Repurposing: When Old Is New Again

Finds at flea markets, thrift stores, or backyard sales don’t have to be antiques to have value.  Designers today have found that there is money in thinking out-of-the-box when it comes to old things.  HGTV is replete with repurposing, achieving that quirky artisan look, that corner that lends interest to a room, the je ne sais quoi item that draws attention by using “old junk.”

A new development in finding these objects is the rise of retailers to include these one-of-a-kind items for sale online.  For example,, Haute Look, an outlet for Nordstrom, has  new category labeled “Authentic Vintage Curiosities & Beyond.”  Here you will find old shipping boxes with faded manufacturers names or advertising that lend themselves for storage & organization, colored bowling pins to keep stacks of books in line, or a french gymnast bar for your exercise room, just to name a few.

Another retailer dedicated to a certain style, Napastyle, has a new spin-off Barn Door, advertised as a site for  one-of-a- kind finds & deals, so you know you are dealing with limited supplies of any item.  Napastyle first started bringing in collectibles from Europe a couple of years ago where there was a plentiful supply, and now this new site has expanded to include vintage, rare, deals, and even a “Final Markdown” category that span American eras such as early homestead, depression, to mid-century. Vintage tins, furniture, and home accessories such as scales and more are part of their inventory.

You must know your antiques and collectibles to find a bargain, but these sites are good to find a particular item to complete your collection or for us bargain hunters, this is another reference point to find what is popular, or the retail prices of what we currently own.

Just In Time for New Year’s Eve Party or Any Party

MDM found this super tech toy fits all age groups.  Send your very own greetings with this megatech radio controlled personalized party blimp.  It comes with all its own bells and whistles and preprogrammed sequential lighting and music. 

Personalize it with markers and pens for the occasion.  Great for birthday parties, office retirements, graduations, garage sales, or  play captain and manuever the gondola with your remote control. (up to 300 ft).  Just add helium from party store. 

MDM bought one to mark the first anniversary of this blog.  Reg. $79.90, on clearance at Shopathometv for $19.80+sh.  Great buy and has both commercial and personal applications since its a super promotion for any event, garage sale to super bowl to kids’ party!

Garage Sale Basics

Garage sales are handled like rummage sales, tag sales, and yard sales.  The title pretty much depends upon the locale.  Although garage sale suggests that the sale is held within a garage or includes items from a garage, oftentimes the sale spills out of the garage and onto a yard or driveway.  A successful sale of any type has common tips and rules of engagement.

1.  When To Hold A Garage Sale. 

a.  In southern parts of the country,  the time of the year to hold a garage sale is not as constrained as in our northern climates where ice and snow limit the months to late Spring, Summer, and early Fall. 

b.  Sales are usually held on weekends, preferably not long, holiday weekends since many people schedule vacations and are out of town. 

c.  Special citywide events are a 50/50 chance to increase your traffic since although they can bring more people to town such as a marathon, it doesn’t necessarily mean more bargain hunters. Contrary, it may have an adverse impact if your sale location is near the event and parking is at a premium.  You would be better off to have a stand and sell bottled water or canned soda pop!

2.  Community Garage Sale v. Going It Alone.  The advantages of a neighborhood or community garage sale are numerous.  They draw in more bargain hunters to the event, more sellers exponentially means more customers.  Events open up lines of communication with your neighbors, and because of their very nature, take on a more friendly, carnival atmosphere.   Also, costs such as advertising are less since they are shared by the sellers.  The downside is that they require more work initially to contact everyone and to set a date. 

If you have no experience on holding a garage sale plan on getting up early a few weekends before your planned event and check out other garage sales.  Be sure to take a good look at the layout, traffic pattern, signage, and prices.  Doing some homework will pay off in the long run, and you may find a bargain or two in the process!

 3.  Advertising. Placing ads for garage sale follows the same rules as for other sales (Check  Estate Sales Category ).  Any ad should answer the questions (1) What, (2) Where, (3) When  with the addition of a (d) Rain Date.  Be  sure to use words like Mega Sale, Multi-Family Sale (if that is the case), or special interest items like antiques, collectibles, tools, etc. 

Make the signs noticeable and waterproof, especially if you think this will be an annual event much like spring cleaning, then invest in more permanent signage.  MDM once saw a huge cut-out figure of Tony the Tiger holding a sign which could be changed from year to year. 

4.  Pricing.   Unlike estate sales, garage and yard sale prices must be cheap.  Remember you want to get rid of these items and to do that you must keep the prices really low.  MDM knows of a person who walks away from a sale if items are priced higher than 25 cents!  Now that is a little extreme, but remember in today’s market when items can be bought new  at a store on markdown at savings of 15%-90% of retail, unless they are valuable antiques or collectibles, you should price accordingly.  Don’t be afraid to put odds and ends into lots and sell it for one low price.  By shopping other garage and yard sales, you can ascertain what the market will bear in your locale.

5.  Spice Up Your Sale With Incentives. A "FREE" Box , a "Two Fer" Sale:  buy one and get a second one for  a penney (good for kids clothes, misc. shoes, jewelry, and books), and Second Day Half Price are sale gimmicks that can make your garage sale more successful.  Even ads that state Welcome Early Birds! can make the difference,  By  varying the time of the sale by an hour from your competitors, you can jumpstart your sale.

Remember everyone loves a garage sale no matter what their social status is and it’s a perfect way to meet your neighbors and have some fun.  Plus think of all the money  you will earn  to spend on some new "stuff!"