Saturday, July 12, 2008

Goodwill Hunting: Ten DIY Recyclables You Shouldn't Pass Up

After many years of unfocused buying at Goodwill, thrift shops and garage sales, I've crafted a list of DIY Must Haves that always hold me in good stead. When you shop for recyclables that you need for your craft or business, it's essential that you have a plan. It saves much time and money to get in and out. Don't buy just to buy, you'll find what you need with regular rounds on the thrift circuit. It's weird when it feels good to see one of the familiar faces you only know from your junk shop trips. Competition and comraderie with the tried and true pros on the circuit. These are the items I can use and they've proved versatile enough to ride out style and trend.

1. Sturdy side chairs. Easy to reupholster, always useful.

2. Easy to recover computer/task chairs. They go for $6.99 to $9.99 at my Goodwill.

Charming side table I couldn't pass up. Not a Must-Have.

3. If you find two of the same chairs, buy them both. You'll never regret having a pair. Same thing with lamps. Make sure any piece of furniture you buy is structurally sound. Unless you have cheap labor to fix wobbly problems or foundation problems, it's probably not worth the effort or cost.

4. Long, low coffee tables always work for, well, a coffee table or converted into an upholstered bench or ottoman. Buy square, round or rectangular.

5. Buy unusual, retro or just plain good quality lamps when you see them. Goodwill has a plug to test electrical items. Always buy two, if available.

6. Teacarts are hard to find and always versatile. They're loaded with potential.

7.. If you can find a sewing machine table made from nice wood with nice lines, buy it. They make great entry tables. If the sewing machine is in there and it works-twice the treasure.

8. I always check out the coats and skirts to see if there are some nice pieces of leather. I use them often for cutting trim for pillows or a trim piece for an ottoman or wall art. The more unusual colors are a real find. I occasionally buy suede, but I've found the leather works better over time.9. Ottomans or footstools with unusual legs or a base. Don't waste your time with giant square or rectangular ottomans with no character. The exception would be if you came across a fantastic ottoman that met your own personal needs. My house is sprinkled with those delightful mainstays.

10. Here the frivolous finds I couldn't pass up. Remember, buy impulsively just once a week.

Goodwill and Salvation Army stores run specials on certain days. Check out what color of the week it is at Goodwill and check the date on furniture price tags at S.A. They will cut the price if the piece has been in the store for six months, I think. It could be less.

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