Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fabulous & Frugal Fun: Loan Your Lawn

If you live in a locale not known for good garage sales, but have the itch to rid yourself of clutter and make a few dollars at the same time, then maybe it's time to call in a favor from a friend who lives in a neighborhood known for its treasure trove of thrift shopping.

That's exactly what Jonamor D├ęcor's Senor and Jonona Amor did last weekend when they decided to clean out their storage and sell their fabulous fare. Ruth Handel, the queen of all garage sale shoppers, agreed to let the couple lay out their wares at her retro-tastic Mar Vista home, causing thrift shopper shock waves throughout all of Los Angeles, Orange County and yes, New York City.

Ruth said the prices were amazing for some of the best finds ever, and what started out as several truckloads of merch dwindled down to next to nothing, and lasted two hours longer than planned. Before all the goodies vanished, Ruth snapped some pictures and sent them my way.

Some of my favorite friends showed up to join in on the merry money-making and bargain shopping! There's my pal Robyn Goldberg, the incredible Hollywood stylist, perfectly framed with Mrs. Amor. Garage sales aren't all about shopping. They're also a great way to meet people who might just live across town.

And oh, look, there's Ruth's son, the adorable Jobim Scott, guarding the profits in a piggy bank!

And, why, there's a very collectible pair of swag lamps hanging from a tree that appeared on page 97 of The Find: The Housing Works Book of Decorating With Thrift Shop Treasures, Flea Market Objects, and Vintage Details! (Surprisingly didn't sell as of yet....but I bet I could get you a good price!)

If you are contemplating asking a friend to loan you his or her digs to throw a garage sale, here are a few tips that'll make it easier on your host, and fun and profitable for everyone involved:

• Invite your hosts to add their own items to your sale. They might appreciate the opportunity to easily unload a few items, and make a couple dollars as well.

• Be respectful of your host's privacy. When word of a fabulous garage sale gets out, especially in Ruth's neighborhood, eager shoppers have been known to show up way too early or even the night before. Make it clear in your invitations what time the treasure-hunting starts and stops, and adhere to it. (Of course, if all are happy to let the party linger, then go for it!)

• As silly as it might sound, make sure you and your team are there the entire time to make sure everything runs smoothly, especially during the set-up and breakdown.

• Provide snacks, beverages and lunch. It's just the gracious thing to do.

• Organize, organize, organize in advance. Bringing a load of stuff to dump on someone's lawn can be an ominous sight if it looks like junk dragged out of the garbage instead of valued treasures.

• Make it pretty and appealing! With your host's permission, of course, hang fabric in trees and decorate the shrubbery, group items by color, display like items together. Just like when shopping in a store, potential buyers are more inclined to buy if the goods look gorgeous!

• Give your hosts first dibs on the goodies, and allow them to pick out an item or two as a thank-you for their generosity. "I picked an over-sized white ceramic apple with shiny gold accents," Ruth wrote me from a sunny spot during her family's Hawaiian vacation. "It has pinholes for fruit-laden toothpicks for party time!"

Now I want to go to that... party! Uh...garage sale! Well, actually both!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous!

The Elegant Thrifter


  1. Now that's a dynamic duo Ruth and Jonona! I wish I could been a fly on the wall (or tree) at that sale - I'm sure there was tons of goodies galore! Great tips, too, as usual!

  2. Thanks for visiting me today! Very nice to meet you, Mr. Elegant Thrifter ;)


  3. Now that's an idea I need to make my own and run with! We live waaaay out in the country and about the only folks we'd get for a garage sale would be deer and wild turkeys~NOT the most profligate shoppers. Thank you so much for the generous comments you left on my blog and for becoming a follower. Honored to have you!

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  5. Stan! Just the other day I read your highlight on the Amors in The Find, and can say, dang I'm bummed I missed that yard sale! Must have been a goodie. Also want to say that I'm almost done with The Find, which I finally got to on my long list of books to read, and Whoa is it terrific. Thanks for putting together such an awesome book. I don't know the last time I picked up a book of this kind and finished it in just a few days.

  6. Elegant Thrifter,
    Thanks to Twitter I found you and I think you might be by soulmate! Gorgeous blog, gorgeous content... I can't wait to dig into reading past posts that will all be new to me!
    Delighted to meet you,



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