Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Secrets

Ahhh, Wednesday. 5 Jack free hours today. You know where I spent it. Yard sales, thrift stores, Martha and me. I picked up that sweet vintage pink and silver bedspread, a pretty soft vintage pillowcase, and a Simply Shabby Chic balloon curtain thingy for my newly redecorated bathroom. (Which has awesome vintage lavendar tiles.) I LOVE being able to find the Simply Shabby Stuff at Goodwill. $4 for the curtain which retailed for $24.99.
On to the secrets! I picked up this quilt at a garage sale for $2. Uh huh, $2. People will often ask me what my secret is. I don't really think I have any "secrets," but I certainly have strategies.

One of them is that I ask people to sell things they didn't know they wanted to sell*.

Maybe that sounds strange. But it works. I was wandering around the yard sale in the scorching heat. There was a board with that quilt over it and the linens she wanted to sell on top of the quilt. She was using the quilt to cover the board. We made small talk about the weather and I asked her if she wanted to sell me that quilt.

She looked at me like I was crazy. "It's really ratty," she said. I explained that it was ok if it was rough. "It smells bad," she said. I assured her that was ok. And really, it is ok. If it is too rough I will cut it up. She shrugged and said "ok, give me $2." (Her other sheets and things were priced at $5 and up.) And now it is happily mine.

I have been known to do that everywhere. I have another quilt acquired in the same way at the flea market. He had no idea why I wanted that ratty old blanket that he had those nice used clothes sitting on. The way I see it, it cannot hurt to ask.

We used to have our own garage sale every year and the last time I did it I had a man ask me about fishing tackle. As it turned out I *did* have a box with old lures in it in my laundry room. I had picked it up at a garage sale for $1 because I know that old lures can bring big dollars. I never got around to researching them, and it sat there for 2 years. When he asked, I went and collected it for him. I sold it to him for $50. Could I have made more money than that from it? Certainly. But, he was both a collector and seller of that type of specialized merchandise. $49 was an excellent profit for me, and if he in turn makes another $300 from it, I am ok with that.

Besides, as a collector of stuff myself, I know how exciting it is to actually find what you are looking for. The moral of the story is, if you don't see it, or it doesn't appear to be for sale, just ask!

I do have other "strategies" I am willing to share, and if you are reading and want me to share more of them, then let me know. Building up to the world's largest yard sale in 2 weeks means I have junking on my mind!

*I owe my knowledge of this strategy to my dad, who will offer to buy the shoes off your feet if they are what he is looking for.

P.S. Don't use your bleach pens on Great Grandma Ruth's most treasured family heirlooms! Bleach is harsh and I use it as a last resort.

25 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your tip!That purple balloon curtain is really pretty! Will you share pics of your
    new bathroom ? Are you enjoying all your redecorating ?



    Dana
    d07@goldingers.com

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  2. Love your tips! Keep them coming!!

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  3. Keep the tips coming! :)

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  4. I enjoyed reading your tips! Thanks for sharing:)

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  5. I love your secrets. You know I am always intersting in learning them!

    Great quilt and excellent price.

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  6. Oh yes, we love secrets. And where is the world's largest garage sale?

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  7. boy i would love to join you on one of your trips! what fun! more tips please! ps...you won my drawing last week! i need your address!

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  8. Thanks for sharing your secrets.

    I SO want to go to the 127 sale!! I've even thought of visiting my aunt in Chattanooga just so I could go to the sale. Not sure how I'd get my loot back to California though. ;)

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  10. Love seeing all of your great finds! Lucky you to have a few hours to yourself - enjoy!

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  11. Hey Sarah, if you have a free minute(insert laughter), please come visit http://www.yardsalequeen.com

    This is the main page, but there is a link to the forums/boards where I hang out. The "Queen" runs a fabulous board and it shows in the membership. We are all fellow yardsalers and thrifters and love to live vicariously through each other.

    Please come share, and tell them I sent you.

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  12. I think you could hire yourself out as one's personal thrifter, I don't know if I have told you that already but you have all the luck!

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  13. so jealous of the pink spread and linens! gorgeous! what are your plans for them?

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  14. What great finds!!! Thanks for sharing your secret and I'm sure we'd all LOVE to hear more :)

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  15. Sarah, I have featured you today on Todays Creative Blog!
    http://todayscreativeblog.blogspot.com
    please mention your feature to all your readers.
    Congrats!

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  16. Congrats on your find! It's always interesting to me what different people value. Lucky for us (you especially in this instance), sometimes others don't value what we think is worth a lot!

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  17. The tips are great!! Thank you!

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  18. Good tips . . . and ones I practice all the time. :) I find amazing quilts at thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets. I love this one that you found!!!!!!

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  19. I just love your blog!! I am having so much fun going through the archives. Being a Halloween fanatic, I have most enjoyed your October posts. Would you mind if I added you to my favourites??
    Love your jack...he's such a cutie!!

    Linda

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  20. Great tips! Thank you for sharing. I wish I was going to Kentucky with you!

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  21. Love hearing all your tips. Nice blog!! Laurie

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  22. so that's how you do it!d

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  23. I second the suggestion for YardSaleQueen--I love it there! :)

    I'd love to hear more of your tips!

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  24. I love that quilt and the story of how you bought it. I hope you'll share a pic of your bathroom redo. I love that fabric too!

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  25. I enjoyed reading your tips on junking. I actually dickered with the manager at World Market a few days ago and got a substantial discount. I found these awesome bath towels on clearance, but they all had a few snags on them. They were marked 50% off, but I got another $3. off each towel. when we walked out of the store, I told my husband how much fun that was to get a great deal and be able to talk them down. I tied off the ends of the snag in the towels and you would never know they were damaged. Like you said, it never hurts to ask.

    I am excited for you and the world biggest garage sale. hope you have fun.

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