Finding Furniture Treasures at Thrift Stores and Consignment Shops
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I mentioned last week that we're on a mission to get all of our clutter and junk out of our house.
We've started with getting rid of stuff on the first floor of our townhouse and we're happy with the results so far. However with everything that we're tossing we do need to get some pieces to replace them.
We're not trying to swap something in for something we threw out; rather we're trying to find better pieces that fit us both in form and function. For example, we had a TV stand that was either practical nor attractive in our living room. We had stuff overflowing out of it due to lack of storage.
As you can see in the post picture, our new console has enough space for all of our stuff and then some. We also got some end tables with shelves that allowed us to tastefully store our toddler's toys downstairs.
Where to Shop for Great Deals on Furniture
You can imagine that means we have to budget for these things. For us since we're looking for well made pieces that will last for years, we're looking at used furniture to stay within our budget. Thankfully we have a friend who is also an awesome interior designer and a fantastic bargain hunter. She's been finding just the right things for our home as we get it ready to sell it.
Since I know there are other couples looking for treasures with their furniture hunting, I wanted to share some things I've found.
The good news is that many cities have plenty of options for finding some hidden treasures.
- Thrift Stores: Shops like Goodwill and Re-store can be great places to start off with furniture hunting. We found a great mirror for the entry way for $10.
- Local Specialty Stores: Consignment shops can be an excellent source for well made pieces. One note – be ready to negotiate if you want to snag a bargain. Some owners are more willing to work with you. I've seen discounts of 30-50% on the tag price if you're patient.
- Craigslist/Garage Sales: You can gain direct access to sellers who are eager to get stuff out of their homes which can mean huge saving for you. Unfortunatley you have to be quick with your decisions as someone else may get to it before you do.
Think Before You Buy
Once you have a list of places you want to check out, taking a few minutes to prepare can really pay off. Asking yourself a few questions can help you decide if you want to buy a particular piece of furniture or if it would better pass on it.
- Who will be using it? You want something that is great in forma and function. When were looking at coffee tables, we had to remember that our toddler and her friends would be around it constantly so we narrowed our search accordingly. It's no good to have a cute piece and you're stressing over it constantly because of kids or pets.
- How frequently will it be used?: When you're on a budget, budgeting more for the furniture that you will use and abuse and spending less on the stuff that will be background pieces.
- Does it fit with your style? Eclectic can be great, but if you think your potential purchase will clash with your stuff and cause you trouble, it's okay to pass on it. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
When you're at the stores, you should make sure you're getting a thorough look at the furniture before you spend the cash. Your two main concerns will fall into the construction or the condition of the goods.
With the construction, you're looking for something solid that will hold up in your house for years. It can actually save you money in the long run if you pay more upfront for a well crafted piece than replacing it every few years.
When examining the condition, go ahead and ignore minor scuffs and blemishes. You can always re-stain or paint it. You're making sure that's in usable and sturdy.
Base your assessment on your do it yourself skills. If you can't get a shelf straight, you may want to skip out on the buffet that needs a lot of do it yourself love.
Thoughts on find Used Furniture Treasures
I shared what I've learned so far with my own adventures; I'd love to hear from more seasoned furniture hunters. How did you pick out your furniture for your place? What are some of your favorite ones? How did you find them?
WOW! These are very useful tips. I always go to thrift WOW! These
are very useful tips. I always go to thrift stores and they will have something
cheap that will go with your plan. Thanks for the excellent post!
Great post! Seems obvious, but thinking before you buy can lead to getting what you actually need instead of picking something up on a mere whim. And you’ll be likely to get more out of your purchase long term.
Oh, and hi from a fellow Raleigh personal finance blogger (though I see you have been at it for a while longer than I have). FYI, if you are in North Raleigh, the Missions thrift store at Crossroads Church on Millbrook Rd. has some decent deals, especially on kids clothes. My kids go nuts there and get all kinds of retro stuff.
Great post. Another good source of furniture is Freecycle. Check to see if there’s a network in your area. I haven’t used it, but a friend swears by it.
Craigslist is my favorite place to sell and buy furniture. There are great deals on really great furniture. When I sold all my before I traveled overseas I sold really great furniture bought at high end stores for a steal. Great condition since I travel so much for work.