Buying Furniture at Rummage Sales

If you frequent rummage sales, chances are you have happened upon a great deal on a piece of furniture.  Whether it was a “project” chair, a table or maybe a dresser, the price was too good to pass up and you came home with it strapped into (or unto) your car.
Some people look for furniture to fix up and resell, others like paying pennies on the dollar for furnishings, while still others like vintage styles or feel strongly about using what already exists.
Whatever your point of view, keep these buying tips in mind while you’re out scouting for deals:
  • Look it over carefully:  Is it complete?  It is sturdy?  Is it a marriage of parts from different pieces?
  • Check it’s assembly:  Old wood furniture will have dovetail or tongue and groove joints.
  • Smell it:   Upholstered pieces can be moldy and dressers could have had moth balls.
  • Set in it:  Once you determine it’s sturdy enough to set on, try it out to see if it’s comfy.
  • Open all drawers:  You will see how the piece was constructed and may even find maker’s marks.
  • Try to take it with you:   Sometimes you have to leave to get a bigger vehicle or make other arrangements to get your piece home.  Just remember: while you’re gone, others may try to buy the piece for more than you paid.
  • Make the piece unattractive to others:  If you have to leave and come back, take enough of it with you, that no one else will want it.  If it’s a table, take a leg or two.  If it’s a dresser, take a drawer!
Don’t forget the most important thing…your tools:
  1. Bungee cords…to tie down your trunk
  2. Blankets…to protect your furniture from scratches
  3. Red flag…to warn others that something is sticking out from your trunk
  4. Screw drivers and pliers…for taking pieces apart for transport
Happy hunting!

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