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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Someone's Trash is Another's Treasure

Antiquing, thrifting, flea markets and garage sales...I've learned to love them! Even back in high school, my friends and I would hit the only thrift store near us to find clothes from back in the day. My mother would hate it...She didn't like me wearing used clothes, even if some were vintage. But, I loved finding old items to wear...I remember my friend Ana once found this old sweater in her yard that someone washed and hung out to dry, and the wind blew it into her yard. She saved it and gave it to me. She knew I'd love it. And I did. I wore the heck out of that burgundy sweater from the 70's :)

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These days though, I have found myself giving to 2nd hand stores instead of buying from them. I'm constantly cleaning out our closets and making donations, don't want to become a hoarder now...

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Now garage sales, I used to despise them. I remember my parents one time stopping at one and it was 100 degrees out, and I refused to get out of the car because I didn't want to be seen at one, so there I stayed. Sweating in the car, hahaha...And now, as an adult, I find myself at them from time to time. I even recommend this book "I Brake for Yard Sales: And Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster " by Lara Spencer, one of the hosts on Good Morning America. She wrote about her finds and flips and gives her tips on the subject.  I also love her show on HGTV "Flea Market Flip".

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Now, this past Saturday, I went to a couple of antique stores to see what caught my eye, and I thought I'd document it and give some of my personal tips while out and about:

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1 - You have to be prepared...Prepared for the good...

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...The bad...

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...and the oh-so-ugly.

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I posted this shot on our my Instagram feed and I think the world agrees, clowns are no good. No good I tell ya.

2 - Don't be afraid to haggle. Most people will work with you. Just be aware that at some antique malls, they simply lease out areas to people selling their items, so they won't be able to haggle on their behalf. Sometimes, the price is the price and it's final...But hey, it can't hurt to ask.

3 - Don't forget to look up and down. You may find some good stuff hidden down low, or up high, like this beautiful chandelier.

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4 - When buying electronic items, test them out to make sure they work.

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5 - When buying clothes, check for holes, moths (eww) and try it on to see if it fits.

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6 - If you find items like these, BEWARE! They may be stolen (not to say that these are, but...I mean, why are TOM'S in an antique mall?!) Buying stolen items is an offense, so watch out! You may think you hit the TOM'S jackpot (like I did), but it may be too good to be true. (And trust me, these were tempting at only $29 each, my TOM'S set me back about $60 at NordStrom and Journey's...And if they're selling here at this antique mall, and not from an authorized retailer, are they doing the "One for One Movement"? Let's just say, I didn't go for it).

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7 - If you're looking for jewelry, I'd stick to pure gold and silver, and anything that may look like vintage, as it could be worth money (but make sure it is before making a large purchase). I'd stay away from the fashion/plastic/I-could-get-it-at-Claire's stuff.

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8 - Also, stay away from items that people purchased as so-called "collectibles". They're not. Unless you're talking about a Barbie from the 50's or something.

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9 - Don't purchase something you used to have. There's a reason you don't have it anymore. Because you no longer wanted it (most likely) so why re-purchase the same thing again!

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10 - Bargain shop. If you're looking for a globe that you want and it costs $50, keep looking, you'll find another, or 10 others alike that are probably half the price. See below.

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11 - Get your DIY on...Find items that have potential, like these chairs, reupholstered and with a paint job - they would look beautiful!

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12 - Stay away from "trendy" items, yeah...This phrase was out before it came in, soooooo, why would you want a pillow with the phrase etched on it forever?

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Well that's it, for now. On this expedition, I didn't find anything that caught my eye, but I have a few items I'll be working on next week from a previous visit to the thrift store/antique mall that I'll be revamping, and I'll show you the outcome later.  Happy hunting!

P.S. - All photos shot with the iPhone 4 and edited with the AfterGlow app.

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