I love hitting up garage/yard sales or flea markets for great finds for my home. You can’t beat the prices and can really find great projects to create something unique for your home on a budget. 

Here are 10 tips to make the most of your time and money...

1. If you are going to multiple garage sales in a neighborhood, a flea market or a large antique fair, bring a tote bag or backpack to carry your small buys. You should also bring a water bottle, tissues (if there are porta-potties), hand sanitizer and baby wipes. The baby wipes can be used to clean your hands but also to clean off a piece that may have a layer of grime on it so you can see it better. I usually pack a small snack, too (you need to keep up your strength up for the long haul and wouldn’t want to be hangry while you’re dickering. :) 

Look through the stuff you already have so you know what you DON’T NEED. Even if you find something that is super cheap, you are still wasting time and money if you already have 10 others and it will just end up in a pile in your basement. 

Keep a running list of what you DO need/want. If I see projects on Pinterest that I want to try or something cool someone used to decorate with, I keep a list and just add to it here and there. 

Bring measurements with you of the things you are searching for. You don’t want to be guess-timating this and end up spending money on something you don’t need and don’t have space for. “I think it will fit” are 5 words you don’t want to say when there is no return policy. Don’t forget a tape measure.

Check the weather ahead of time. Wear the right clothes. Layer if you’re not sure. Wear the right shoes! I would recommend shoes with a closed toe. If it’s rained the few days prior it could still be muddy and there are always things stacked on the ground you could slam your foot into.

Make sure you have small bills. The last thing someone wants to do first thing in the morning is break your $20. When you’re ready to pay, don’t be afraid to dicker a little bit, people expect it. Remember, you get more flies with sugar…be nice and respectful.  Go into it with a price you are willing to pay in your head. If it’s more than that, simply say thank you and walk away.

Map it out. If you are going around your area, map out a route to take so that you are not back tracking.  That way you’ll make the most of your time and gas!

Make sure that item that catches your eye is clean. A little bit of dirt can be washed off but if it’s stained and you’re not sure about getting it clean, skip it. You have to judge if the amount of work that has to go into it is worth the cheap price. The same goes with the smell. 

Make sure the furniture has good “bones”. It should be sturdy. A couple of lose nails is one thing but if it’s completely falling apart, skip it unless you have some good woodworking skills (or your husband does :)) Again, what is your time worth? Also, it may be more expensive to actually fix it if you need parts.

One last tip, after I purchase my goodies and put them in the car, I always go back for one more walk around if it’s doable because you never know what you may have missed. Who knows? They might bring more stuff out!

Thrifting is a great way to decorate on a budget but also to add unique character to your home. Be prepared and you’ll make the most of your time and money. 

For more budget friendly decorating ideas and DIY projects, visit www.mylifeonkayderosscreek.com. 

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