Whether you call it thrift-store chic, vintage decor, or an eclectic style, the thrill of the hunt and eventual capture of can’t-beat-the-price, one-of-a-kind, DIY-makeover, second-hand gems is hard to beat.
But even a bargain is no real savings if it isn’t useful, isn’t safe, or isn’t you. So here are tips to help you successfully shop for secondhand treasures.
ESTABLISH A BUDGET
A dollar here and a dollar there can quickly add up to a lot of dollars. Before heading out, know how much you can afford and stick to that amount. Make it easy by carrying cash instead of credit card.
KEEP AN OPEN MIND
The fun of garage sale or thrift store shopping is that you never know what you’re going to find. Maybe you are looking for a new nightstand, but spot the perfect bench for the foot of your bed instead. Be ready to change gears on a moment’s notice.
If you spot something you love at a thrift store, either ask them to hold it for you or go ahead and buy it. Waiting means that you’ll likely lose it to the next person who loves it enough to buy it on the spot.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
Whether it’s an armchair or an antique chest of drawers, the best policy is to try before you buy. This way, if you do find something that’s damaged or needs minor repairs, at least you’re going into the purchase armed with accurate knowledge about the condition of the furniture.
LET YOUR CREATIVITY OUT TO PLAY
If you let your imagination run free, you’re far likelier to see the gold hidden underneath the garbage. Keep a repurposing mindset, the sky is the limit when you get creative.
KNOW YOUR MEASUREMENT
Go armed with a measuring tape, a pen and an image of your room, so you can visualize how the new item might sit in it. You never know when you’ll drive by a treasure on the side of the curb.
IMPROVE YOUR PRICING KNOWLEDGE
When you’re starting out, don’t be bothered by the fact you don’t know how much something should cost. As with everything, you’ll develop this sense over time.
NEVER RISK YOUR HEALTH
It goes without saying that buying a used mattress is a no-no, you don’t want to share your bed with anything that might endanger your health, including allergens, germs, pests, or stuff that’s simply to gross to think about.
KNOW YOUR STYLE
Yes, combining a variety of decorating styles is a fantastic look when done skillfully. Avoid decorating seasickness by considering whether or not the item in question really works with your existing style.
HAVE FUN WITH IT
As you do more and more secondhand shopping and antiques hunting, you’ll get better at scouring for the best buys and hidden gems.
Buying furniture secondhand is the recycling of the design world. Secondhand pieces don’t use any more raw materials, don’t require any more energy to be produced, reduce waste and pollution, and don’t require any additional packaging.