Garage Sale Finds: How to Turn a Vintage Item Bought at a Garage Sale Into a New Treasure for Your Home

Garage Sale Finds: How to Turn a Vintage Item Bought at a Garage Sale Into a New Treasure for Your Home

Breathe new life into old items and add some flair to your interior with these tips.


By: Selena Cate

Whether you are decorating your home on a budget or simply enjoy the art of repurposing second-hand wares, buying and fixing up items from a yard sale can be a real treat.

Here are some vintage items to look for that, with a little bit of DIY and creativity can become a new treasure for your home.

Old Books
Cutting out old illustrations and framing them or using them for craft projects can save damaged books. Text — even pages from a dictionary — can be used as matting for art or paper to paint on. A large old book can be turned into a small table with the addition of four legs.

Vintage Maps
There are countless creative ways to reuse maps. Foldout maps or maps from large atlases can be used to line drawers. Old maps can be cut into strips and made into colourful paper chains. Small rectangles of map paper can be added to file drawers to add a splash of color.

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Bookcases
Sometimes furniture can have an ancient look. If a bookcase is solid wood, sanding and adding some stain can bring it back to its former glory. If the piece is already painted, you can lightly sand the entire bookcase and roughly sand the edges to give it a shabby-chic appearance. Adding new paint also gives it a fresh look. Lining it with wallpaper or decorated paper on each shelf will add some simple style.

Wooden Frames
At almost every yard sale, you’ll find old art. It seems like a common occurrence for people to buy wall art and then tire of it. Use this to your advantage, and shop a fantastic selection of interesting wooden frames. Frames can be painted and reused with your own art or your child’s art. You can even leave the old artwork in the frame, add painter’s tape to the frame and spray the inner painting with chalkboard paint for a quick and easy new chalkboard.

Vintage Little Drawer Toolboxes
These are typically made of metal with small plastic drawers that are meant to hold screws, nails and other hardware. I buy these whenever I find them at an estate sale or rummage sale. They are perfect for craft rooms, offices or even the kitchen. Add small rectangles of decorative paper and glue them onto each drawer to use as labels. Either write or print out text from your computer with the name of what’s in each drawer. The boxes are perfect to hold small rubber stamps, needles, pins, stickers, pushpins and more. Typically they have holes in the back so that you can hang them on the wall above a desk or workbench.

Garage sales, rummage sales, flea markets and thrift stores are brimming over with vintage items from the past. Some of these older styles can clash with new decorating styles, but some simply need a little tender loving care.

What’s your favourite vintage find that you have fixed up?



Selena is a mother and the founder of Apron Thrift Girl, a blog devoted to living stylishly for less. She's an avid crafter and a lover of gluten-free food based in the heart of Sonoma County, Calif.

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