Today I have the pleasure of introducing my dear friend Tasha Cho. She owns and operates the Instagram shop—Flips and Finds—located in Mesa, AZ. I recently asked Tasha to write an article that I could publish here on the blog that explains the ins and outs of shopping a vintage sale (aka Junkin’). This Saturday I’ll be attending Vintage in the Valley, here in Dayton, and I wanted some tips to take along to my first sale. After reading her advice I am definitely more prepared and ready to score some junk! I’ll do a follow-up post after the sale and let you know how I did. Make sure to follow Flips and Finds on Instagram for their great “junk” and inspirational décor.
Written by Tasha Cho, Flips and Finds
We’ve all been there. You’ve saved up some Benjamin’s, found the “perfect” vintage sale, spent hours shopping for that awesome _________, and ultimately—you walked away empty handed. It’s a sad story. You passed up tons of other items that were fantastic deals, but you were just holding out for that one. great. piece.
Well, hopefully, with a few tips and tricks (actually there aren’t really any tricks) you can walk away from the next sale with a treasure! How? Here are a few simple, yet effective, shopping tips! Remember, I’ve made every mistake that I address here—that’s how I know about them.
Make A List
If left undone, likely the key culprit to your sale-ing demise. Pre-sale-prep is key to your success. See, you may not find that one item, so you have to be open to other pieces. Do a walk-thru of your home and target areas that need a shake-up. Write down everything that you would consider replacing and any pieces you might add. Don’t forget, a good antique or vintage sale will often have artwork, rugs, lighting and of course, décor. Even fabric can be a score! Prioritize your list based on the areas of your home you are trying to complete first, or which item/s are proving the most difficult to find.
Lastly, give your “birthday calendar” a quick scan—you don’t want miss out on that perfect gift you later wish you’d snagged.
Now, take that list and add to it—measurements! Wall areas, furniture areas, fabric yardage, rug areas, etc. The last thing you want to do is find your “true love” and then not know if she will fit. Or worse yet, suffer from buyer’s remorse.
What to Bring
Now that you have your list, measurements and all, you have just a few things to grab before you head out the door. Color swatches are great. If you
have them—bring them! Fabrics, paint colors, pillow covers, anything you have. I’ve even taken pictures of my colors (in a pinch). Oh, and don’t forget the tape measure—I’ve done the “I think it comes up to my waist trick”. Once.
Now what? Get. There. Early. It’s a MUST if you want the best junk! Every single time I hit a sale two hours late the best items are marked “sold to a savvy shopper.”
The Nitty Gritty
While we all want “junk”—what we really want great stuff that someone else calls “junk”, sold at a “junk” price—right?
Always check the construction and condition! This means: look at how the piece is assembled. Is it sturdy? Does it have all its hardware? Is the finish nice? Will it be easy to refinish? Is the paint-job nice? Is it peeling or cracking? Does it have a name brand? Is it particleboard or solid wood? Seriously, CHECK IT OUT! I have literally crawled over and under a piece checking to make sure it was solid! And if it isn’t solid wood, that can be ok too. Solid wood is often paired with laminate.
Time to Wheel and Deal
You are officially ready to purchase…the adrenaline is pumping…don’t screw this up…by being a cheapskate. Is there a “haggling” policy at the sale you are attending? If not, assume that unless it’s the end of the day, you can’t bargain. Or, you need to be willing to walk away. The seller knows that the next person to walk up may pay the asking price. If you simply want some steals (along with a limited selection), come an hour before closing—then let the negotiations begin! Some vendors are willing to come down on price at the end of a sale to avoid
transport and storage.
One last note. NEVER leave a piece that you think you want! It will be SOLD when you come back. It was seven years ago, and I could probably take you to the very spot that we met, the color of her upholstered chairs, her solid frame and her very make and model. I drove away to discuss with the hubby. By the time I drove two blocks I knew I had made a fatal error. That’s all the time it took before she belonged to someone else. It was a dining room table and chairs – oh the love! Why did I leave her?!
Now you’re ready. You have your list. You know what to bring. You know when to get there, and whether or not to negotiate. But most importantly you know not to walk away! Now, get yourself organized and get out there and score some junk!