Autumn is prime garage sale season – there’s a slight bite to the morning air, the leaves are turning, and the sky is ridiculously blue. It's the time of year where everyone is just looking for reasons to be outside, and garage sales fall into that category perfectly.
If you've just moved in to your apartment or you are looking to revamp your décor, garage sales are great – you can get things for next to nothing (be sure to haggle – it's fun!) and, if you are new to the area, it's a great way to get to know your neighbors. Before you head out, make a list of things you want to find. For example, do you need more storage? A new coffee table? A dresser? Once you begin, you will come across things that you'll want to buy on impulse. Having a reminder of what you are looking for will help you decide: can this object be transformed into what I need? Or should I leave it behind?
Next, consider everything. Perhaps you need a table in the living room with storage. Perhaps you come across an old dresser circa 1972. Before walking by it, imagine it with the top two drawers removed and made into an open shelf. Imagine it with a fresh coat of paint in your color scheme. Imagine it with cute new knobs instead of the dated handles.
Maybe you're looking for a pot rack for the kitchen. You stumble upon a funky old shutter with a couple of missing slats. Picture it suspended over your counter, painted a bold and funky color with "S" hooks attached … perfect.
You may find a curvy glass vase, bottle, or jar -- but you need a lamp. It is easy to make a lamp out of just about anything, so if you love the item, consider making a great lamp that will be a conversation piece in your apartment.
With a little paint and some imagination, you can repurpose just about anything. If something appeals to you (perhaps you like the lines of the item or the shape, or the size is perfect for your space), stop and take a second look at it. Sure, it may have been born a picture frame, but that doesn't mean it can't be reborn as a great tray for your ottoman.
Speaking of frames, don't pass these up when you find them. Not only are they great for all of those pictures you haven't gotten around to framing, they are ideal for all kinds of decorating needs. Have an odd wall you don't know what to do with? Paint a bunch of odd-sized, empty frames (glass out) and hang them in a grouping. Use them to frame autumn leaves and arrange them on a side table or fireplace mantle. Line the cardboard back with scrapbooking paper and attach an antique necklace to it and hang it as 3-D art. Paint all of the frames black, print out a series of photos on grayscale, and hang them behind your couch for a modern, black-and-white photo display.
You can turn an old door into a headboard, a packing crate into a magazine rack, an old microwave or TV cart into a kitchen island, or an old file cabinet into a shabby-chic storage unit. Before you head to a store and spend money on something new, see if you can find something for a fraction of the price at a garage sale. It's a great way to express your style and try something risk-free (after all, if it doesn't work, you aren't out much money and you had fun trying).