5 places for unique frugal finds

Whether your house looks like an IKEA catalog, an episode of "This Old House," or a barn, there are always a variety of options available for getting creative with thrifty furniture and accessories if you know where to look. I have a few favorite places to scout for unique vintage pieces that have a history. But even if you're looking for something new, you can still avoid a the mall or a furniture store.

Check out these local places first:

Vintage coffee tin - $1 at local thrift shop
1.  Thrift Shops: Thrift shops are everywhere nowadays. So much so, that you might not even realize how many are in your area until you look it up and discover new ones. Some thrift stores have more reliably awesome inventory than others, so take some time to look around. You can also always call and ask if you're looking for something specific. 

2.  ReStores: This is the place to be if you're looking for super-affordable antiques and they also often get in brand-new things from Lowes. (At least the ReStore near me.) An affiliation of Habitat for Humanity, they seem to regularly get a lot of inventory from old houses and they have everything from furniture to remodeling materials. Even if you don't have one in your neighborhood, it might be worth a little drive to check it out. Keep in mind though, these places are run by volunteers, so they often don't have many hours during the week. This results in a mad-rush on the weekend and things get picked over quickly. If you ever have a chance to scoot in during the week before everyone else, you might really get lucky! 
Fun elephant planter - $5 at L&L Fleatique

3.  Craigslist: Craigslist is nice because you can search based on keyword, area, and/or price, day or night. It might save some hassle if you can't get to the stores and things are usually "priced to sell." Just be cautious when planning your pick-up since there is some Stranger Danger.  :o
Cute old green chair - FREE from a curb! :-)

4.  Yard/Estate Sales: These  ones are actually a challenge for me. I tend to see the signs and get really excited, but then either forget to go on the date or attempt to go and can't actually find it. Community garage sales are usually better advertised, easy to find and are a goldmine for savings. People really want to get rid of that stuff, so if you get there early, you might just find a great deal.

5.  The Curb: I drive through an area of beautiful old Victorian and Colonial houses on my way to work. Every week now, I keep my eyes peeled and my fingers crossed on their garbage day. It might sound trashy (pun-intended), but I've seen some gorgeous pieces of furniture that I've either been too bashful to snag, could have never loaded alone, or someone else was already in the process of taking! I've missed enough opportunities now to get over any shame. Afterall, if the owner wasn't too lazy to donate these things, it would literally be the same stuff I'm PURCHASING from these other places!

When you're looking for something specific like a lamp or a piece of furniture, look for a shape you like. Don't pass up something because of a bad finish, ugly knobs or other things that can be easily changed with a can of spray paint or a bit of elbow grease. Sometimes those things have the most potential for a great project! It's fun to browse, get creative and then make it your own. (Check out this fun lantern project)

One man's trash really is another man's treasure! Happy hunting!