Rummage sale season is upon us, and for me that means cheap craft supplies. I always find stuff to supplement “my stash,” but more than that, it gives me a chance to put my creative mind to work. While getting cheap supplies is a great thing, the even better activity is looking for new uses for old things. (Besides that, I really love seeing what people get rid of; I find it fascinating.)
People ask me sometimes what I buy at rummage sales. Here are the things I look for.
Craft supplies that are complete and useable. People try and sell half-used things but I never go for it. If I see a half used-skein of yarn or packet of scrapbook paper, I shy away from it.
- Material. Specifically, large pieces of stuff I will actually use (like the great buy I got for a quarter last year.)
- Rubber stamps. (Because they clean up easily enough and are otherwise so darn expensive.)
- Scrapbook and sewing “do-dads,” or things like rivets, ribbon, charms, etc.
- Old books. I love using them for scrapbooking and pictures.
- Shadow boxes. Even if they have something in them when I get them. They are easy to take apart and reuse. If you get them in the store? So expensive.
- Wooden chairs. I love painting these suckers. I should probably leave more of them behind, but they are so easy to transform.
- Small side tables. They’re easy to paint and rework.
- Old patterns. (Great for mixed media stuff.)
- Tissue paper. (Ditto.)
- Craft organization materials. (Because we always need to be more organized, don’t we?)
- Any usable, irresistible find. Sometimes you see something that is obviously working, well cared for, or in great shape. For those things, it’s worth picking up. Last year I bought several tiny locket-type frame things, some pillow forms, and a couple scrapbook tools from people, only because they were like new. I wouldn’t pick them up had they not been in perfect condition though.
Does that mean everything at a rummage sale is a bargain? Of course not! Some things I usually pass on:
- Anything I can’t clean up or wash.
- Tools with motors because I usually can’t plug it in and test it for the long haul. In general, if I can’t verify whether or not it works I usually just leave it there.
- Half-used scrapbook paper. (You’d be surprised at how many people sell this.)
- Anything I know I probably won’t use. A few summers ago I found tons of cheap rubber stamps somewhere, but they were just the kind I probably wouldn’t use. I left them behind. Same thing with some gorgeous beads I loved. I don’t make jewelry and probably wouldn’t have used them.
- Paints. I see people in our area that sell a lot of paints, but you never know how old they are so I usually pass.
- Pillow stuffing, batting, etc. For me, this is an issue with allergies. I just can’t bring something in the house that I know I’m going to throw away.