Monday, July 21, 2014

A fortuitous find

Remember my post last year about how I thought I must have some kind of thrift-store mojo that allows me to find items secondhand after I've tried shopping for them online? Well, apparently it also works for yard sales.

As I noted last April, Brian and I have decided to redo our small back bedroom as a guest room. Since the room is so tiny, our plan was to get a daybed that could be tucked in the corner and serve as a couch most of the time. We had our eye on this one from IKEA, which can be either a single or a double bed and even has drawers underneath for storage. The snag is that it's $300 for just the frame, plus another $180 to $300 for the mattresses, which seemed like a bit much to spend on a piece that's only going to be used on those rare occasions when we have multiple guests in the house. Still, we figured it was worth at least taking a look, since we're planning to celebrate our tenth anniversary this Friday with a trip to IKEA (because yes, that really is our idea of a romantic celebration). I even added the daybed and mattresses to the shopping list I made for the trip on the IKEA website—but then I reconsidered and removed them, since we weren't sure yet about getting them.

Then, yesterday afternoon, we decided to go out for a walk. We didn't have any particular destination or plan, other than enjoying the pleasant summer weather. We wended our way through town and found ourselves up on the north side, where we spotted a sign advertising a yard sale several blocks away. It said the sale was going until 2pm, and it was already 1:45, so we weren't sure it would be worth trying, but since we had no place else in particular to go, we thought it couldn't hurt to check it out and see whether there was anything left going for cheap.

We found the sale easily enough and found that, in addition to a few books and oddments, there were a couple of large items that hadn't sold yet—including a nice  "lounger" type futon and frame, which can be set up as a love seat and expands into a double bed with the addition of a separate cushion. All the pieces were there and in reasonably good condition; the larger mattress cover was a bit worn, but it could be replaced for $50 or so. I said casually to Brian, "What do you think about that for the small bedroom?" The seller, scenting a sale, told us that the futon was from White Lotus, a local shop that sells very nice and sturdy pieces (we know, because we already have two of them). He also indicated that he was very eager to sell: "I just don't want it to go into a landfill and I don't want it to go back into my storage unit." After a careful examination and a bit of deliberation amongst ourselves, we countered his asking price of $100 with an offer of $50, and we ended up settling on $70. I ran down to the bank to withdraw the cash while Brian went home to fetch the car, and we got everything loaded up with ease. The seller even threw in the two bungee cords that were binding up the larger futon cushion.

So simply by following a yard sale sign on a whim, we managed to get a bed for our new guest room for only $70—at least $310 less than we'd have spent at IKEA. Actually, we're toying with the idea of moving this new futon down to our current guest room, which doubles as a seating area in the big downstairs room, and moving the one we have there now upstairs. Both pieces are double-width loungers, but the new one has arms, so it will probably be a little wider when set up, which means it probably makes more sense to put it in the larger room and put the narrower one upstairs. (Besides, the covers the futon currently has would coordinate well with the color scheme downstairs, which means we might be able to go on using them a bit longer rather than replacing them right away.) But either way, we're off to a great start at redoing this room on a shoestring budget.

Maybe I should go browse at HomeDepot.com for paint and hardware, add some likely-looking supplies to my online shopping cart, and then delete them. Then if I end up coming across the very same items at the next yard sale we encounter, I'll know I definitely have some kind of superpower. (Have no fear, Bargain Hunter is here!)
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