Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Where to go for cheap finds?

I am a very frugal gal. Plus, I have no shame when it comes to shopping consignment or thrift stores, or picking up something that is marked "free" on the side of the road. I can find the potential in almost anything. So, I think a big part of the success of my projects is that I buy (or find) the materials so inexpensively. Here are some links and tips to some great places to find materials, and or furniture to repurpose or refinish.

Habitat for Humanity Restore

Here is how it works, click the link and find your local store. There are two near me that I frequent- they know me by name and some of them sigh, or want to run when they see me, because of one of three reasons:

A) They know I have a very specific item I am looking for and will tear the place apart to look for a specific piece of lumber.

B) I am coming in wanting to haggle the prices, I hardly ever pay full price for an item there, read: everything is negotiable. Now. I know this place is selling items for charity, but I also know some items can be purchased brand new for a similar price, and that is why they sometimes sit on the shelf too long at the restore. I am after all helping them out right?

C) My kids are going to be asking for lollipops. Big ones, and the employees know they will be saving time and energy to just give them each one.

These stores operate on material donations from the community. For example, if you are finishing a home project and have too much trim, or paint, or nails, or hardware, or an old cabinet you can drop it off at the drop off at the loading dock, and they will sell it to the public and keep the proceeds for their organization. The store workers are volunteers, and some of them even have life-long building experience and can help with any building questions. I ALWAYS go to these stores first before I purchase any lumber from HD or Lowes or the building supply store. You can find trim for .50 a foot or lumber for .25 a foot. Some days are 50% off days and they discount the materials even further. You can buy furniture, appliances, lighting fixtures, hinges, tile, mirrors, artwork, anything.....Check them out!

Next, check out Salvation Army or Goodwill.

Salvation Army


They have tons of furniture, textiles etc. That can be used for refinishing or repurposing. Some days are 50% off days as well. Then again, most people who frequent these places like me know about the 50% days and will get there early, so make sure you go early to avoid a picked through inventory on those days.

Then, When in doubt---My personal favorite!!!!

The Ikea As-is Room!

Ikea is the store that rocks! It is a Swedish Furniture company that sells furniture, home goods, kids toys, food, appliances, textiles, fun gadgets, etc. It's a great place to buy inexpensive furniture. Some of the furniture can feel and look pretty cheap though. You would not want to furnish your entire house with Ikea furniture- but to mix some pieces in and build some of your own items this place is the "berries". This store is fun to visit, very kid- friendly sometimes a little overwhelming, read: don't go on a Saturday afternoon.

Ikea stores have great suggestions of how to use their items but if you are even more daring or love to think outside of the "box" like I do visit the site Ikea Hackers. This site includes "hacks" or ways to repurpose or reuse Ikea items that are unique. For example my Children's Art Center would be considered a "hack" because I used the items in a unique way and altered the ikea furniture to create something awesome!

Here is what I typically do:

Tuesday's and Thursday's are special days at my Ikea.

Tuesdays are kids eat free day! You receive one full kids meal with the purchase of one adult meal- read: salad and water bottle count as an adult meal.

My daughter- with her Free Kids Meal.
Notice the Swedish Flag?
My son with his Free Kids Meal

Thursdays are 50% off days in the As-is clearance room. All other days are 30% off days in the room just Thursday they mark things down an extra 20% (!).  I have found deals like 10 pieces of wood for $1.00 and fill a bag as full as you can with hardware, knobs etc for $2.00.

As if this was not all enough fun - they have a supervised kids play room (kids club). Every day you can drop off your child for one hour max in the play room, trust me your kids would rather be in the kids club than looking at trash cans or can openers with you for the 4th time that month. The only snag is that your kid must be potty- trained. And don't even try to put them in there if they are not totally potty trained- (aka-sneaking your kid in with big- girl undies and expecting them to not pee- or worse). I have tried this a time or two (blushes) and they will call you ASAP!

Inside the store the kids Ikea area has play equipment like, display kids rooms, chairs, play sets, slides etc. If your kid is not potty trained they will enjoy this area as well.

Moving on- In the eatery area not only do you receive a free kids meal on Tuesday (per kid) there is also a dining play area for the kids to take a bite- then rush over and play. Kids meals are $2.99 most other days, sometimes they can be cheaper.

Annddd......To make this whole Ikea thing a romantic experience- I even know a couple that used to go out for the cheapest date night EVER! They would drop off their kids at the kids club for an hour and eat dinner - dinners range from $4.00 to about $10.00, in the eatery. I think this is a great escape from reality, except too bad they do not also serve cocktails!

I Hope you can use some of these tips when shopping for furniture deals, redecorating, or just trying to plan a super duper inexpensive date night.

Thanks, Kristen


  1. It's over a two hour drive for me to go to Ikea, which is probably good because I would try to live in their As Is room! LOL

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