Trash or Treasure: A Guide to the Best Flea Market Finds
Flea markets, garage sales, and even Craig’s List are great places to find home furniture and accessories for very little money. When you’re working with a tight budget, buying brand new isn’t always in the cards. Second-hand is a great way to go, especially if you’re looking for pieces with character. Among the rubbish and knick-knacks are some truly amazing finds! You never know what may be waiting for you. Check out these tips on snagging the best deals and the best stuff.
Get There Early
Know what time the flea markets in your area open for business and get there early! The really great stuff is always snatched up quickly. The earlier you get there, the better. The same goes for garage sales. If you catch wind of a neighborhood-wide garage sale going on all weekend, get there on Saturday morning. If you wait until Sunday afternoon, you’ll find that everything has been picked over.
Be Prepared – bring cash and know the price and bring a tape measurer
If you’re looking for a specific item, it’s best to know how much it sells for before you head out. A good resource to use is EBay. Just type in what you’re looking for to find the average price point. This way you know if you’re getting ripped off…or you’re getting a total steal! Another tip in preparedness is to bring cash. Nothing says easy transaction like cold, hard cash. Finally, be sure to bring a tape measure. It would be heartbreaking to find the perfect armoire only to find that it doesn’t fit through your front door.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
It’s not uncommon to find great pieces with imperfections when buying second-hand. Tarnished metals like brass or sterling can be saved with some polish and serious elbow grease. If you fall in love with chandelier that’s missing a few crystals, it’s ok! They can be replaced. Even light fixtures with broken plugs can be rewired at stores like Home Depot for very little money. Most cosmetic imperfections can easily be remedied with a little TLC. However, any serious damage to the pieces like cracks or gouges are usually difficult to repair or irreparable. Don’t purchase these items unless you can live with the imperfections or are willing to shell out more cash to have them repaired.
Use Your Imagination
To find a real treasure, you have to use your imagination! Don’t take each piece for face value. Instead, look beyond and find potential in items you may not necessarily pick up. For example, an antique door can be repurposed into a headboard or a vintage dressing table into a bathroom vanity.
Sometimes with second-hand items it can be difficult to discern what’s trash and what’s treasure. While you won’t always find out the whole backstory on an item, there are a few signs that indicate a well-crafted item. Wooden furniture is usually a good bet, as long as it is solid wood. Avoid spending a lot of money on items that are veneered. When the seller claims it’s crystal, but you’re unsure, do a quick test! Hold the item. Crystal is always much heavier than glass. Hold the item up to the light and look for a full spectrum. You can also tap the piece and if it has a melodic type ring to it, it’s probably crystal.
Buy What You Love
In the end the most important thing you can do to come home with a great flea market find is to buy what makes you happy. It doesn’t matter what it is, if you love it, you should take it home.
This article was written by Erie Construction. Follow Erie Construction on Twitter for more information about home improvement.
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