What I buy at garage sales and thrift stores. Part two

11. Candle holders. Wood, metal, ceramic, doesn’t matter. They can be painted, stained, whatever and provide lots of options throughout your house. I never met a candle holder I didn’t like.



12. Lamps. Again, any lamp, no matter what they are made of, can be painted. And if you can score some lampshades, that’s even better.

Well, I can’t end on thirteen, can I?

13.  Curtains, sofa pillows, sheet sets. I’ve found some amazing curtain panels over the years. Plus, curtain panels can be used as dust ruffles. I only buy sofa pillows from a “clean “garage sale. You can tell, right? I buy pillows always with the idea of covering them anyway. If I have any doubt, (which has probably only happened once over the years) I put them in a plastic bag for a few days or in the freezer. Yep, the freezer. Any bug or bacteria cannot survive either.

14. Jewelry abounds at garage sales and at a fraction of the retail price. And the one thing about jewelry is it almost never goes out of style.

15. Books. Why anyone would pay full price for a book is behind me. Almost all my books (except for those I get from the library) are from thrift stores.

16. Anything ceramic. No matter how ridiculous they are, when painted they take on a whole different look. Here’s what someone did on Pinterest. Here’s the link.



17.  Finally, mirrors. Can’t believe I almost forgot this one. Every mirror I own is from a garage sale. I have a gallery wall in our bedroom composed of all mirrors. I use mirrors on coffee tables as a kind of basket. I use them on my hutch up against the back to reflect Christmas lights. I find dozens of uses for mirrors. This one was a frame and I had a mirror put in it. It wasn’t nearly as costly as I thought it would be. I can’t take a picture with the mirror in it because the bathroom is really tiny and I can’t get a good shot.

vintage mirror

What a difference, huh?


What I don’t buy.

I don’t buy upholstered furniture unless it comes from a non-smoking, non-pet-owner home. If the garage sale isn’t neat and organized, if the yard isn’t clean and free of debris, I also don’t buy upholstered furniture. Only once have I made an exception and it was a chair I could scrub down and sit outside in the sun. I will buy sheets etc because I can wash them.

Oops, there’s one more thought.

I always look at pieces of furniture for the wood that can be used. Let’s say you find a chest of drawers in terrible shape and you can get it dirt cheap. The drawers can be used in a number of ways. The top can be used in another way. Of course, you will need saws,  etc. If you don’t have the necessary tools then don’t bother.

Check out what this woman did. It’s nothing short of amazing. These are the backs of chairs. She also made her own wreaths. I love the square shape. Personally, I think this is one of my favorite pins ever! It shows such creativity.

DIY chair wall art

If you have the options of buying multiples of anything and it’s cheap enough, do it. Three is a great number. I have a stack of antique hangers that I have some ideas for. I have a stack of breadboards that have been set aside for a project. I have three white tin bowls I use at the cabin. Three, five, and seven are great groupings.

After I wrote this post, I looked around my house. The only pieces I have that were purchased new were the sofas and an upholstered chair. I did buy my dining room set new but I’ve had it for over thirty years and it’s been painted to update it. I do buy small items from Hobby Lobby sometimes; but I’m careful with that, too because if one isn’t careful, one’s house can look too coordinated. There should be some unique pieces in our homes that tell a story.

The truth is we can find almost everything we need at garage sales. For me, the hunt alone is half the fun. I have a friend who has had her basement remodeled. She is trying to buy mostly second-hand furniture. So far, she’s found the lamps and two ottomans.

Last weekend I learned a valuable lesson. Shopping for garage sales in the afternoon is the best time to land a bargain. But, of course, mornings are the best time to find that certain item. So it’s a quandary. I guess I’ll just have to go earlier and stay longer, huh?

God bless.

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