Become a Consignment Shopping Beast

8 Tips: Furniture Consignment Shopping + 1 Superstar Shopper

 Here’s a true story. One of a “senior citizen” with more courage, determination and smarts than most decades younger than her.

20160709_150125In September 2016 Brenda relocated from upstate Maine to Des Moines, Iowa. That in itself deserves applause, regardless of age. Similar climates. Similar people. Yet, major geographical change.

All last summer, together with her retired sister and brother-in-law, they sorted, donated and sold not only her accumulated items but also those of her parents whose house she was living in after her father’s recent death. [Years before, when Brenda’s husband died, she sold their Louisville, Kentucky home. Then, she moved herself to Maine to care for her aging parents. Care-taking became her life. So had becoming self-sufficient.]

After sorting and selling the Maine house, the trio loaded a moving trailer. They hitched it to a pick-up truck and caravanned three vehicles half-way across the country. All were relieved when they arrived.

Brenda purchased a condo prior to the move. Therefore, she had a sense of what would travel to Iowa with her. Yet, letting go of decades-old heirlooms is not easy. Some were taken by a brother remaining in Maine, making the letting go less painful. Others she photographed as a way to remember.

Mom’s Got Decorating Style + Smarts

What she did when she got to Iowa surprised all, mostly her children and grandson. She expertly and smartly furnished her “new pad,” combining items that made the trip with pieces purchased at a high-end consignment store. The first time her daughter saw her mom’s newly furnished home she exclaimed, “Mom, I just never expected you to furnish and decorate your place like this.” Well, she did. She used the opportunity to smart-size (a trendy word for downsize) and to create a space that fit who she saw herself as today.

For the first time in decades, she had no one to care for but herself. It was time to start over. She deserved a place she was proud to call “home.”

Tips for Furniture Consignment Shopping

  • Keep photos of room layouts and measurements on your phone. They’ll be handy for quick purchases. Most consignment stores have a no-return policy.
  • Find a consignment store that chooses well-cared-for pieces, timeless or trendy. Buying secondhand and re-purposing are now trendy. However, you’re not looking for torn or smelly upholstery or rotted wood. There are some outstanding furniture consignment stores. Find them and patronize them.
  • Get to know the consignment store staff. Make sure they have your contact information and know your style and vision. Have them contact you when a piece comes in they think is an ideal fit for your space.
  • Visit your favorite consignment store often. Inventory turns quickly. Know if the store accepts cash only,or if you can use a debit or credit card.
  • Do your own price research. Comparison shop online to guarantee you’re getting a great price at the consignment store.
  • Understand that some pieces require a bit of work. Did you find a well constructed, designer brand dresser or sofa? Be willing to upholster or refinish the piece. Make sure neither costs more than purchasing new.
  • Have any of the pieces been recalled? Do they have lead paint? Ask. Work with a reputable consignment store that doesn’t sell dangerous items.
  • Visit the store with a vehicle large enough to haul away your purchases. Some stores charge a holding fee.

Brenda purchased a new sofa and two side chairs, but nearly everything else, including wall hangings, came from consignment stores.

Take a look.  Would you know the difference?

She did an outstanding job!

Leave your comments and questions below.

All but glasses from consignment shop
All but glasses from consignment store
Table, chairs and centerpiece from consignment shop
Table, chairs and centerpiece from consignment store
Vase adorns fireplace ledge. It from consignment shop.
Vase adorns fireplace ledge. It’s from consignment store.
Wall hanging, lamp and chest, which doubles as file cabinet..from consignment shop
Wall hanging, lamp and chest, which doubles as file cabinet..from consignment store.









Consignment shop chairs
Consignment store chairs







Flower vase from consignment shop
Flower vase from consignment store.
Plant from consignment shop
Plant from consignment store.










Dresser being primed for painting.
Dresser being primed for painting.
Painted dresser
Painted dresser











Is it time for you to down or smart-size? Check out tips for doing this successfully on the “Real Estate” tab above. And, good luck with the move.

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© Copyright. August 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.



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