While we finish up a bunch of projects around the house, we thought we would entertain you all with a fun little Q&A session to answer all of these burning questions you have been asking us. We're honestly flattered every time we get an email or a question from any of you- it makes us feel like we aren’t just 2 people writing a blog for ourselves and our mom’s (love you mom’s!)
But seriously, thank you for taking the time to write in, and ask us a few things. We’re going to do our best to answer, and if you have a question that you would like answered that isn’t on this list, please add it to the comments below and we’ll get right back atcha!
Ok here we go!
Which thrift stores do you guys go to? Heather K- NJ
Thanks for the question Heather! So here’s the thing, we live in Canada and I honestly feel that the thrift stores in the USA are seriously much better (at least compared to our little city here!). Have any of you ever seen Mr. Goodwill Hunting on the Nate Berkus Show? Every time he goes into a thrift store there are piles of furniture and tons of things. The thrift stores in my town are much smaller and there honestly isn’t nearly the same amount of stock. Here you would pop in and see a plastic chair, a few lamps that have no hope what-so-ever and piles of little knickknacks (which are honestly fun to look through but anyways)…so thrifting here is a bit difficult (at least in my town). I know in the bigger cities like Toronto or the REALLY small towns you might find more, but my city is a bit lacking in that area.
As well, a lot of the stores in this area are actually somewhat pricey. I’ve seen furniture pieces selling for a few hundred dollars in thrift store and people buy them, so you should be prepared to pay a bit more in my city.
However, when do I go, I go often. I might go to a few different stores every week, and you need to have your eyes peeeeeeled. Seriously, stuff can be hidden people. When I go in, I have nothing but my debit card and phone (to take photos or call Ian to tell him Im buying something ridiculous). I usually start at the furniture and work my way to the knickknacks and books.
In the furniture section I look for wood furniture pieces, and honestly pieces that I need. Ian would not be a fan of me bringing home yet another chair, so I leave those pieces alone. Although last time I saw a wicked orange chair…and was SOOO tempted to buy it…but I didn’t. Moving on, furniture needs to be in decent condition and priced well. If it seems expensive ask if they are willing to take less.
Knickknacks are hard, but look with a plan in mind. If you can picture it in a room somewhere specific, get it. If not, you’re just adding to your junk pile.
Books are awesome. I always look at the books. You might find some neat coffee table books, or kids’ books, etc. I also look at the magazines, and if there are old issues of Style at Home or other décor magazines I usually buy them (magazines are expensive people!).
There are about 5-6 major thrift stores in my city that I check out frequently, including Value Village and The Thrift Store, but I’ve been to a lot of the smaller ones as well. There isn’t one that’s necessarily better than others…you need to check them all. It takes time, but can be rewarding when you find a neat piece. Honestly, 95% of the time I go in, I come out with nothing. Think of it as an adventure; look everywhere and at everything.
Lastly, I would also recommend checking out the private auctions at thrift stores. They usually have some glass cases with really unique or rare items in there, and even though they might start the bidding at $5 or $10, you might still get the item for MUCH less than you would pay to find one somewhere else. Personally I haven’t had luck with that yet (bid on 3 items and was outbid on ALL of them with 3 minutes left to go….grrrr)…but you can find some really neat stuff in those auctions :)
Don’t forget to check out online sources such as Kijiji and Craigslist, for used items, garage sale listings and estate sales. Remember our desk? We found that on Kijiji for $95.00. Mind you, a corner was chewed off and we paid to have it professionally sprayed, but it still cost us under $250.00. I would have never found something like that for that price, new.
So although I didn’t directly answer that question, I hope that gives you an idea of how to thrift :)
How do you do this on a budget?
We get asked this question a lot, and I can honestly say it’s not always easy, but makes everything more fun. We often get comments from people who assume that we can just afford more or that maybe have a money tree in our backyard, but unfortunately we don’t. We are on a tight budget just like everyone else, but we spend a LOT of time looking for deals.
A few tips to keep in mind:
1. Save up for projects and do 1 at a time
2. Look often and wait for sales and deals- things always go on sale
3. Always go to clearance sections- you never know what you might find
4. Clip or print coupons- make a list of what’s on sale and when and take your coupons for an added discount- this takes a bit of planning but its do-able
5. Use “price-matching” or other discount deals- many companies will match competitors prices so keep your flyers and take them in with you to ask about price matching
6. Try Ebay, Kijiji or Craigslist for second hand or even new items
7. Make things yourself- it’s fun! most of the time….
8. USE YOUR RESOURCES!
I often forget that I was raised in a family who ingrained into me at a young age, that you can do anything you want, or buy anything you want for less money if you look. So I’ve been coupon clipping since I was little. So that might be why it comes so easily to me…I had to teach Ian many of my crazy ways, but now he is just as crazy.
