Tag Archives: yard sale

It’s May show and tell time!

A number of nice, free or cheap things have come my way in the last month and I’d like to share them with you. I always loved show & tell in grade school and well, I still do. I figured I’d pack a bunch into one post.

I lucked into these Sloggers rain boots in my size at the small local church thrift store. Sloggers is a U.S. brand that makes oh-so-cute rain boots and garden shoes. I already had some I bought from Amazon. They have nice thick treads and since I don’t have a car and walk a lot  I wear them often. This particular pattern is one I’ve covetously eyed and knowing their usual price, I didn’t mind paying a modest $5 for a second hand pair, ones which are perfect for spring/summer in this beautiful pastel shade.



Last week I saw what I thought was trash in the street and I was going to get it out of the roadway (doing a good deed natch) but when I got closer I saw it was two Holmes window fan boxes with fans inside. I wasn’t optimistic that they’d work but I took one home to see and lo and behold it was a working fan so I fetched the other one. My best guess is they’d been left on the curbside but the grass cutters mowing a “common” area had knocked them into the street. It was odd there wasn’t a “FREE” sign on them; if I hadn’t picked them up they’d likely have gone to the landfill because who expects random roadside appliances to work?? Especially when they appear to be trashed boxes.

They were really dirty, especially one, so I had to take it apart, even breaking a small, unimportant piece in order to clean it but I looked online and these sell for $40 each at Target so not such a bad deal. Not only are they digital but they have a reversible “exhaust” feature.



I paid $2 at a community school yard sale for these Levis 314 “shaping straight” size 29 jeans. The people were nice enough to let me take them into a close-by building to try them first and they were perfect.


Someone tossed out a small set of drawers. The drawers were cheaply made and I didn’t want them but the solid metal drawer pulls were great so I only took them. This isn’t typically something I’d do particularly if I think it’ll render an item useless for the next potential grabber (I once didn’t take an IKEA bed frame because I only wanted it for the lumber and it seemed right to leave it for someone needing a bed, only to later learn from another person that a fellow came along after me and took it for the lumber!). However, drawer pulls are easy enough to procure so I didn’t feel too guilty.


I set them in the dish drain to take the picture to show you

I’m not sure what I’ll do with them; they could be drawer or door pulls or if I attached them to a board I could make a little rack for hanging things.

Someone advertised a large, free glass bowl on line along with other items. I was delighted to be the first person to request it. The bowl turned out to be good quality Anchor Hocking, perfect for making breads. It was great timing because I’ve been looking at large bowls online but thought they were too pricey. Here it is next to a measuring cup to show size.


I think this next is my favorite. I happened to see this IKEA Poang chair on the local Freecycle group (other than to give stuff away I rarely look at it because the group is very popular and nice items get plenty of replies). For whatever reason though, I saw this listing with a photo about an hour after it went online and somehow I knew this chair was mine. Sometimes I just get those feelings. I was right! The lister contacted me and I picked it up promptly. The cover needed a thorough washing (not dissing the owner; it had been used on a screened porch and abandoned by the previous home owner) and the arm rests needed sanding, both of which I did right away.

It happened that I found a tossed-out IKEA Pello chair several years ago (and after cleaning it and washing the cover of course) I put it in my room. It’s been fine but the white cover gets messy fast and it’s not my favorite shade. I thought I’d swap it for the new chair. However, a Poang chair is a bit larger than the Pello and it seemed too big for my little room. I had an idea: I swapped the covers! Even though each is made for its specific chair they still fit the other. So, here is the Pello chair I already had with the “new” Poang cover.


After having a plain white chair for years this in-your-face print is a big change but I love it! I put the Poang chair with the white Pello chair cover in the living room. Perfect!


Let me tell you about these two chairs. When I sit down in either I say, “Oooooohhhh“, close my eyes and promptly start yawning. Either I am too tired or these chairs are quite comfortable. I mean look at that chair above – it even appears to be leaning back & relaxing by itself!

And finally, I just got this ” glider” style bench curbside. You can make it move back and forth with your feet. Or you can just sit there sprawled on its unusual depth. It was kinda blackened when I found it but I scrubbed it up. I “willed” a new bench to come my way because another I’d found and had for many years finally had to get trashed; I’d made several repairs over the years but the wood had deteriorated too much. What’s cool about this one is I could remove the glider mechanism if I wanted and just have a bench. It appears from the bottom of the wood that it sat directly on the ground without protection so I may have to get rid of that part eventually. Benches like this are expensive and I love getting them as freebies.


think that’s everything – for now.

p.s. The day after I wrote this I found a beautiful 7′ umbrella thrown out for trash. I had to add it to this post!



