Flea market shopping can inspire you and allow you to avoid fueling the excessive production of wastefully made household goods. Why should you spend your money in big box stores on knock down and throw away stuff full of hazardous materials?
Why not drift into your local flea markets or thrift shops and reuse/repurpose quality work that has been around for years? Part of the joy of flea markets and thrift shops is the hope of finding that unique piece with potential.
What should you be looking for in the pieces you see in thrift stores and flea markets?
Solid Wood Furniture
Quality is the key to success in finding great used furniture. Look for solid wood construction and traditional joinery. Genuine solid wood construction means there are no veneered products used anywhere in the piece. Traditional joinery would be the use of mortise and tenon joinery in the apron to legs and stretchers to legs. Look for pins or pegs securing the tenons in the mortises. Pay attention to the drawers in the furniture you are appraising. Search for drawers with dovetails at their corners. Learn the difference between mechanically made and hand cut dovetails.
Hand painted artwork can be a unique purchase at the market or thrift store. A Salvador Dali piece was purchased at a thrift store recently, and a $100,000 painting of a bird was found stored away in an attic. With patience and care, forgotten and carelessly given away pieces of important art can be found.
Take the time to carefully go through the frames containing prints or paintings, allowing yourself to see the work for what it is. Look for pieces that are something out of nothing; that is, look for original works first. When you see prints, look for pencil signings and numbered editions. Look for what you consider to be beautiful and what will look great in your home. After all your work and time, you should be willing to say that you love it just for what it is.
If, however, you find that piece, that Dali, what do you do? Verifying and valuing your piece will be made easier by seeking out a professional auction house like Park West Gallery. A professional will ensure that you get the highest return for your time spent digging through the musty, dusty back walls of some gritty old thrift store.
Reusing and repurposing dishes and pots and pans can save you hundreds. Again, look for quality, and the ability to survive the dishwasher in the plates and glasses. Look for cast iron pots and pans. Often, they have not been maintained correctly and can be cleaned and resurfaced to be like new. You can also sleep easier repurposing a pot or pan as a vase or pot if you only pay pocket change for it.
It can be easy to settle into the ordinary, to purchase that off the shelf; mass produced item that catches you eye. Save yourself some money and save some space in a landfill or even save a tree or two by shopping your local flea market or thrift store.
Hey, you might even be the next one to find an original Audubon!