Garage sales, flea markets and thrift shopping

Canada
December 28, 2006 10:03am CST
Do you like to shop around at garage sales, flea markets or thrift shops? It seems, with the popularity of television shows like "Antiques Roadshow," people are flocking to these places looking for a "get rich quick" item. Have you ever found an amazing bargain or something really valuable? Did you get it for next to no money? Share your stories!
2 people like this
5 responses
@irisheyes (4375)
• United States
15 Jan 07
Well, I love them all but most of all I LOVE auctions. I can't say some of the best things I've bought because I'm a dealer and I sell a lot of stuff. Sometimes that's very hard when it's something I absolutely love. I was shopping for inventory when I bought an oil painting on paper about a year ago in a thrift store in Philadelphia. I actually thought it was a print when I first spied it. I fell instantly in love when I saw it leaning against the baseboard of the shop. When I picked it up and saw it was badly framed original art, my old art history major's heart started to thump. I didn't recognize the artist but I knew it was good. When I asked the lady how much, she said $7.50 so I tucked it under my arm and bought it. When I got it home I reseached the artist. It was a well listed Hawaiian painter named Margaret Fleming Waldron. Since I bought the painting for resale and knew the artist probably wouldn't sell well in Pennsylvania, I forced myself to put it on eBay. After about ten hours there were no bids but I noticed a number of people were watching it. I took it down because I was afraid somebody would bid and buy it. I just couldn't sell it! It's probably worth a couple thousand dollars but it's worth more than that to me. It's one of my favorite things. Most of my favorite things come by default. LOL
1 person likes this
• Canada
15 Jan 07
OHHHH I've never been to an auction but I'm so tempted to try to find one locally. They have them frequently in the rural areas about an hour from me and I hear they auction off some pretty fabulous old furniture at times! I guess I'd have to learn some "auction protocol" before I went though, wouldn't I? It seems like people do make some great deals in acquiring art... I have to wonder if we just aren't that informed in that area and people probably toss away things, not having a clue what they're worth or who they are by. I didn't even KNOW that oil paintings were done on paper... so I've already proven my own ignorance LOL I guarantee I'd be the same as you... I'd never be able to sell it! Congratulations on your fabulous find!!:)
@irisheyes (4375)
• United States
15 Jan 07
Go to that auction. You'll love it and there really isn't much protocol. You want it, you bid on it, you get it. Just keep in mind that you'll never get the item for the lowest price. You have to outbid at least everybody else in the auction hall. But it's better getting it there than buying it later for several times more from the dealer you could've out bid. Also, country auctions are the absolute best. As for the art. It's just that there are so many listed artists, nobody could possible know them all and it's regional. Many people and shops near where I live know who the regional Pennsylvania artists are and you'll never find them for pennies in a thrift store. I'd guess that the picture I found was something that someone picked up many years ago on a honeymoon or a vacation and brought back home. I always say if it's cheap enough and you like it just buy it first and research it later.
1 person likes this
@samsonskola (3357)
• United States
15 Jan 07
almost my entire house has been furnished with finds from yard sales and thrift stores...i once almost passed up the best buy i ever made..i was on my way to work and saw a yard sale with a beautiful entertainment center and some bookcases. i told myself they would be too high, but turned around and went back anyway....when all was said and done, i had gotten the entertainment center (which is a beautiful wood, brand new),3 tall really nice bookcases, and a few smaller items ....all for $10! Turned out the people were moving, he didn't want to move them, and I wound up with my deal ever at a yard sale...i've found great things, at great prices...that's why yard sales and thrift stores are one of my hobbies...why pay full price if you can find what you want that way? I don't have that kind of money, and it allows me to get some things i normally wouldn't be able to have.
• Canada
15 Jan 07
That is AMAZING! $10!!!!!!! Congratulations on following your gut instinct and turning back! It's true that, when people move or when there is an estate sale, there are sometimes items that no one wants to even bother trying to deal with. The amount of money you can save is limitless...as you proved in a big way :)
@Stephanie5 (2953)
• United States
10 Jan 07
I live for flea markets and garage sales!!! I've found so many different things, I wouldn't even know where to start. None that I've gotten rich off of, because I never get rid of them!!! lol I'm a pack rat! I found a really nice cast iron skillet...bought it for a dollar, and had someone offer me $50 for it before I even got to my car...It's worth almost $500. I'm not sure why, I haven't researched it, but I know I'm not getting rid of it, lol! I love fried taters in an iron skillet, yummy! Great topic!
• Canada
10 Jan 07
You're a stronger woman than me, Stephanie LOL I might have been tempted by that $50 offer ... you know, to do more shopping ;) But seriously, that's a GREAT deal... and you're right -- you can't beat a good iron skillet!
@srhelmer (6934)
• Beaver Dam, Wisconsin
28 Dec 06
We do a lot of shopping at garage sales, mostly for clothes for our daughter. We have two thrift shops but both charge almost as much for used items as stores charge for new items.
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Dec 06
I've held a few garage sales myself, especially as my children have grown, and I've sold a LOT of toys and clothing. You know, I was always told that you can't successfully sell clothes at garage sales and I strongly disagree!! If you take the time to check through them first and make sure that everything is spotless (I even ironed every item before I sold it LOL), you most certainly can sell the clothing. In fact, I had a couple who was expecting a baby buy up ALL of my baby clothes in one big load! It was very exciting at the time ;) I really don't think it's fair for thrift shops or used clothing stores to charge "new" prices! What's the point, really????
• United States
28 Dec 06
I love garage sales. When I was younger mom and I used to go "garage saling" on Saturdays---sometimes just to look. I've done the same thing with my kids when time allows. I have personally never found an item worth any real value. I have found some great deals on furniture and dishes. There is absolutely nothing wring with buying something second-hand. I'll save a buck anywhere I can. Great topic!