Adding ethnic “touches” (to my decor)

A little while ago I noted the absence of ethnic decor in my home. I wanted more diverse touches. I scored just the sort of thing I had in mind at a yard sale last weekend and added them to this high, narrow shelf. Two of the wood animals were .50 apiece and the third was .75. I was smitten with each (I don’t want to buy things just to buy them – like slapping a big tribal mask on the wall so I can say I have something “ethnic” – it needs to resonate somehow and animals do).


The newcomers work perfectly here.


This little guy is heavier than he looks. Very solid.




This flat fish says made in Bali. Isn’t it gorgeous?!


I noticed after-the-fact one of his ears had been broken and glued but I would have bought him anyway. Now I won’t worry about ME busting off one of his ears.



Outfit for a Special Occasion (bargain style)

I had a special event to attend on a late Spring evening and I wanted to dress up. I’d be walking outdoors in prematurely hot weather and then be inside with air conditioning. Here’s my outfit:
This is a favorite dress – “a most excellent dress” – I bought new for $10 over ten years ago. I haven’t worn it too often so it’s still in nice shape. It’s probably the lowest cut piece of clothing I own; I’ve never been too comfortable with showing a lot of boobage. Short skirts & dresses, yes. Still, I’m at ease with the neckline here because not only is it fitted to the body and not gaping, but the ruffle adds another layer of material to the top.

Did I say this dress is short? I’m a good bit older than when I bought it and while I’m not ready to stop showing my legs, I could see it was too short for me now. I toyed with sewing a piece of fabric to the hemline but happily (since that was going to be boring hand sewing), just letting out the hem with a seam ripper gave the dress another solid inch of length and voila! That did the trick. The dress is now about 35″ long. (Should I still have this dress in five or ten years, maybe THEN I’ll sew on an extra piece of fabric!)

Comfortable flats for standing & walking.

Comfortable flats for standing & walking.

I knew I might get cold inside so I took this little jacket purchased from a thrift store or rummage sale (can’t remember which).
It’s so cute, not to mention a great match for this dress but for some reason I never seemed to wear it. I studied it to figure out why. The problem was it had two sets of snaps where the two fabric flowers are but none higher, so the loose fabric of the jacket hung open oddly at the top when I put it on, threatening to slide off my shoulders. To remedy this, I removed and re-sewed two snaps closer to the top, which made it fit much better.

When you have a special garment like this dress, it’s best not to over-accessorize in order to let it take center stage. Dress and skin are enough. For jewelry I paired earrings I made with this Avon necklace I got at a yard sale which I wore as a bracelet by wrapping it twice around my wrist. (I originally got that slick idea from a magazine or book.) Not all necklaces can work as bracelets but this one was perfect, especially since with all those loops, it could be hooked closed wherever I wanted.
(And here’s the necklace looking like a necklace:)

At a yard sale a few years ago I was delighted to find this and picked it up just in time I guess because another lady quickly asked if I was taking it. Oh yes I was!

At a yard sale a few years ago I was delighted to find this and picked it up just in time I guess because another lady quickly asked if I was taking it. Oh yes I was!

If I wasn’t going to be doing much walking and/or wanted to shake things up to make this outfit more fun/sexy, I’d bring in red touches. These sandals have about a two inch heel. A red purse would be really cute too but I don’t have a red purse. (Note to self: keep thrifty eyes open for red purse.)

Let’s fix up a little wood table!

At the same yard sale I found this dress/blouse, I also found this little 23″ table:

That's the price tag still on it: $1!

That’s the price tag still on it: $1!

My space is limited and I think in terms of scaled-down furniture. The table was wooden, solid, and showed promise. Now, roosters aren’t really my thing, and the top bird was peeling off besides. I tried to scrape off the rest of the rooster but it was a pain and not really worth it to me so I decided just to paint. A friend had recently given me aqua spray paint which I used first on this project. I thought the aqua could be a good fit here too. It was!

Buh-bye roosters!

Buh-bye roosters!

I try to only get things from yard sales that I need (either stuff I don’t have or which could stand improving/updating). Here the table holds a fan (which is getting a ton of use this Spring). The fan was also a yard sale find several years ago. It worked fine but the settings label came off and wouldn’t stay glued. Hence the handwritten numbers!

Outfit for a hot, late Spring evening with chance of rain (bargain style)

What to wear out during an unusual hot spell? I was going to be outside, inside with air conditioning, and possibly subjected to heavy rain, all in one evening. I came up with this.

Spring is yard sale time – people love themselves a yard sale here! – and one Saturday about a month ago, a street in my community coordinated to have a bunch of yard sales at the same time. They even provided maps of the participating houses. At one stop, a young woman, early college-age, was selling clothes at her parents’ house. Clothes at yard sales are a good option because most yard sale attendees don’t want to fool around rooting through piles of clothes (leaving them for people like me to snap up) and they are generally priced to move.

