I think one of my favorite ways to thrift is going from door to door in a community yard sale. You waste little time going to each house and the items for sale are usually really good. I went to a huge community sale this weekend with my new thrifting friend Jacki. She took part in a school donation item I offered which was a day of thrifting in Seattle. We learned quickly that we had very similar taste and energies which made a perfect thrifting combination. She calls it "junking" and I call it "thrifting". Occasionally I find myself automatically calling it "junking" and then I laugh at how influential she's become. We left at 4am on Saturday for our two hour drive to a community near Tacoma. I caught this photo as I was waiting outside for her.
I took this with the camera balanced on the railing and was surprised that it showed up as well as it did. It was an amazing morning with the moon setting and the sun rising. Our drive went quickly as we planned out our strategy for the day. We were planning to arrive a little after 6am even though it begins at 9am. I refer to Jacki as my brazen friend and I mean that in the most complimentary way. She's got amazing nerve that I just don't have. She'll go up to a door and knock at a sale two hours before it is due to open. She's never rude and always is very warm to the seller. I sit in the van slinking down in my seat but when they let her in, I'm pretty quick to jump out and start shopping. My skill is that I have a geographical memory which means I keep track of where we are going and give driving directions. We both bring food and share. It has been so wonderful to have a friend to thrift with. Of course it also means I have to be pretty quick at scooping up the good stuff as she has very similar taste to me. The biggest benefit though is the fact that we teach each other about collectibles. Before we started going together I wouldn't have known how to spot Bakelite. This last Saturday though I picked up my first ever Bakelite item. It was a single dice for .25 cents.
We did arrive at the gate of this community a little after 6am and were able to get in. We thought we might have to wait it out in a parking lot until they started opening. Luckily we found a sale shortly after we arrived and they woman was happy for us to have a look around. I picked up the lone dice, a shabby chic pink level and this:
It is pink too although you can see it better in person than in the photo. This was $1.00.
We continued on and actually every sale we came across were more than happy to let us look around. It was fantastic shopping at 6am without any crowds.
This Japanese pair were .25 cents and were hard to resist. We must have walked miles on Saturday. When it became so packed with cars we had to leave the van and just do a lot of walking to from sale to sale since parking was limited. We each had a cart which made it easier to transport our purchases.
Do you ever play that game were you think of a price in your head that you want to pay? Then you ask what the price is and hope they mentally hear you? I wanted to pay .50 cents for these birds. I asked how much and the seller replied $1.00. I looked at them considering the price when he did my favorite negotiation practice out there: self-negotiation. He lowered his own price without any help from me. I accepted the price and happily bought them.
I purchased this set for $3.00 perfect for summer parties filled with hors' d'oeuvres. I asked the seller how old they were and she said they were a wedding present 46 years ago. Although it was kind of sad to hear that she was selling them, I always enjoy hearing the story about an item I am buying. These dishes are complete with a lazy-susan.
I have a couple other dishes in this set. What I am drawn to is the powder blue color of the inside. This was .50 cents.
I'm pretty sure this is cranberry glass. It is hand blown and was only $3.00.
This was my favorite find for the day. I bought a pair of these for $50.00. They were made by a company called Quoizel Collectible and the seller thinks she bought them for $150.00 each. They look perfect in our living room. Well worth the price of $25 each.
I also picked up an Intex pool complete with ladder, filter, cover and cleaning net for $40.00, a good pile of books to resell, some clothing for Cerys and some Dansko shoes to resell. From a business and personal point of view I didn't do as well as I would have liked. There were not many books or vintage items for sale. Yard sale after yard sale we would walk away without buying anything. Jacki who really is into mid-century was very disappointed. Since we are going to a more rural area next week, we are both hoping to find a lot more vintage items. I would love to find some more Mikasa dishes. Now that the post office has raised their rates, shipping on eBay seems to be too expensive. I don't mind spending $5.00 on a Mikasa dinner plate but I certainly am not too keen to spend $12.00 shipping.
Tips for Community Yard Sales-
1) Wear comfortable shoes. We probably walked 3-4 miles if not more. It's not the time to break in a new pair of sandals.
2) Bring a lot of money, especially small bills. We were very far away from both an ATM and from home (which meant no checks). I brought $400.00; $200 in twenties, $100 in tens, $60 in fives, $20 in ones and $20.00 in the new $1.00 coins. I didn't spend anywhere near this much money but I had enough in case the deal of the century presented itself.
3) Pack Food - We packed fruit, potato salad, chicken, marmite & crackers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (of course chocolate to keep our energy up), herbal iced tea, popcorn, salad and seaweed with oil and sea salt. We also had 10 bottle of water not realizing that every other house would be selling bottled water. One house even had a latte stand which we took advantage of.
4) Sun Protection - It was a hot day for the Seattle area and we brought along sun hats, sun cream and sunglasses.
5) Comfortable clothing - Don't dress to the nines to go thrifting. In other words if you want any bargaining power, don't wear your best outfit. Where something that will keep you cool, is comfortable (especially bending over to look in boxes under tables) and that you don't mind possibly getting dirty.
6) Take a good map of the area. You can either buy one as you get closer to the community, print them off on-line or even have a GPS system (which is on my thrifting wish list).
7) Bring your Good Attitude. These kind of sales can be so much fun. It builds community in the area as neighbors get to meet neighbors, sometimes for the first time. Chat to the sellers and make conversation. Nearly everyone we met on Saturday was so friendly and welcoming.
8) Last but not least, start a savings account for a hot tub, if you don't already have one. I would have loved to have come home that day and relaxed in a hot tub. Every muscle hurt and I slept at least 12 hours that night. While the yard sales themselves weren't the best, the company was and I had a perfect time.