I get a surge of excitement when I spot bright-colored signs at street intersections. Yard sales are the one place left to get amazing deals on used goods. This is especially true in the Seattle area as flea markets are few and far between, and thrift stores prices have caught up with their level of trendiness. Here are just a few of my tips and tricks to getting ready for the garage sale season so you can score big!
—-Time it right —-
—-Make a game-plan—-
—- Location, location, location —-
—- Haggle —-
—- Grab your insurance —-
—-Come prepared —-
Here are a few items I find essential on the hunt.
- A big sturdy bag. This can be a backpack, canvas tote bag or reusable grocery bag. This is VERY important. Use as a shopping basket and with it on your shoulder, you’ll still have hands to rummage. If parking and walking from house to house, this will carry it all. On the bigger, multifamily garage sales, I might even pick up some wheeled luggage (or bring your kid’s radio flyer) to tote my wares.
- Small bills. Stock a lot of $1’s and $5’s. Because it’d be embarrassing to haggle your way down to a couple bucks and hand the seller a $50. Also, sellers appreciate it.
- Cell phone. Did you find that perfect navy blue couch, but didn’t bring the truck? This is your life-line to outside help. Often sellers will hold on to the bigger items till the end of the day, to give you time to hunt down transport options. Often I prearrange emergency help before a day of garage sailing. Luckily my family values a good bargain so they will usually do the favor. In addition, cell phones are great maps that help you get orientated in unfamiliar neighborhoods and locate the nearest ATM.
- Bungee cords. In case you don’t have nice friends and family with a truck (or own a truck yourself). With enough bungee cords you can put some pretty big items on the top of your car. Just, don’t quote me on that….
- Space measurements. If you’re shopping for larger items, keep a list of what you need, with measurements, dimensions and sizes. That way you won’t forget, and you’ll know when it’s the perfect fit.
- Tape measure, to make sure that darling armoire/bench/couch will fit in your house.
- Fabric Swatches. I typically look for a lot of home decor, so I like to bring pictures of rooms in progress and fabric swatches. This makes me make smarter design choices.
- Water and snacks. My husband will get hangry fast, so we make sure to guard against any problems of the stomach. Sunscreen isn’t a bad move either!
More posts on our entryway:
I’ve been quite obsessed with graphic wallpaper. I love the bold statement it makes. And if there’s a place to be bold, it’s the entryway. The space should give visitors a sense of your style and say “Hello! Come on in!”.But after pricing wallpaper and figuring out quantity needed I received a big reality check. It would be over a $1000 to wallpaper this small space! So we went back to the drawing board and decided a stencil would do the trick. Well, a month later we’ve finally finished stenciling our entryway. It was hard, it was messy, but OH was it gratifying. It took us about three days solid, and a week or two to build up our motivation and break through our frustration. The first 1/3 went quickly, then we took a break, didn’t wash our stencils well and the stenciling got pretty rough. We had to paint over some sections because the lines weren’t coming out crisp. Then we had our “duh” moment. The stencils had too much paint on them! After we took a rough brush and some elbow grease we got them looking and acting like new. The stencils were coming out just as good as before and the only thing left was to find enough time to finish the project!
I just LOVE the look. It gives the feel of graphic wallpaper without the price tag. As frustrating as stenciling was, I can only imagine us trying to hang expensive wallpaper ourselves (not that I wouldn’t like to try it someday). If you mess up stenciling, the worst thing is that you have to paint over it and do it again. What helped me get through the project was one of this inspiration quotes found on Pinterest. “Done is better than perfect.” When stenciling, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I could have driven myself crazy trying to get everything to line up perfectly and look crisp! But then you step back, and it takes your breath away.
Our tips and tricks for DIY stenciling
- Stencil (ours is here)
- Foam roller
- Water-based paint
- Small bowl for paint
- Small artist brush
- Paper Towels
- Spray Adhesive
- Painters Tape
Since a second coat of paint is cumbersome, and near impossible, the right quality paint is essential. Any water-based paint should work. After some research, I found many sites recommending Ben by Benjamin Moore, which is what we used. I agonized over the right shade of teal, because like other paint projects, redoing this isn’t something I can talk my husband into. We selected Benjamin Moore White Dove and StlateTeal. Make sure to mix the paint well before using. Practice on a sample board first, if not, the application may vary and colors may not be consistent.
The most difficult places to stencil are the corners. Wall-to-wall was okay, but wall-to-wall near the ceiling was cringe worthy. And don’t get me going on on stenciling around the crown moulding over the door. Yikes. Just remember you can always touch up with a brush or re-do entirely if needed. I recommend taping down one side and leaving the other free so you can bend as needed.Maintain your stencils
If stenciling over several days, wash the paint off the stencil before the end of the night, if not the paint will build up and make the stencil thicker, resulting in blurrier lines. In the end we found washing it every four stencils worked best. Our stencil package came with two patterns that worked together so we were able to wash and dry while using the other.
Perfect, to a point
For imperfect applications, I took a small brush and smoothed uneven lines. I had a designated brush for teal and white. I could have spent hours doing this if I had allowed myself. These brushes also came in handy near the baseboards and corners to connect the patter with a free hand.
Stenciling is not easy, but with practice and patience the results are stunning and much more inexpensive than wallpaper. If anyone else has any other tips, please comment!