Friday, September 20, 2013

How to Furnish a House on a Budget

ESTATE SALES!  That's the ticket! Well, for some people wanting to furnish a house. It's one way to get some nice furnishings or accessories at reasonable prices. There's such a HUGE markup on furniture in the stores, and these days even the big brand names are overseas.

There's something sad to me, about going into a person's house and seeing everything that has been left behind, clothes, personal care items, almost always a walker and/or a toilet assist seat. It makes me a little depressed. Sometimes the belongings and household items are haphazardly laid out, the person's whole life on display. It almost seems disrespectful with such personal stuff laying out for all to see. There are rusty old tools, little gadgets, old silverware, badly tarnished, clothes, hairbrushes, perfume. Sometimes the atmosphere inside the home is very very depressing...We don't stay long at those, it's a sad part of life that some have to leave it so suddenly, only for strangers to paw through personal belongings looking for bargains. Guilty as charged..Sometimes just the best stuff is put out for sale and it's a little more like going to a store and seeing the different departments. It's a little more depersonalized... We find those estate sales in high end neighborhoods like the one we went to today...

The high end sales seem to make the person's presence less palpably felt, so it's easier to go looking through closets, checking out the expensive silver going for very little these days, tables and tables of crystal glassware, bowls and knickknacks. Can't believe the AMOUNT of glassware many of these people what seems to be HUNDREDS of glasses. That kind of estate sale is much more formal, yet still interesting. You get to see another side of a person(s) successful in life, having the finest of everything. We walk through in awe, still looking for that elusive bargain, but these days, smart estate sales appraisers have already checked out prices online. So we go look, just because it's fun to see a beautifully decorated home with beautiful artwork and other fine things...and usually beautiful furniture at incredible prices, sometimes it's sky high, sometimes not.

We've seen beautiful bedroom sets that we SHOULD have waited to see what was out there at estate sales before buying one at a store. But we were ready to move in and the bedroom was the first thing to get settled.

To find some beautiful furniture and accessories, it helps to be in a good area (read $) to get some great deals. There are a LOT of gated communities in Sarasota and Bradenton. And, there's no shortage of old people in the area, so there are LOTS of estate sales every weekend. It's the highlight of our weekend other than visiting music venues now and then. We sit down and plot out the addresses and look at the photos of the estate sales online at And then we go and battle the dealers to find something affordable to purchase that we need, or in my case, think is pretty, or I might be able to sell it on Ebay, but I don't really need it. Last week I bought a Tommy Bahama shirt for 4.00 and sold it for 34.00.

We are still looking for a way to furnish the guest bedroom, add some wall accents and home decor stuff, and have some pretty glassware or bowls to use when company comes. Both of us had complete china sets we got when we married our spouses years and years ago. Did we ever use them? Nope...maybe I did a couple of times...a nice set of Noritake china stored for years, ended up moving to a new home and a new owner. We were always saving it for a "special occasion". That special occasion never seemed to come around when we should have been using it daily for the specialness of having pretty dishes to eat from! Wonder if any brides-to-be register for china patterns any more? Between the two of us, we didn't have anything really pretty or nice to use for company since we spent the last three years living in a motorhome.

After all that time on the road using paper plates more often than not, coming into a home with some pretty serving dishes to use for company, or what the heck, for us would be nice! So I'm keeping my eyes open for some pretty things for a bargain. Here's what we got today.....

A Bagman push golf cart for Eldy for 22.00...Okay, that doesn't qualify as a pretty dish, but Eldy's happy to have a quality golf push cart for when he walks the course...(this I gotta see!) He got a putter at a great price, too, 18 bucks. That man better start playing golf soon. We've been in the new house since June, and he has only played once on the course!

How about a pretty violet glass bowl with a silver plated edge on the inside?  4.00...showing a little wear and tear, but still very pretty to hold a salad...

A wine bottle carrier...Gonna set that outside at the bistro table when company comes, or just when we might decide to go sit out there ourselves and have a glass of wine...3.00

A cool wrought iron hanger...Thought we'd put that outside, mounted on the stucco wall of the pool deck. Great for hanging towels...10.00
A beautiful hurricane glass candle holder with silver plated trim, 5.00

A pretty framed shell art print.....20.00...That was at the upper end of my budget, but after pricing a tiny little frame for a punch needle craft design I made (4" X 5") came out at an estimate of 63.00 to frame and mat it, twenty bucks sounded like a bargain! I'm going to learn how to mat and frame my own craft designs, I think! This picture is going in the guest bedroom, the one where the walls are TOO bright turquoise!

It says, "Write troubles in sand, and blessings in stone."

A successful shopping day today....Something for Eldy, something for me! I always find something! :-)


  1. You are a good hunter, everything looks like a perfect fit for your new place :)

  2. Searching for interesting good deals is a lot more fun that just buying things that you need or want.
    And cost effective too.

  3. I had a ton of nice things in my estate sale - everything I didn't bring with me. When I finally settle down in a stix 'n brix place, if I do, I'll definitely do the estate sale thing. Some places are old and musty and have really used-up stuff, others have some real finds. It takes time and patience, but I've got lots of both.

    You found some really nice things! :)