There are a few characteristics I think you need to be a successful second-hand shopper.
One of the most important ones to me is foresight - long foresight! When you see something in a charity shop or at a boot sale, you need to be able to think how you can use it and incorporate it into your home - if not now, at some point in the future. You need to seize the moment and grab it while you can, because chances are it won't be there the next day, the next week and certainly not the next month.
You need patience. Things on your 'want list' don't always turn up straight away, and equally you may buy something that waits in the shadows for some time before it can fully shine.
It also helps if you have an understanding other half/plenty of storage space/no desire for an uncluttered house, but we wont dwell on those points.
Take my box of old tiles I bought. About 4 years ago, I spotted a box of beautiful ceramic tiles hiding in a crate under a table in the Red Cross shop. They were priced at 50p each, but I asked if I could take the whole box. I got them for £10, pretty good because there were two designs, some border tiles and certainly way more than 20 individual tiles.
I couldn't find a use for them in our house at the time, so they sat biding their time in the shed. When we recently moved house I knew instantly that they'd be perfect for the living room hearth, so when we re-decorated I asked the old man to take out the existing tiles from the fireplace.
I've never seen him move so quick, and he'd got them out before I had chance to take a picture, but here they are chucked in our garden awaiting a new fate.
There was nothing particularly wrong with them, they were just plain old utilitarian quarry tiles, and certainly nothing special to look at.
He's done a fantastic job, and the 'new' tiles totally transform the whole room. They look like they were meant to be. It makes me happy that they have been given a new life and will be enjoyed for many years to come.
We still have the other design, and I'm hoping after this successful mission, I can persuade him indoors to make a splash back for the bathroom sink.
Oh, I promised you a look inside my drawers too didn't I?
Well (adopts husky M&S voice), these are not just any drawers...
Not only are they special because I managed to get them for the knock-down price of a tenner on eBay, they are special because they do this:
I am not one to worship at the alter of HD, and don't like the over-riding feature in a room to be the telly. In our previous house the TV was kept hidden away in original built-in cupboards, and we really found it was a case of 'out of sight, out of mind'. We switched on the telly much less, because it wasn't in your face, so I was on the hunt for a TV cabinet.
To be honest, this wasn't exactly what I had in mind. I wanted a white painted one, or one I could paint myself, but when this came up I thought it was so unusual I put a bid in. Now I guess I'll have to re-think what other furniture we'll get, because I can't paint this!
What second-hand gems have you found? What do you think are the traits needed for great charity shopping?
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