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This weekend, my friend Cari came up to visit us and we went thrifting at a couple of my favorite antique stores. It has been a while since I’ve been out to see what’s new at the booths so I really enjoyed the trip!

I didn’t find a whole lot that interested me enough to spend money on, but I did find a really pretty Estée Lauder porcelain powder jar that I’m fond of.

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It matches our bedroom decor really well and will be a great place to catch little trinkets and jewelry before bed! I love metallics, especially silver, and it’s nice to have such an understated vintage 70s piece.

If you like it enough to want your own, I found one on etsy for a good price!

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After visiting St. Louis, we made our way to Carbondale, Illinois where Kyle went to college. In Carbondale, we were mostly visiting friends who we have there from when Kyle went to SIU and some friends new to Carbondale who we know through debate. Since it was vacation, we stopped at an antique mall along the way in Nashville, Illinois.

Most of my luck at Perry County Antique Mall was with tea pots, but there were some other interesting finds there too.

This table was really cool. I like the decal a lot and I love how it was staged with the Fiestaware in the store. It was in very good condition, too.

This chair and settee were probably the best deal. I didn’t make a list of prices (Silly me, thinking I’d have time to write all the posts while I was getting back in the groove of work and still remembered), but I think this was in the $300-400 range and 20% off. The wood was in really good shape. I’m not sure if the upholstery was original but I’ve seen other Eastlake settees with similar upholstery so it may have been. It was definitely in good shape, too, so overall I think this was a great deal!

This card catalog was really cool. It was about the perfect height to be turned into a kitchen island.

This beautiful furnace was so cool. Its price tag definitely matched the quality but for someone looking to make the investment, I think it would have been really worth it.

Overall, Kyle and I thought the prices at the antique mall were kind of all over the places. A lot of booths had really fair prices (like the table) and others were strangely high or strangely low. There was a lot of variety and it was big enough to be totally worth pulling over on the drive.

I know that antiquing is something people do on their road trips, but this was the first time that Kyle and I really did. I think we’ll probably do it more often on road trips because it was a nice way to break up the trip and it makes even the drive feel like a good part of the vacation. Have you had good luck with roadside antique malls on your road trips?

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Last month I journeyed home to attend the Grape Escape, an annual benefit for the Topeka Performing Arts Center. Since it fell on a First Friday weekend, I also had the chance to stop by my mom’s friend’s new shop in the North Topeka Arts District. The NoTo Arts District is a historic part of Topeka that has recently been adopted to be a new arts neighborhood. I’m really excited to see life breathed in to a part of town very close to where I grew up!

Two Days Monthly Market is open every First Friday and Saturday and its owned by Coralee and Lisa, the owners of Brickhouse Antiques. Brickhouse is the first antique store I actually enjoyed visiting and when it came time to start furnishing our home, Kyle and I have enjoyed opportunities to shop there so I have been anxious to check out their new store.

Check out some of the awesome displays and items for sale from their August 5 and 6 sale.

This antique grocer’s scale really caught my eye, especially after just seeing a grocer’s scale used as a fruit basket in the home tour I mentioned earlier this month.

This mid-century style buffet is in great shape! That color is beautiful.

This bike is also so neat!

One of these two benches (or both?) might need to be mine if they’re still around. I love the style of them and the length is perfect for our living room.

This breadbox is maybe my favorite find. I wish that I either used enough flour and sugar that I didn’t need a really tight seal on my colander or that I had the counter space to display something so cool without using it. Can you tell I’ve been talking myself in to and out of this purchase since I first laid eyes on it?

Shopping at Two Days is awesome because in addition to all the great vintage finds, the displays have great design inspiration too.

I can’t wait to go back! Unfortunately, I’m hours away from heading to St. Louis and Carbondale, IL for the weekend so I won’t make it to their September 2 and 3 sale that begins today. I might have to send my mom after some things. All of my photos and review of the store were from the tail end of the Saturday sale and I’ve been told that it was a little picked over if you saw it before. Still plenty of awesome finds though (and it will freshly stocked tonight)!

If you’re one of our Topeka reader stop in and check it out this weekend and if you’re not so close to the NoTo Arts District away, keep Two Days and Brickhouse in mind for your next Midwest thrift tour.

