Secondhand Series: Part 3 – Shopping For Furniture
Hi guys and welcome!
We have reached the end of our secondhand series! After showing you how to care and mend your items and shop for clothes, we will today show you how to go shopping for furniture. Furniture is really amazing to get secondhand because you can find such unique items. If you are a little crafty, those pieces can make for really cool DIY projects. Plus, by buying secondhand, you’re obviously contributing to keep the items alive and stop them from being thrown in landfills. We think about landfills a lot for plastic and clothes, but sometimes forget furniture represents a huge portion of what is thrown there.
So without further ado, let’s dive into how you can be secondhand shopping for furniture!
1. Before you go anywhere:
The number one thing you will want to do before going shopping is giving yourself a budget. If you don’t, you might end up spending lots of money or having way too many items you don’t know what to with. Also, try to be open-minded. You might not find anything that you like in the first few trips, or you might have high expectations. Just keep an open mind before you step into the thrift store to avoid disappointment.
You have to be real with yourself too and know your inner thrifter. Do you know how to sand? Paint? DIY things? If the answer is yes, make sure you train your eye for things that REALLY have potential. If you don’t, do NOT buy a piece that might have potential someday for it to stay somewhere in your home and never see the light of day. Lastly, make sure you know your colors and your style ahead of time. Stay within the same style you want your decor to have, or know the colors you would use to paint over things.
2. What to bring:
Just like we learned to prepare our clothing trip last week, you need to do the same when shopping for furniture. Bring disposable gloves, a mask, and maybe some baby wipes to clean some dust away. You may want to bring other very useful tools. For example, a (phone) flashlight to be able to see every detail. Tweezers, in case you have to pick up bugs or anything of the sort. Cotton swabs, to clean cracks and holes. Optional but useful too would be: a magnifying glass if you need a closer look, insecticide spray, and a screwdriver.
If you want to do everything right and go a little over the top, bring a battery powered hand vacuum to keep in your car. This list is crucial to make your trip successful, but if there is one tool you absolutely don’t want to forget, it’s your tape measurer. It will help you measure the size of your trunk, the space you are going to fill in your home. But also will condition the size of the piece you are buying. How you transport it is very important too: make sure you prepare your car for thrift store furniture. Put the seats down, lay an old sheet or blanket so you don’t get anything dirty. If it’s raining, prepare a tarp to throw on top, and straps too if needed.
3. You’re there. Now what?
Knowing where to go is an important part for secondhand furniture shopping. Chains like Goodwill and Out of the Closet, for example, could be your best bet, especially if you have a Goodwill outlet nearby! Then, you will have to know what’s valuable and what’s not. Educate yourself before going and know what to look for if you’re looking for very valuable items. Items made in the USA, or before 1900 or from brands like Stickley are extremely valuable and could be worth a fortune. If you find a valuable item, do not alter it, or paint over it.
It would take away from this very special piece you just found. Just try to make it work as it is. On the other hand, if what you found isn’t that valuable, you can look for things to repurpose. Once again, that works best if you’re good at doing DIYs, but always try to see the potential in a piece you are getting. You can even haggle the price if the item is broken. Also, do not hesitate to get something right away if you love it. It most likely won’t come around twice, so get your hands on it while you still can.
4. Once you get home:
When you get home from your trip, make sure you check every piece you got and verify that nothing is hidden inside. Look at every little hole, or crack. You could very well find someone’s old belongings but mostly insects and whatnot. Take out every drawer, clean out everything you can, turn everything over, check screw holes. Be very thorough as you might end up regretting it later if you are not!
If you bought furniture like rugs or any upholstery, have the items steamed cleaned whether by you or a professional. Also, do not bring them inside your home until then. Last but not least, remember to reupholster pieces too to make sure no bugs are hiding inside. You may have done this for years without an issue, but you never know when a surprise might pop out, so be careful!
5. The game of reselling:
Now that you have become pretty great at all of the above, you are interested in reselling those items online, DIYed or not. If you are planning on selling what you find at a thrift store on websites like eBay, make sure you know that what you’re buying has true value. It needs to be desirable at the moment you sell it, and people need to want to buy it. What may sound good to you might not sound good to others, especially online buyers. While shopping at a store, you can also check online to help you find out if an item would sell or not.
Do not forget to check for markings. Just like mentioned above, to know if what you are buying is valuable, you should also check for brands. When shopping items you are planning to sell, it’s always best to know the brand list it on each website you use. Try to shop in higher-end areas too, you will have a better chance of getting something that is really worth it to people, even if it costs you a little more. You can shop on thrift stores discount days to get the best bang for your buck, in case you have to lose too much money with other costs. Speaking of which, be careful with shipping costs. Sometimes it could cost you more to ship than the item is actually worth, so make sure you stay mindful about that.
What did you think of these tips? Do you think you are ready to go shopping for furniture? Let us know in the comments below!