Bargain Hunting 101: Part 1

My biggest challenge as a blogger (so far) has been remembering to take the time to stop and record the process.

Sometimes I just get so excited doing what I’m doing that it’s nearly impossible to slow down and take pictures…especially the “before” shots when things aren’t looking so pretty yet.

I’ve constantly mentioned all the thrift store finds that Mom or I discover and the amazing prices, but it has taken me forever to FINALLY remember to take photos of the process during one of our adventures.

Thrift shopping is a unique adventure. I’ll admit, I wasn’t so crazy about it when my mom starting taking me along to her favorite hot spots. It can be pretty daunting and overwhelming, but you’ve got to learn to look past the junk and find the hidden treasures. That’s when it gets fun!

I haven’t had nearly as much luck in NYC – probably because the stores get a lot higher traffic, and the rents are higher so it’s tougher to find that incredible bargain like we do in North Carolina. That said, the treasures are definitely out there – no matter where you live. You just have to be willing to put in the time and do some digging.

Our adventure started as we drove home from Thanksgiving. We stopped at one of Mom’s favorite flea markets.

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I had just told my parents I was pregnant, so while I wanted everything I couldn’t have (they had some gorgeous wooden furniture!), I tried to stick to tiny treasures since my space would soon be shrinking.

Because I still wasn’t in blogger mode (ugh) here are some photos from their website:

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This place was GIGANTIC! But don’t worry, they have a snack bar in case you get weary. Note: Always bring snacks, or coffee when heading into one of these warehouses!!

They were closing in 30 minutes when we got there, so Mom quickly hunted for a few things she’d seen on her last visit, and I managed to find a pretty brass dish that was 50% off – $6 total! It was the perfect shape for packing nicely in my luggage and I knew it was small enough that I could find a home for it in the apartment.

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Now it sits on our bookshelf, holding my rings and stray bobby pins…and just looks pretty in general. It’s a delicate little treasure that makes me smile whenever I notice it, and I think that’s well worth 6 dollars. It’s hard to see below (it’s in front of the swan bookend!).

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Once we were in NC, we hit less Antique Malls and more thrift stores, which generally leads to lower prices, but more junk. Thrift stores require focus and determination…and therefore Starbucks beforehand.

Next stop: Value Village

This one is always a bit daunting when I first walk in. I generally steer clear of the clothing, and hit the perimeter to check out the array of interesting non-clothing items they sell.

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I usually make a bee line for the furniture section, and the frame aisle.

While I can’t necessarily take any of this furniture back to New York with me, I love to dream about the possibilities.

For instance, take a look at this wing chair:

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It has perfectly classical lines that are timeless enough to fit into almost any household. I also love the wooden claw feet in the front. The pinkish-reddish upholstery fabric has seen better days, but with a new upholstery job or slip cover this baby could look like new!

Here’s what I’m picturing:

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Source: The Inspired Room

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Source: Martha Stewart Home Tours

And my personal favorite…if I didn’t have a husband :)

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Source: Dressing Rooms Interiors

Come ON! That’s cute! It’s a lot…but I really like it. Maybe I can admit how much I like it because it would never be allowed in my house. :) Did I say I like this?! I LIKE THIS CHAIR!

Now that first chair didn’t have a price on it, but here’s a second chair that did.

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It’s a little more beat up, and it’s tufted to death…but can you see that price tag? Let me get a closer shot.

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Yes, that’s right. 18 dollars and 18 cents. Creatively priced…but CHEAP!

I’m just saying…tufted chairs can be cute too:

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Source: Wedding Wire

Nothing wrong with these guys!

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Source: Pinterest

Why not get creative? Need a fun desk chair and have lots of space to fill in an office? (Not in NYC!) This is a fun idea! For 18.18 you could experiment without a huge investment…

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Source: The Christopher Guy

I seriously CANNOT wait, until the day that I get to bargain hunt for furniture to fill a normal sized home. (NC folks, don’t get excited…this day is NOT around the corner, yet).

I want to be able to pick up a bed like this:

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And transform it into something like this:

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Source: Ethan Allen

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Source: Martha Stewart

I think you get the idea, but I could go on and on with color options!!

Next it’s time to move on from the furniture section (where I can’t take anything home), and head to the picture frames. I can always make an excuse for adding another frame or two to the apartment!

Welcome to the frame aisle…

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Yep, it’s pretty intimidating…and a bit like playing Jenga. Once you get in close enough to see the prices, it seems worth your time to pick through the piles.

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In case you are unsure of what those scribbles are saying. These frames are 80 cents, and 1.41. Yes, Really.

This is the aisle that ruined me. I can’t stand to buy a frame for 7.99 at HomeGoods/Target/TJ Maxx anymore!!

Some of the wooden ones are a little beat up, but you could try bringing them back to life with Old English. You could also take the glass out and paint or spray paint them. I’m usually hunting black frames, and my mom taught me to use a black Sharpie to fill in any scrapes or nicks in the paint. I’d venture to say that every frame in my apartment has a little sharpie on it somewhere. You can’t tell unless you are really looking for it, so it doesn’t bother me a bit!

I can’t believe I only got through ONE thrift store and I’m already over 1000 words for today! I guess I’ll have to wait and share more of my thrift store adventures tomorrow!

Sorry to taunt my fellow city dwellers with the crazy thrift store prices of suburbia. Don’t fret, there are plenty of places for you to check out in the city, you just have to factor in the whole hiring a truck/Zipcar to move large pieces of furniture across town. Hunting for little stuff can still be fun and rewarding!

Check out: Housing Works Thrift: they auction off the nicest stuff online, but there are lots of other treasures at each location for great prices! Goodwill: you never know! Salvation Army, and any other thrift stores that accept donations. Google it!

Tomorrow I’m going to tell you all about this place…the picture speaks volumes. Oh Boy!

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