have used it as a sofa table but you need an outdoor bench. Try to think of other ways of using the items that you see at a garage sale. Go with your creative juices already churning and ready to find what you need for a great deal.
3. Decorative Vase
I came across this beautiful vase in a really well-off neighborhood. There were no prices on her items and I thought for sure it would be overpriced but nope, when I asked how much she replied a dollar. SOLD! Blues and browns are a gorgeous combination and I walked out with a gorgeous vase for $1. It is displayed in the family room on the sofa table with a collection of decorative branches that I got at Walmart for $10.
***Tip-The super rich neighborhoods are not always the best neighborhoods to go to for two reasons. One, sellers often have never been to a garage sale themselves so they do not understand what garage sale prices are. Two, they have bought their items at such high prices that what seems like a fair garage sale price is actually still more than something similar you could buy new at Target. Obviously, I’m not saying this is true for all well-off neighborhoods (ie: I got my vase for $1) but generally you find higher prices in these neighborhoods.
These counter-height stools were just what I was looking for after I painted my kitchen cabinets white. My goal of painting the cabinets was to lighten the kitchen up and it worked but I was needing some espresso wood in the room to anchor it as well as to create flow into our connecting family room. Thankfully, I found these bar stools at a close by garage sale for only $2.50 each! A steal considering Pottery Barn is selling a similar one for $129 a piece.
***Tip-Go into a garage sale with a clear list of items you are looking for and where you would put it. There are a lot of ‘things’ to look at but try to stay focused on what you are searching for so you will have time to move onto another garage sale if needed.
5. 2-Tiered Flower Holder
Last Summer I was determined to create a beautiful, relaxing outdoor patio and was on the hunt for inexpensive decorative items to achieve this goal. Garage sales definitely helped me with this task. This fun two-tiered flower holder only cost $2. Granted I did have to scrub some bird poop off of it and touch it up with some black paint but it has been a great asset to our patio ambience ever since.
***Tip- If you need some outdoor décor items on a little budget garage sales are a great place to find them. These items often get sold at garage sales because they are outside most of the year and get a beating from the rain, snow, rust, etc. The seller doesn’t realize they can or want to take the time to clean the item up, paint it, or recover it. I have scored a many outside décor pieces for those reasons all for between 25 cents and $5.
6. Floor Pillar Holder
When I went to the garage sale where I found this floor pillar I had in mind that I needed a brown, unique décor item on the left side of the yellow striped chair to bring more balance and interest to my Living Room. It was candle-less when I first laid eyes on it and I have to admit the thought, what is that thing, went through my head. I knew I loved it’s shape and brown wood tones but I couldn’t figure out what it was for. For a slight second the thought of an old-fashioned t-ball set went through my head but a flashback image of this Pottery barn item was a literal game changer for me!:-)
via Pottery Barn
I rushed to see what it’s little round price tag said and was thrilled to see the price of $1. I bought a $1 candle for it at the dollar store and so far my boys haven’t gotten the thought to use it to play t-ball.:-)
***Do your homework! This might sound silly but before going to shop for décor items even at garage sales you need to know your style and what you like. If I had to say what my style is I would say it is a mix of Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs (Traditional chic with a touch of coastal here and there). It helps me to look at photos of rooms and spaces that are done in the style I like. If you go to a garage sale without knowing your style first it might be tempting to buy something just because you need it and it’s a good deal. In the end you will have a collection of stuff that neither goes together nor reflects the look you love.
7. Map of Lake Erie
I have admit when I sighted this map at a garage sale I may of hurdled a few people to get to it (not really) but I did walk very swiftly and assertively. I didn’t even take the time to see what it was a map of until I had it hanging up over my mantle!:-)
I was enamored by the soothing colors on the map and it’s $4 price tag. I did end up tweaking it’s tiny framed edge though. Originally, it was a brassy color that I felt clashed with the yellow/green tones in the map. So I covered the map with newspapers and then sprayed a silver metallic paint on the framed edge part. And I love it.
***Tip-When you see something you love at a garage sale pick it up as soon as you can and don’t let go of it. If it’s a bigger item and you want to continue to look around go ahead and buy it and have the seller put a sold sticker on it. Even if no one else is at the garage sale and so you think it is safe to leave a wanted item out while you look around, it’s not safe! People are in and out at garage quickly and before you know it someone has pulled up, jumped out, b-lined to “your” item, and is paying for it before you even realize what has happened. Does it sound like I’ve learned this the hard way??
8. 8ft Artificial Tree
If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would have an artificial tree in my house one day I would have laughed in your face (ok, not in your face but probably politely inside)! To learn more about my change of heart on the topic of botanicals you can read Here. Decorative faux trees are usually over $100 and 8ft. ones well over $150. I got this one at a garage sale for $10 (basket included) and it was the perfect filler for an awkwardly empty corner space.
***Tip- Faux plants and flowers are pretty overpriced when bought new from stores. I have scored some at garage sales, especially moving sales. I mean how do you pack a faux plant without it getting destroyed?? Save big and shop for these items at garage sales!
9. Large Tulip Picture, Blue Lamp Base, Gold Vase, and Houndstooth Lampshade Floor Lamp
There’s a lot to talk about here let’s start with the large picture. I am habitually and instinctively drawn to blues–clothes and décor alike. I wanted a different color scheme for my living room and this picture jumped out at me when looking through pictures at a garage sale. I loved it and was shocked that I loved a print so much that didn’t contain the color blue. I bought it for $20 and it became the inspiration piece that I decorated the rest of the room around.
The blue lamp base was only $4. I love the color (of course!). And yes blue found it’s way into even my predetermined non-blue room. The gold vase was a mere $2 and the floor lamp was a $5 find.
Interestingly enough I found the framed picture, gold vase, and floor lamp all at the same garage sale. It was a stager’s garage sale.
***TIP-If you ever come across a posting for a stager’s sale GO to it! Stager’s get paid to purchase really stylish and sometimes high-end décor items and furniture. And then when the staged model home or home for sale is done they often sell it for yard sale or Craigslist prices. It’s a great sale to go to because there is usually a lot of cute stuff for great prices!
When I spot a clean, light colored pillow at a garage sale I grab it and the one above was no exception. I got it for $1 and will soon be recovering it(post to come).
***Tip- People often get rid of the throw pillows they are tired of or that no longer go with their décor at garage sales for $1 or $2 each. This is a great opportunity to snatch of some pillow fillers for a custom cover you are making or one of those $5 Hobby Lobby pillow covers. Pillow fillers are usually at least $5 at Joann’s and aren’t very full. I have found that pillows work great as pillow fillers because they are fuller and cheaper if you get them at a garage sale.
I hope you are now pumped up (like Hans and Franz from SNL) to go garage sale-ing! I thought about doing a Q&A format for this post but found it rather awkward to be asking myself questions. So, if you have any questions on the topic of garage sales please ask me in the comment section and I’ll be happy to answer them!:-)
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- Happy Imperfect Mother’s Day!:-)