In days of economic downturn, you can get great deals and help people scrape together the money they need. Before you start shopping, determine your need. From first hand experience, it’s awful to fall in love with a piece and learn when your moving in that it won’t fit through the front door.
First look at each room in your home where you plan to either replace or add furniture. Measure the areas and make a small log book with a page for each room. Next measure all the door ways in your home taking a measurement of both width and height. I’ve also found it helpful to use graph paper and make a layout of your home which will help in the organization and movement of the furniture.
Next, color and texture. You want the piece to complement what you already have. If you have custom curtains, or are planning to add curtains, keep a swatch of the fabric in your notebook, also when you paint a room, dash a little of the paint in your notebook with the color name and brand. Furniture can always be modified, but for the collector, you want to keep the intent of the original manufacture to preserve the value of the piece.
Now you have a notebook with the data you need to get started, Now it’s time to pull out those home decor magazines and start dreaming. Look at the styles, and write down the items you like and the styles (Queen Ann, Colonial, Chippendale, Arts & Crafts) these are keywords we will use in are search. Also check out your local library, they usually have books on Antique Furniture Shropshire, and often if they don’t they can order books from other libraries. There are great value guides which will give you ideas of price ranges, but remember that times are tough, people are willing to negotiate a bit more.
The search begins! Start with my favorite, craigslist.com, this is a local classified which offers sales in your city. There are several city classifieds online, usually search for your local news paper online, and you should find an online listing. A secret I’ve found is local libraries have free news papers, which you can scan weekly for sales. Most Estate sales are held on Friday and Saturday, find the estate sale dealers in your area. Estate sale professionals make it a point to build relationships, and that’s your next step. Even if the estate sale doesn’t have what you want, go and visit, meet the person running the sale and sign up for their email list. Ask them if they have a website, often this is another source for great deals. Also let them know exactly what you are looking for, they can often refer you to private owners who are willing to sell.
Now it’s the day before the sale, you know that there is going to be a Chippendale buffet, but how are you going to get it home. It might fit in your car, but what if it doesn’t. You need to have a plan. Do you have a friend who has a pickup truck, or a trailer? If not, you can often rent trucks for the day from car rental companies, or moving trucks from truck rental organizations like U-haul. For more cost effective moving, consider Home Depot, they have a truck rental for $20 an hour. Also have a plan to cover the item in moving, bubble wrap, moving blankets, or even old quilts. Just have a plan, get some sleep and wake up early.
It’s time for the sale, know when it starts and be first in line. When you arrive know what you are willing to pay and have that amount in cash. Most estate sales, yard sales and private sales only accept cash, make it a point to always carry cash.
Now, there is no determining that the piece is there, or if it’s exactly what you want, it might be scratched or worn, or it could be more than you are willing to pay. Be realistic and expect the worse. Some things can be mended, but take note of the complete condition, this could be a bargaining chip for a lower price. Be shrewed, you are making a purchase which is an investment.