It may seem like a big hassle to try to find home decor pieces that you’ll actually be able to use at garage sales with all of the other junk that you have to go through first, but it can actually be a really fun, easy, and rewarding process if you know what to look for! Here are my tips for what to buy at garage sales!
Our little town had a big indoor garage sale a couple of weeks ago and of course I had to pop in to check it out. One thing is for sure: people around here love garage sales! We had a group yard sale a couple of years ago with a few other families on our street and I was so surprised at how we had people showing up even before seven in the morning! After seeing how packed the convention centre in our town was first thing in the morning for that garage sale, it occurred to me that I’d never written a blog post about the subject. How silly of me, right?:) Garage sales can be an amazing resource when you’re looking for unique and interesting items for your home! Here are some of my favourite tips for what to buy at garage sales!
What to Buy at Garage Sales: Dishes
If you love to collect interesting old dishes to use in table settings or in home decor, garage sales are often some of the best places to look for them. If you search flea markets and thrift stores, what you find has often been really picked over because these places are often where people go first to look for second hand items. The other issue is that when you do find great dishes at a thrift store or flea market, they’re often a bit more expensive because the people setting the prices usually know what types of things people shoppers gravitate towards and will pay more for. At garage sales, people often just want to get rid of their old dishes that they don’t use anymore and are happy for them to find a new home, so prices can be quite a bit cheaper!
What to Buy at Garage Sales: Glassware
There are certain types of glassware that are really collectable and can therefore be hard to find at secondhand stores. When you’re shopping garage sales though, you can often get really lucky as you’re shopping straight out of someone’s attic and seeing things that haven’t been used or considered valuable in years. Vintage pink glass is one of those things that a lot of people really love right now, but just look at this goldmine of pink glass that I found at our local community garage sale! I don’t really have anywhere to keep it right now, so I left it behind, but I had to document my find in a photo at least! 🙂
What to Buy at Garage Sales: Vintage Kitchen Items
Garage sales are a great place to look for vintage kitchen items as well! Things like old bakeware, mixing bowls, and rolling pins are pretty common things that people get rid of when they don’t need them anymore.
I found this old rolling pin to add to my collection and I was pretty excited about it because it was about 1/3 of the price that I’ve paid at antique stores in the past for similar ones!
What to Buy at Garage Sales: Quirky Brass, Glass, or Wood Decorative Items
Look for things like old brass or wood ducks or plant pots to add a little character here and there around your house. I saw some brass elephants that would be great for an empty spot on a bookshelf, or even to use as bookends! Decorative items like these are pretty common finds at garage sales and when they’re used in the right way, they can look fresh and new and really add a lot of quirky charm to a house that feels like it needs a little personality.
You can also find some pretty interesting vintage lamps for the same purpose!
What to Buy at Garage Sales: Old Books
Old books are great decor pieces and I have several that belonged to my great-grandparents that I use all around the house. Of course, they’re also just really interesting to read!
What to Buy at Garage Sales: Small Furniture Pieces
If you know me, you know that I believe you can never have too many tiny tables around your house. We always seem to need an extra somewhere for holding drinks or snacks, for a plant, or just to fill a sad empty space. Things like little tables and shelves are easy for people to grab out of their house as they’re rounding up things to add to their garage sale pile, and they’re also easy to toss in the trunk of your car! With a fresh coat of paint, little pieces like these can have a long and useful life ahead of them!
What to Buy at Garage Sales: Chairs
Look for single antique chairs or just basic chairs leftover from an old dining set that you can refinish and reupholster. If people are getting rid of these, they’re usually just in the way and they want them gone, but they can really add some style and function to your home with a little TLC.
Do you have any other tips for what to buy at garage sales? What kind of items do you look for?
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.