When we were decorating and designing some of the rooms in our home, I would buy things on clearance that I knew I would use later. For example, I found a stunning crystal chandelier on clearance for $80.00 at HomeSense that I KNEW I wanted for our bedroom once we re-did it. So I bought it, stored it away, and when we finally did that room 7 months later, I already had my chandelier.
Recently I found a gorgeous necklace online but it was waaaaay to expensive. So I went on eBay and found the same one for $10.00. Regular $199.00 in the store, eBay for $10.00. It’s probably a cheap knockoff, but only Im going to know that (well, and all of you of course) and to me that doesn’t matter. I would much rather be able to buy 20 necklaces for the same price of that one.
Look in places you might not expect- search online, ask around, use your resources. I can honestly admit that 99% of my clothes are bought on sale, at second hand stores, outlets, Zellers or Joe Fresh. That’s it. And I often get asked where I buy things, so I don’t assume they look like junk. Months back, I bought a brand new (with tags on) BCBG dress from a second hand store, for $15.00. BRAND NEW.
Many of our furniture pieces are re-done, repurposed or bought on sale. You can save a lot of money re-upholstering a chair or piece of furniture if you get the piece for cheap to begin with. I also make a lot of things. I got a new sewing machine for Christmas last year, and went to town. I’ve made pillows, curtains, you name it. It took a bit of practice, but I’ve saved us a lot of money instead of buying new curtains or spending $30 on a pillow.
DIY. Seriously. We practically DIY everything around here…we use, TV shows, books, YouTube videos, articles and help from our parents to learn how to do things ourselves. Ian and my dad (and some help from awesome friends!) re-built our entire deck in a week. They had no idea what they were doing, but they looked it up step-by- step and got it done…and it’s the best deck ever. We would have paid a lot more to have it built by someone. Right now we’re redoing our entire backyard, and doing it ourselves.
So seriously, you can do these things on a budget. You just need to budget and save, and do one project at a time. That way you can cover from the costs of the first one before starting another. There you have it :)
Where do you get your ideas? Lisa J- Charlotte, NC
Im going to take that as a compliment Lisa (he he!), but we get our ideas from everywhere! Honestly, we don’t just look to one place, we look all over.
I absolutely love Sarah Richardson’s design and she has been a major inspiration for me. I also love Nate Berkus and his style. We watch countless design shows on TV, follow many other décor/design bloggers, read tons of books, subscribe to 4 décor magazines…the list continues. I think you can be inspired anything around you. Next time you go into a store you love, look at the wall colours, the décor, how things are displayed. Recently I was in a nice restaurant and the first thing I noticed was the gorgeous wood table we sat at, and the doors on the shops in the area. I took inspiration from those things to help me design a room.
Ian and I both have somewhat different styles, but love the same colours and overall look. That makes it easy for us, but not all couples will feel that way. Try your best to incorporate both styles into a room- so everyone feels happy when they are in there.
How do you have the time to do this?
Honestly, I have no idea. Lol. All of these projects, rooms and work we do to our home takes an incredibly long time. Ian and I both work full-time jobs, Ian travels a fair bit for work and on top of that I am also doing a full-time program at school, for my job. Besides those things, we have family and friends, the BLOG and a huge dog that requires a lot of time from us. As well, we are dealing with other things in our lives right now that are taking up a great deal of time. Everyone is busy, but if this is something you really want to do, you’ll make time.
We usually do our projects in the evenings after we’ve gotten home, finished school work, walked the dog, etc, so we don’t always have a lot of time. We often find we go to bed after midnight, and trying to get up early in the morning for work or other appointments is very difficult. Weekends we try and keep for non-project time, but in the summer that’s hard- since we have about a million things we want to do outside!
We know there are a lot of bloggers out there who post daily and have a lot of projects they are constantly doing, but for some of those bloggers, their blog IS their job. Unfortunately for us, that isn’t the case…yet, which means we can’t necessarily most as many projects or updates as others can. We are trying to keep more constant posts, promise!
The other thing to remember is that doing projects takes TIME. There is usually an unexpected challenge you’ll face or something that comes up, so you need to set aside a lot of time for projects. Recently we went to Lowes for a quick trip for spray paint that ended up taking 2 hours….and in the end we couldn’t even find the right paint. So you need to be patient- projects take time.
So there you go! I hope you aren't bored to tears and enjoyed our Q&A session Part I. We'll be back with Part II next week :) And if you think of a question you want us to answer, add a comment to this post and we'll try to include it in our next post :)