I was delighted when invaluable.com recently asked me where my favorite places to find bargains and antiques are. My answer is, of course, off the beaten path. It doesn’t matter if it’s in my neighborhood or some far flung place I’ve visited.
- Individual garage sales — These take the most time to find a good bargain. They are spread out, they might say antiques when they really mean twenty years old, and you might be too late to get the good stuff. At garage sales I always feel like it’s the same concept as with finding a life partner. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince. And you have to be willing to dig through stuff! However, my very favorite piece of furniture came from a garage sale.
- Flea markets — they are like Disneyland for the adult bargain hunter. Get there early! Last summer I came across one near Yorktown, Virginia on a Sunday morning. The people were still unpacking when I showed up.
The prices were amazing! They had button jars for $5.00 (and that was before bargaining). I’ve seen similar ones for $25 and up at antique stores. I wish I would have had more time that morning! There was so much to explore. I couldn’t resist the square Pyrex bowls shown below.
- Community yard sales/church sales/school sales — I’m lumping these kind of sales together. My very favorite of these kind of sales is at the Salvation Army Fairfax Corps headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. Once a month from spring to fall they have a community yard sale. I’ve gone so often that I’ve become friends with one of the regular sellers. She’s emptying out an attic and barn. There has rarely been a time that I’ve been to this sale that I haven’t bought something from her. We’ve developed such a good relationship that I never even ask for a better price anymore because I know she will give me a great one. For example, at an antique store individual vintage postcards run from $3.00 to $5.00. Here I can get a hold stack for $5.00.
I took my friend Ellie with me and she found vintage gloves. It’s hard to resist the variety of things at this sale!
- Thrift Shops — People are way more savvy about pricing than they used to be (thanks Antique Roadshow) so it is harder to find a bargain. That said, I’ve still had good luck at some thrift shops. If you’re furniture shopping you might end up with a piece that is a little rough around the edges, but if I’m only paying five dollars I’m fine with that. Here is a little bedside table I picked up at a thrift shop.
- Antique stores — Your average antique store owner is very smart about what items are worth making it the hardest place to find a bargain. That said, they are fun to poke around and the owner might be in the mood to get rid of things. The quilt was only $30.00 and in good shape. I still regret not buying it or the unique bird cage!
And if you like to shop from the comfort of your own home check out my friends at invaluable.com. They have everything from antique jewelry, to fine art, and collectibles.
Otherwise put on your comfy shoes and get started bargain hunting! Do you have a favorite place to shop?