I Brake for Yard Sales (and Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions and the Occasional Dumpster) by Lara Spencer:
Occasionally this summer, I would come home and announce to DH, "well, it's official: I've turned into my mother." This was always stated after I got home from a garage sale (which is what we call them here in Ohio). My mother loves garage sales. If I bought a purse at our local Goodwill, which I also did earlier this summer, I came home and announced to DH that I officially turned in to his mother - my MIL absolutely loves buying purses at Goodwill.
Perhaps our Moms are onto something here: you can get quality items, dirt cheap. And that's what I Brake for Yard Sales is all about - how to work yard sales, thrift stores and flea markets to get some amazing deals on items for your home.
The author, Lara Spencer, is not interested in yard sale toys or clothing or household items like dishes. Her focus, and the focus of the book, is furniture and maybe some lamps for your side tables. This book is all about decor. So, if you love to scour antique shops for vintage jewelry, or shop garage sales for kids clothes, or hit the thrift shop on sale day to score a new purse......well, this book might not be as useful. Spencer even gives you tips on how to spot sales to avoid (in her opinion) - if there's a minivan parked in the driveway, it's probably not the sale for you (or, rather, her).
However, if you love to buy furniture and/or redecorate, this is your book. Page after page, you will find photos of beautiful furniture that she purchased and made fabulous. Tables, chairs, lamps, art....and dog statues. On each "find" she discloses the price she paid for it, and often, how she scored the find. There are many before & after photos as well, which are sure to inspire you to check out your local paper's garage sale section. I love the $5 coffee table she bought and the $79 buffet table that she painted a cheery red.
There are also lots of tidbits of information here. She shares some of her favorite design websites (I checked out one of her recommendations - The Paris Apartment - and fell in love with several French-style goodies - too bad I can't afford any of them). There's also estate sale etiquette, how to negotiate, basic info on painting furniture, names of popular fabrics and a list of her favorite places to shop in the "little black filofax." There are also tons of interior shots of her two houses (yes, she has two houses. I think the subtitle of the book, the part about the dumpster, is a bit of a gimmick. She never once shows us any dumpster finds). Anyway, there's also pictures of homes of her friends and Kathy Griffin's home, which Spencer redecorated in her thrift-store-chic style. The book is a lot of fun to look through, and if you're shopping for furniture, there are some great tips on how to get some great finds at great deals. Tips that can help you save bundles of cash over what you would pay retail.
My mother, and MIL, would surely approve.