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Chicago

There’s so much that I can write about my trip to Chicago, but I will give you the highlights. The city is beautiful and there’s loveliness all around. My main goal was to hit up a couple of the shops that I saw on Apartment Therapy; Edgewater Antique Mall and Broadway Antique Market. The two stores happened to be right down the road from one another. There were more places we could go, but these were best for the amount of time we had.

Edgewater Antique Mall was really great and they had some many awesome vintage items! A post is coming soon that includes everything I bought from my trip!

How great is this practically mint condition Remington Electric razor? I love the typography and the pale blue and pink together. If I knew how in the world I’d display something like this, I’d have bought it. The advertising “Safe comfortable way to feminine charm” cracks. me. up. I’m guess it’s true that there are a lot of unsafe and uncomfortable ways to feminine charm out there, so if you’re looking for a razor that’s safe AND comfortable – this is it.

These wooden letters and numbers are all over the place and I really need a craft to do with them! I’m trying to dream up something, but I think I need to head to Pinterest for some inspriation.

I looooooved this pink Melmac dinnerware. It was $24 a place setting and I believe there was 8 of them. So sweet and perfect.

Look at this patio set. It’s so awesome with it’s lime green chippy paint, unique curvy wood, and the white faux leather. UPDATE: I believe that these are George Mulhauser Plycraft Chairs. Which would make them a whole lot more than what they were listed for in the store. Awesome. Wish I would have been able to snag these!

After we left Edgewater, we headed down the street to Broadway Antique Market (BAM). Let me tell you something, on the first floor of BAM it is like any other antique mall. Some unique finds, some high prices, and some lovely pieces. But, when you head upstairs it is like a Mid-Century Modern Museum. Everything up there is stunning and I wanted to take it home. If you’re trying to fill a home with MCM pieces and not too concerned about price, this is your place. Just check out their eBay site, and you’ll totally see what I mean.

They didn’t allow photos so this is the only picture I snapped (I know, I’m such a rebel). It’s lovely though, isn’t it? That the perfect green.

My favorite aspect of visiting large cities is public art. The Painted Forest in Lincoln Park is really striking. Depending on where you view it, it’s possible you won’t even notice. Maybe it’s more visible in the winter?

I really want to do these painted 2 x 4s in my back yard. These were outside of the Art Institute and they’re awesome.

Can’t go to Chicago and not have deep dish. Ah…pizza…

Goodbye beautiful Chicago. I hope to see you again very soon!

If you’d like, you can view the other stops of my trip: Bearly Makin’ It Antiques, Marion, KS, Thistle in Kansas City, and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

Stay tuned for more!

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Now that you’ve got all of our Secondhand shopping tips, it’s time to move onto where to actually shop. This week we’ve got Part One for you. Here goes:

Sales You Have to Search for:

Searching Resources: When searching for various sales, it seems that your best option to check out local paper ads, Estatesales.net, Auction Zip, Thrifty Nickel, and most often Craigslist. A really useful app for sifting through all those ads on Craigslist is iGarageSales. It’s available for iPhones and Androids. It does cost $1.99 but it’s totally worth it! The search feature (seen below) really makes it easy to find what you’re looking for, like estate sales or furniture.

Estate Sales: Start early, especially if you’ve seen a preview of the sale and you’ve got your eye on a specific item. One of the best things about estate sales is that the last day often means 50% off! The downfall to estate sales is that they are essentially a business with people needing to make profits. Because of this, in some states, you have to pay taxes on the items you buy. That’s important to know and factor in, when you seen a price. Also, if you happen upon an estate sale because of street signs, keep a look out for the name of the company that’s running the sale because often they have an email list at the register. By all means, sign up! They will send you emails with the information for their next sales and often allow you to come check it out earlier if you’re on their email list.

Watch out for ads that say “Estate Sale” but are really just for a garage sale. How to tell the difference is that true estate sales are often ran by a company and they keep the sale open at least 2 days and sometimes up to 4.

Here’s an example of a recent ad on Craigslist that says Estate Sale but isn’t a legit one:

Round Rock Subdivision

Estate Sale
90x Lane
Round Rock, TX 78xxx

TODAY ONLY– Saturday August 6, 12 – 4pm

MUST SELL ALL – MAKE AN OFFER ON ANY ITEM – Family Estate Sale.

Household items, china, glassware, collectibles, picture frames, cookware, teapot collection, vintage aprons, gloves, vintage pillowcases, vintage sewing notions, old material, old lace, blankets, 1950’s cocktail dresses, 1970’s vintage clothes, maple china hutche, lazy boy, vintage 1940’s harp coffee table, lamps, chairs, sofa, mirror, framed artwork, old sheet music, old records, and much more.

