I have very few talents in life, but I can honestly tell you, without any hesitation, that I am particularly great at rocking Craigslist and Facebook Market Place. I can’t lie…I’m awesome at it. Seriously. Today I am going to share with you my five tricks to winning at thrifting… Yep… You are welcome
If I am earnestly in the market for an item then I generally spend about an hour looking back through old listings just to learn the going rate and availability of similar items. Then, I stalk the site at least morning, noon, and night for the same key words.
Note: You may find that Craigslist and Facebook Market Place are just no bueno in your area. In this case you may have more luck with estate sales, auctions, or thrift stores. To some degree the same basic principles may apply.
This mirror was a $12 thrift store score!
Using the RIGHT key words makes all of the difference. Say, for example, you want to purchase a buffet to hold your china. Don’t forget to also search for “dresser”, “credenza”, “hutch”, and “sideboard”. Maybe you need a new couch. Don’t forget to look up “sectional”, “sofa”, “settee”, “loveseat” and maybe even bench. Just because you may know the proper name for an item doesn’t mean that the seller does.
Credenza, buffet, sideboard, tomato, tamato…whatever you want to call it… I love it.
If I find myself in a slump and only see the same few items reposted each day I then broaden the search. There are some things I am generally attracted to. Take brass, burl, and velvet for example. Sometimes searching for more nebulous descriptive words reap great rewards.
By searching for “brass” I came accross this amazing burled cabinet. I think I only paid about $50. See. I told you I had mad skillz.
If I find an item that I can’t live without (and am honestly not certain how I’ve survived without it up until this point) then I respond with “I LOVE THIS CHAIR!!! Can I please come get it at your earliest convenience? The color of this piece will be perfect for my living room make over and I just can’t get over how stunning it is.” I usually leave my phone number in case they want to text me back. This tells the buyer that I will not quibble on price, and that I am NOT going to flake out.
If, however, I am only slightly interested I respond with something like “This is pretty. Is it still available?” That gets me in the queue without committing to anything. It also gives me a chance to try to talk down the price in the follow-on email.
I knew I loved these chairs and didn’t even try to low-ball the seller. He was only asking $120 for the set of 6.
Honestly, if I love a piece that is fairly priced within my budget I don’t offer a lower price unless it’s been listed for over a week or two.
If, however, I love the piece but it is OUT of my budget I write a sincere and rather long letter explaining how much I adore the piece and truly wish I had the money to make a full price offer. I then explain WHY I have a budget. It usually reads something like:
“We’ve spent so much money with this move that my husband has put the kabosh on any more spending over X amount. If you find that you can’t sell this chair for the price you are asking, could you please kindly consider me as your strong back up. I hope for your sake it sells at full price, but if not, please keep my contact info and feel free to give me an email, text, or call at your convenience”.
Safety first: Don’t respond to offers that are just too good to be true…Especially ads that state that you need to leave your phone number or they will not reply. They are likely scams. I have fallen for this trick at least once and quickly realized they sold my phone number to the telemarketer list. Total bummer!
Also, when it comes time to pick up the piece bring a friend…especially if it is after dark or in a sketchy neighborhood. I wish I could say that I always follow this rule. At the very least, however, I always text my location to a couple of friends before going into any home that looks even slightly suspicious.
I bought this mirror in the sketchiest of sketchy neighborhoods. The seller was actually very kind and I have truly loved the character the mirror has brought to each of our homes.
Buyer beware! I always inspect each piece for signs of bed bugs (red blood spots and rice shaped eggs), woodworm/termites (a series of small pin prick sized holes), and smell. Having said that, I have been pretty lucky with removing nasty smells with a combination of steam cleaning, Rug Doctor anti-bacterial carpet cleaner, Resolve Pet Expert Stain and Odor Remover, Frebreeze, and copious amounts of vacuuming. There is ALWAYS risk involved in bringing anything wood or upholstered into our homes, but taking these steps lowers the risks.
This set of four amazing mustard yellow chairs were STANKY! I was able to get the smell out, and now they look lovely in our new home.
Try to picture the images for sale as they could be, not as they are.
There is no better and less expensive way to add unique personality and character to a home than through thrifting. So pull out an electronic device and start the search!