Accessorize Your Home With Yard Sale Finds

Accessorizing your home is inexpensive and fun when you know how to work the yard sales.

Want a new look for your home without spending thousands of dollars? The solution is just a short drive away, sitting in someone's front yard. Start shopping the yard sales. From early spring to late fall every Saturday morning, someone somewhere is having a yard sale. At the height of summer, it seems like everyone is.

So how do you find them? Check your local paper on Friday; there will be a section in the classified ads. Mark the ones that sound promising and drive by and check them out. Or in a yard-sale intensive area or season, just get in the car on Saturday morning and follow the signs.

There are some tricks to yard saling, though. The easiest way to do the sales is hit all the yard sales closest to your home, but this is often disappointing. Everyone in your neighborhood shops the same stores that you do, so they have the same sort of stuff you already have. If you want a new look, you're going to have to venture further from home.

When you start out for your yard sale excursion, make sure you're dressed for comfort. Sensible shoes are important. Have an umbrella in the car, just in case. A thermos of hot coffee or iced tea will be nice, depending on the season. And if you're venturing far off the beaten path, stop by that highway convenience store and use the restroom! Bring along some boxes and some newspaper or bubble wrap; remember that the sellers are amateurs and might not have the packaging to protect your fragile purchases.

If you're going to addresses listed in the newspaper, be prepared for some disappointments. The people drafting the ads want to draw shoppers to their yard and tend to puff up their merchandise. They'll say they have 'furniture' if they've got one battered old bookcase and a TV stand. A 'multi-family yard sale' might be two next-door neighbors with less goods between them than a single-family sale. But be patient and press on; the next multi-family sale could be the cul-de-sac where all the neighbors agree to hold their yard sales on the same weekend in the spring with the result being a combination flea market and street fair.

Avoid neighborhoods that are primarily young families raising children. These yard sales will consist almost entirely of outgrown children's clothing and toys. A useful recycling function, certainly, but it doesn't help in your home decorating project,



Identify what your tastes are. If you're fond of the good life and elegant surroundings, try the more upscale neighborhoods in your community. Yes, these families have yard sales too, and they are more likely to be disposing of good condition, high quality home furnishings because they've redone a room rather than because the furnishings are worn out.

If you prefer the exotic and there is a military base within driving distance, hit the yard sales where the military families live. These folks have traveled the world and brought a lot of it back with them. Oriental furnishings and home decorator accents, tapestries and temple rubbings, statuary and lush fabrics can be found at these yard sales. German steins, Middle Eastern brassware and camel saddles (which make great footstools!), Italian large ceramics, Hawaiian tikis and shell hangings, African masks and drums; the yard sales of military families are like an international bazaar.

If your tastes are vintage and primitive, the place to go is farm country. Here you'll want to check the newspaper, because the yard sales will be spaced further apart. But this is the region to look for the 1950s print tableclothes, the heavy crockery mixing bowls, and the cookie jar just like Grandma's. Nail kegs and old chicken coops are just the thing to repurpose as end tables and coffee tables for a country decor.

Remember repurposing and go saling with an open mind and an open eye. If you want a coffee table and only look at coffee tables, you could miss the weathered old work bench which would make a perfect coffee table for your rustic decor. If window treatments are what you're after, don't just sort through the box labelled curtains and drapes, look around with that open mind and eye. A vintage lace tablecloth or a fringed silk shawl might be just the festoon your window needs.

How much pre-planning should you do? Should you know exactly what you want the end result of your home acessorizing to be, or should you fill the trunk of the car with stuff you love and figure out what to do with it when you get home? Well, it all depends on your personality type.

How do you determine your personality type? First you make a list.

Okay, that was a trick. You don't have to make a list. But ask yourself, how did you feel when you read 'make a list'? If you felt purposeful and secure, you're the preplanning type. If you felt regimented and confined, you're the free-flowing type.

Shop to type if you want to make it fun. And you do want to make it fun! Imagine that your room or whole house project is finished, and it's just right. It's drop-dead elegant Parisian or quirky gypsy caravan or breezy beach cottage. Your friends are amazed and want to know, however did you do it? Would you rather regale them with a litany of complaints about the difficulties you encountered, or a light-hearted story of the fun you had doing it? Obviously, the latter!

Like life, redecorating is more a journey than a destination. You want to have fun along the way. Enhance your life with good memories at the same time you are enhancing your home with unique accessories.

© High Speed Ventures 2011