ALL ITEMS PRICED TO SELL!

Although, they probably have good items this sale isn’t an actual estate sale and can be really frustrating if you get there and everything is just set outside. Also, it was just one day.

Here’s an example of a true Estate Sale:

EXCELLENT, JAM-PACKED ESTATE SALE!

Address of Sale:
4306 Ct., Austin, TX, 78xxx

Sale Dates and Times:
8/5/2011 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM (Friday)
8/6/2011 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Saturday)
8/7/2011 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Sunday)

Sale Description:
Another excellent sale from Thistle Estate Sales in a house bursting with wonderful items & great deals. Furniture, home design stuff, toys galore, books, DVDs, a Wii system, a full (and great kitchen), a packed garage, wonderful Halloween and Christmas decorations & much else besides! Lots of modern brands: Black & Decker, Target, Garden Ridge, Real Simple etc, items never opened. A great combination of the practical and the appealing. Don’t miss out!

This ad was actually much longer and listed out each major item that was at the sale. Not to mention, they are running the sale for 3 days and mention the name of company.

(Total cliché auctioneer photo!)

Auctions: Auctions are a lot of fun, too! But, if you’re competitive (like Jess is) you have to make sure that you’re being realistic. I’ve had a few times that I’ve left auctions heartsick but you kind of have to play it by ear and be committed to the things you like. You need to start early at an auction to get a good survey of the items you want before the chaos of the auction begins and to plan your day. Often, the auctioneer will indicate on the flier when big items (like cars and houses) will sell and at the beginning of the auction will give you a roadmap of how they’ll progress through the items for sale. That can really help you plan your day! Once you’re at the auction, survey the items you want and try to get a feel for when they might come up. Usually, I’m even able to leave the auction site and grab a meal in between items I’m interested in.  Even with the best planning, you still need to be prepared to wait. Some dealers may help speed the auction along by buying little lots that aren’t selling very quickly. Keep an eye on these opportunities because sometimes you can get a great little deal for not very much money at all.

After you’ve surveyed the goods at the auction, take some time to survey the other buyers. Even if you’re not interested in items currently on the block, you can get a feel for who is interested in what kinds of items and whether they tend to let an item go at a certain price. This can really work to your advantage. First, you may be able to back off of an item sooner because you know you’re likely to get outbid and help the auction move on faster. Second, you may be able to outbid someone because you realize that they’re buying it to resale. Likely, you can outbid them and still end up paying less than you would if you bought it from them at an antique store later.

Garage/Yard Sales: As with estate sales, start early. Especially if you’re looking for furniture. Be willing to clean something up and dig.  These folks aren’t usually as well versed in display of items like estate sale professionals so you have to look past what’s visually appealing to you. Be willing to ask people if they have anything else they’d like to sell, especially if you’re looking for something specific. At the last garage sale Mary had, a man came up and asked if there were any musical instruments for sale. It just so happened that Brendan had an electric guitar he’d been wanting to sell sitting in the closet. So, it’s possible that people have other items they don’t want to haul out and are willing to let go of.

Church/Local Organization Rummage Sales: These are separate from your average garage/yard sale because 1.) people don’t have as much invested in pieces seeing as though they are donated 2.) someone is usually around to help you load the furniture 3.) there is a lot more to choose from and usually more inventory that you can weed through.

(Image from the Springfield Antique Show)

Flea markets or Antique Shows: Most of the time flea markets and antiques shows are reoccurring with standing dates and times. This year Mary featured the large antique show in Round Top, Texas. Antique dealers go to these locations regularly every year or in some cases more frequently So, get to know where the ones are in your area and check them out. Also, this is something a bit easier to Google if you’re driving through a place. Be prepared to spend a little bit more on antiques at an antique show as sellers may consider the pieces “show quality” and thus worth more money or they may be more comfortable factoring in a higher amount of overhead on a sale.

Stay tuned next week for our list and tips for brick and mortar sales and online secondhand shopping! Any other tips you think we should add?

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So Eclectic is a blog dedicated to great ideas for home design. Austin, Texas-based writer Mary Marcum and Savannah, Missouri-based writer Jess Rezac feature affordable decor, decorating solutions, and inspiration. At So Eclectic, we experiment with design together. So Eclectic posts new content every weekday.

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