Saturday, June 10, 2017

Thrifty Acres: Some Serious Garage Sale Shopping

Hello! Our daughter begins her grad school career next week, and in advance of that she signed a lease on an unfurnished apartment. Now, to fill it! She'd lived on campus all four years of undergrad life, which had meant a furnished room, of course. 

She's taking the furnishings from her bedroom here at home: desk/chair set, bed, dresser and another chair. She has some  kitchen supplies, for the last two years of her on-campus life were at a room-only residence hall (full-size kitchens on the premises). But needless to say, there are a number of gaps she needs to fill.

So she and I have been making the rounds of garage sales in the area. I think we could have done better if she was an earlier riser. As I'd told her, "if you snooze, you lose". Nevertheless, we made good progress in purchasing some things for her apartment - and as a bonus, I found a few things too! 

In no particular order, here are some of our finds:

A man sold us this coffee table and two matching end tables. Pretty solid wood, and just a few scratches that can be touched up. My husband was impressed, especially when I told him we paid $30 for all three pieces. I don't know how old the set is - a newer style than I prefer, but then again, our daughter's apartment complex is much newer than our house. 

This was the "big ticket" item from our garage sale excursions. She now needs a sofa to park behind the coffee table, but my husband rejected the idea of a secondhand version due to the possibility of bedbugs. I've seen pros and cons about this online, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry. 

This was a fun find, and it didn't hurt that it were free. These may look like ordinary wooden spoons that one would use for stirring up something in the kitchen, but they were handcrafted by a man in southern Indiana to be played as a percussion instrument. There were several such bags for sale, and I liked that each was labeled with the type of wood used to make the spoons. Above, you see examples in black cherry and sassafras. How often do you know what tree your wooden spoon came from? 

These spoons will need to be seasoned, but the woman running the sale assured me that that can be done via food-grade mineral oil. 

This seller also had these on offer:

A couple of small hand-thrown dishes. I thought they  came from an art gallery or craft show, but no, the woman said she had made them at a pottery class. She obviously didn't care much for her efforts, since she sold them to me for 50c each. Since I know the seller slightly, she might have thought I was just being polite with my compliments, but I truly liked them. I'll keep one for myself and will give the other to our daughter. 

Our daughter had bought new sheets, so I scooped up this like-new set for our house. The woman who sold them to me said that most people now shun double beds, but there's no kings or queen in my house. The now-lowly full size rules when you own vintage bed frames (1920s to 1940s eras). We needed new sheets, so I was happy to find these, and at only five bucks. 

I'd show off more of my daughter's purchases, but they've been packed away in advance of the move. She was happy to find a kitchen canister set, still in its box, and some other small kitchen things.

But I can show off another purchase of mine, since it was a wonderful example of what I'll call secondhand synchronicity: 

Last weekend I'd admired the "lettuce bowls" sold by a couple of vendors at our Farmer's Market: plastic pots just like the one above, loaded with young lettuce plants. But at $13-$14 per bowl, I declined the purchase. After all, I had lettuce seeds at home; I just needed to get the planter. And that I did, for a quarter at a garage sale an hour later. My seeds began popping up a couple of days ago. I know that they won't like the heat wave that began today, but there's plenty of shade on our deck, so my lettuce blend should be okay. 

Of course, there's no guarantee that garage sales will yield anything that you want or need. I'm actually pretty fussy about quality and prices. I saw a very nice wicker rack that would have looked very nice in our daughter's apartment. The color and size was been perfect. But the seller was asking forty bucks. Nope! 

Another sale was rather sparse by the time we got there, but even though we didn't buy anything, I enjoyed the immaculate work area in a corner of the garage. Someone had set up a very orderly shelving unit behind a work table, with meticulously labeled drawers. It was a far cry from my father-in-law's system of small paper bags in his basement, each with a different nail or screw size.

At other sales I got to ogle patio decor, house exteriors and landscaping. And some of our garage sale trips took us down streets that were new to us. So all in all even the stops that yielded no purchases weren't a complete waste of time. 

And we came home with wooden tables, wooden spoons and more. Our serious garage sale shopping paid off!


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