Things I always buy at garage sales and thrift stores.

There are lots of bloggers who have listed what to buy at garage sales and thrift stores. I thought I would add my two cents.

  1. My number one item is always furniture.  Even the most damaged piece, even that most awful colored piece, can become a treasure. A number of years ago I bought this table for one dollar. Yep. One dollar. The base had originally been a sewing matching cabinet. The top was something the owner had that conveniently fit on top. It was pretty ugly but I knew what I could do with it. I don’t have any before pictures.

I painted it red first. Then I painted it white. After that, I distressed it. Here is the finished project. It is one of my favorite pieces. I love to paint white over any color and distress it. There are very few pieces I paint and leave alone.

DIY/decorating/painted furniture

2. My number two, although it could be number one, (actually they all could be number one), is ribbons, lace, tape, embellishments, etc.  I find that I use these products in so many ways. To decorate mason jars, cards, books, the possibilities are endless.

DIY/mason jars

mason jars/diy

3.  Vintage fabric and tablecloths. These are getting harder to find at inexpensive prices. I probably have at least ten vintage tablecloths. I managed to find a couple of items last year after a dry spell. Can you tell I love vintage?

I actually use them, too.

Decorating/DIY/vintage linens

4.  Paper. I buy all kinds of paper. I use them in collages, to wrap presents, to doodle on, for the grandkids, covering books, decoupage. Oh, I didn’t mention, I particularly like finding vintage papers. Paper is amazingly strong. Here’s the link to my Pinterest board that features paper projects.

5.  Dishware of any kind. Bowls, pitchers, cups, glasses, vases, plates, vases and bottles, etc. I love mixing and matching. Some bloggers search out white plates, and because they are all white it provides a beautiful table vignette while still keeping it from being too matchy-matchy. These are some of my favorite upcycled vases and bottles.

DIY/painted glass

6. Clothing. I used to manage a clothing store and if you knew the mark-up on clothes you would never purchase another piece until it’s at least 80% reduced. I kid you not. Clothing and furniture are the two most marked-up retail items. Some of my cutest sweaters have been from garage sales and/or thrift stores.

A word of caution, be sure to examine clothing items carefully. I don’t buy anything that is pilled, faded, or out of shape, unless it’s for working out in the garden and activities like that. If I find a great piece with a small stain though, I always point it out and see if I can get it discounted. If they don’t get discounted, sometimes I take a chance I can get rid of the stain. So far, so good.

Jeans are a great find as well.

7. Pictures and picture frames. There is so much you can do with picture frames. My daughter just bought an oversized one. She hung it and put a smaller piece of art to hang in the middle.  The wall serves as the mat. It’s very nice.

I often use an empty picture frame to frame household items. Anything in a frame ends up looking important.

8.. Napkins and placemats. I didn’t include them above because these don’t always have to be vintage. I love changing out placemats and I love using cloth napkins. If you get them cheap enough you can have dozens of them.

9.  Metal. It doesn’t matter what they are. In other words, junk. Sometimes a pile of junk is just plain inspiring. Lay them out somewhere and consider the options.

10.  Baskets. Need I say more? They can be used for packaging gifts, holding books, storing towels, toiletries. You just can’t have enough of them.

Finding great baskets is always a win, win. They can be painted in inventive ways and used for packaging gifts, storing sundry items, in the laundry room. Just about anywhere you need to store something. I have a cute one with handles that I use when I’m sharing baked goodies with my friends. I cover it with a cute cloth and it looks so “picnicy”.

The worry for this year is that there won’t even be garage sales. Thank goodness I have lots of stuff from last year to play with. But wait till you see the free piece I got last week on the roadside. Is’ amazing! I still can’t believe it.

My new plan is to drive around my neighborhood on garbage day. I have no hesitancy about picking up items from the curbside.

Anyway, spring is here and our stay-at-home orders are soon to expire.

God bless and stay safe.

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