The garage sale season is in high gear. I love to shop these sales because you never know what treasure you might find. Here are some tips on how to look for items at garage, yard, estate sales:
1. Lamps can usually be found pretty cheap. You can paint almost any base. I am currently painting a brass lamp base black. If the shades are not to your liking, you can always add a different shade or even paint the one that comes with the lamp.
2. Don't be afraid to ask. I recently went to a sale and there was a lamp where I did not want the base but really liked the shade. I asked if the owner was willing to sell the shade and not the lamp. She said yes and that she also had a another one she just didn't set out. I got both shades for only $5.00.
3. Don't be afraid to ask if the owners will take a lesser price for an item. Many times they will say yes.
4. If you like the painted furniture look, almost any sturdy wood piece can be painted. If it is stained, you can use a deglosser before painting and it may not require sanding. To save on paint costs, check with your local hardware store to see if they sell "oops" cans of paint that you can get for a discounted price.
5. Think outside the box. Just last weekend, I went to a sale and saw two heavy glass half globes. I was told they were old light covers used at a school gym to protect the light bulbs. I am repurposing them as cloches (bell-shaped glass covers used to protect plants).
6. Think ahead to Christmas. I know this may be really hard to do in the heat of the summer, but Christmas decorations are usually really cheap at garage sales. I recently bought a bag of nice globe ornaments, some with price tags still on them, for only $1.00.
7. Bring measurements for things you are looking for and a measuring tape to measure items with.
8. If you find a picture you like but not the frame or vice versa, keep in mind that frames can be painted or replaced. Likewise, pictures can be removed from the frames and the frames reused with other pictures or mirrors.
9. If you find a wooden chair with a fabric cushion seat where you do not like the fabric, it is usually easy to recover. Check that the cushion can be unscrewed from the bottom. If so, it is simply a matter of wrapping new fabric around the cushion and screwing back on.
10. You can usually get kitchen basics very reasonable at garage sales. Pyrex casserole dishes, glass measuring cups, colanders, pots and pans, mixing bowls, etc. can be found at most sales. Just check that they are in good condition and wash thoroughly when you get them home. You can save a lot of money buying these items at garage sales.