The clothes were $1. I spied this flowy, printed top. Other than the print, which immediately attracted me, it wasn’t my usual style, but I wanted to be open to something different. It had a long black camisole sewn in with that pretty partial lace back, a unique and unexpected detail. 100% polyester, it was light and flowy. When I paid the young woman, who was easily a head shorter than me, she referred to it as a dress. A dress??! Oh my! Not in my youngest years would I have ever considered wearing this as a dress; I’m tall, yes, but even when I wear short dresses, I shy from the sort that can fly up!

I paired it with $6 leggings purchased from Amazon earlier this year and rain boots that I treated myself to several years back. I’d long wanted cute rain boots and I’ve gotten a lot of use from these, which happened to match the top. Rain boots make me happier about rainy days! (But there will be no ducks, frogs, etcetera on them for moi; grown-up is the objective.)

That’s my “every day” purse and an umbrella that won’t compete with the rest of the colorful ensemble. I thought somewhat bohemian jewelry would go well. These are earrings I made paired with a beautiful ring (that fits my pointer finger) which I purchased at a big second-hand jewelry sale.

In keeping with the theme, I wore my hair down, also kind of “loose and flowy.” I was very comfortable and happy in this outfit, even though it didn’t rain after all.

Oh, how I do love a rummage sale

People love themselves some yard sales around here. Flea markets and rummage sales and white elephant sales and estate sales and whatever else you can call used-stuff-for-sale-at-bargain-prices, are all popular. (Hoarding is also popular…)

Although I’m increasingly selective and particular about what I’ll buy, I love these sales too. It’s not only the actual bargains that draw me but other aspects too.

I find it very relaxing and fun to poke around, hunting for potential treasures, imagining how I might use something or fix it up, or if it’s clothes, how good I might look in it or what I might pair it with that I already own. The camaraderie with other shoppers is enjoyable too and usually people are in good moods. I mean a yard sale is not Target on Black Friday. (Although you do have to watch out for the occasional aggressive, crazed yard salers who’re throwing elbows, crowding, and trying to swipe your finds (I hang on with a death grip and watchful eye).

Sometimes in summer little kids will have a lemonade and whatnot table at their parents’ yard sale. In late summer an industrious young couple was firing up a grill at their yard sale; sadly I was done looking and wasn’t going to hang around just to wait till food was ready to sell. Hotdogs, donuts, bake sale goods, and even egg breakfasts are sold at the larger church sales. (I almost always avoid any such temptations, reminding myself the treats aren’t healthy and I’ve got food at home. Not to mention, I shop these events to save money.)

The upside of living in a country/area awash with consumer goods, is how much stuff now turns up at such sales. It’s not unusual even, to see somebody loading up bags or boxes, especially of clothes, to send back to family in their home country. There’s just so much. And it’s usually priced to move.

This weekend featured two big annual sales at a church and a synagogue. (I don’t mind going to houses of worship to buy junk, so long as that’s it.) I thought I’d share my finds.

$1 Dough blender. My last one broke. Used instead of two knives to blend pastry dough, like a pie crust. Very handy.

$1 Dough blender. My last one broke. Used instead of two knives to blend pastry dough, like a pie crust. Very handy.

$1 6-outlet plug. Where I live doesn't have nearly enough outlets for "modern life." These are terrific.

$1 6-outlet plug. Where I live doesn’t have nearly enough outlets for “modern life.” These are terrific.

$1 skinny belt. I have to belt almost all my jeans, no matter the brand. If the ass fits, the waist is too big. Buckles on wide belts make a weird, misshapen lump under shirts. I'm trying for a "lower profile" belt.

$1 skinny belt. I have to belt almost all my jeans, no matter the brand. If the ass fits, the waist is too big. Buckles on wide belts make a weird, misshapen lump under shirts. I’m trying for a “lower profile” belt.

$3 Don't-know-what-it-is lovely houseplant in ceramic pot.

$3 Don’t-know-what-it-is lovely houseplant in ceramic pot.

$3 Pretty, flattering sweater, longer than most.

$3 Pretty, flattering sweater, longer than most.

$2.50 Working 6" 2-speed Lakewood fan with 7‘ cord. Once home I googled the model. This fan is vintage! From the 1980's. There's even a couple (dull) YouTube videos dedicated to it. Sure, I needed to clean two dozen years of *dust* off the blades but it's a champ! So excited!! It may be perfect with an extension cord in my seasonal screen tent next year. THE find.

$2.50 Working 6″ 2-speed Lakewood fan with 7‘ cord. Once home I googled the model. This fan is vintage! From the 1980’s. There’s even a couple (dull) YouTube videos dedicated to it. Sure, I needed to clean two dozen years of *dust* off the blades but it’s a champ! So excited!! It may be perfect with an extension cord in my seasonal screen tent next year. THE find.