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Gert’s Dirt: Garage sales

From Donna Bellino

“Yes, sir, we’re next month’s garage sale fodder for sure” —Hamm “Toy Story”

Rummage sale season is here. The signs and ads are everywhere! I love this idea. Some folks have out- grown their need for things or changed their décor. Others are moving, or down-sizing. They offer their cast-offs so we can discover new treasures!

But where do you start and what do you look for? Good question. My first suggestion is to keep an open mind and be prepared to think ahead to other seasons and holidays. Buying items out of season at a garage sale will save money, even if you have to store them for a few months. This goes for decorative items as well as clothing.

It may help to compile a list of items you need. You can also look through magazines and online for decorating and wardrobe ideas to help you come up with your list. When looking for items for your home, think about which colors will work in each room, buy items you like and paint them to match your color scheme. Paint is an inexpensive way to spruce up an item and you can add interest to a room. I once bought an old dresser at a rummage sale for my little boy’s bedroom. It was gloomy gray. I painted it bright red and taped off a black and white checker board pattern across the top drawers. I drilled holes in Hot Wheels toy cars and replaced the drawer pulls with them. It was cute, functional, inexpensive and we used it for over 10 years!

Here are some additional ideas;

Use a dresser or book case in the foyer or entryway to store hats, gloves, boots or shoes or perhaps a locker could be fixed up and used in a child’s room. Wicker baskets can be washed in warm water, dried in the warm sun and spray painted to add a new look to any room. Silk flowers can also be washed in mild detergent. You could use spray paint on a rusty old plant stand or child’s wagon to display house plants. I have seen plants displayed on a dresser and in its partially pulled –out drawers. It was very


I love to look for fabric at garage sales. I can cover a pillow; make a runner for a table and a topper for a window, to quickly change the look of a room. This could be especially fun at Christmas time. I have a friend who uses top sheets to cover her wing-back chairs. She tucks them in and they hang down just right. I have also seen similar things done with fabric and dining roomchairs.

A mirror is a lovely addition to a hall or foyer. I picked up a cabinet door that had panes, but no glass. I purchased mirrored tiles and a simple glass cutter. Using clear silicone, I glued the mirrored pieces in place and hung the door on the wall. This would also be a great way to display photos.

Old picture frames can be used in unique creative ways. Remove the picture from an old frame. Clean it up, paint or varnish it and place a family photo or a child’s art work in it. It will take on a whole new look and life. This fairly simple project can be fun to do with your kids. It teaches them how to work with tools, refinish the wood and provides a lesson in re-using and re-purposing, which is a great way to help save the environment. Children will have a sense of pride when the project is completed and is hanging on the wall.

Finding reusable items can save money and the environment. Let your creative juices flow and find new ways to use old things. But don’t get a ticket racing to the sales!

Donna Bellino is a Registered Nurse and owner of Gertie’s Cleaning and Home Service.

I care for you, your health, and your home. Gertie’s: Naturally Clean!