Good morning! It is auction season here, but since my goal is to pay down debt and not spend money, I am going to share last year’s auction finds with you. It is almost as fun as going to the auctions without spending any money. I am trying to learn that a dollar spent on a sale/garage sale is still a dollar spent. I failed at my 3 New Garage Sale Habits last week, while I did not eat out and only spent $12, $4 of it was on toys I did not need; so I thought an auction this week would be dangerous for the budget.
We did have a lot of fun at auctions last year. Sometimes, the prices are amazing at auctions. You can get a real bargain or if you’re not careful, pay more for an item than you would pay brand new. It is always fun to see what stuff will go for, though.
We only went to 2 auctions, one at a nearby auction house and one was a farmhouse estate auction. We don’t go to many auctions. They are usually an all-day event and we don’t like being gone from the kids very often. We don’t take the kids because they would get bored and want to leave early; I’m also afraid one of them would like auctions toooo much and try to bring everything home to build inventions.
The auction house has a few benefits over a house/farm auction: regular chairs to sit on and inside restrooms. It is also nice to be out of the weather and have a regular parking lot, parking blocks away or getting hemmed in by a ditch is nice to avoid.
We try to get to the auction early and look items over and to get a good seat (and sometimes a cup of coffee). We also try to make a list (love lists) of items we are interested in and the price we want to pay. This helps so we do not get carried away with a bidding war, though it’s hard to let the other person outbid me and get the item.
I also make a second list of items I am mildly interested in, if they are super cheap. This list is very dangerous, it is never stuff I need and it is very easy to bring home lots of cheap stuff. Thankfully, the husband does the bidding and tries to not pay attention to the second list. Once in a while though, he has to take stuff we have bought to the truck and then I get the bidding number. Usually, I am too chicken to bid, but sometimes I get brave. That is how I ended up with 2 boxes of mason jars at the farm auction. I love and use mason jars, but half of them were blue with the glass lids. Very pretty, but I don’t can with glass lids.
Thankfully, at the auction house last year, I did not have to worry about bidding, the items on my second list went way higher than I expected. There sure were some cute metal bowls though, and a retro kitchen table and chair set that I have no spot for, and some dress up hats, and even a few upright freezers for the adult kids…..see how auctions could be bad for my budget, if I was the one bidding.
They can also be great for the budget, if you are patient enough. It seems that the items we like are always last to be auctioned, so we never leave early. I am glad some people do, then there are fewer people to bid against. That is how I brought home a cute ceramic nativity set, and an amazing dresser from the auction house.
We have been watching garage sales and auctions for a nice, cheap dresser. We were using an old tv armoire. It looked fine, but the shelves inside did not use space wisely and I wanted a dresser with drawers. Some of the other dressers were higher priced than I wanted to spend, especially the dining room buffet that I didn’t really need. Then, towards the end of the furniture, there was a slightly beat-up, cute dresser. It was a nice size and sturdy, so we decided $50 was the limit. Probably not high enough to buy it, but more than I should spend on something I really didn’t need.
Wow! The husband and I have very different bidding styles. I am impatient and bid right away, in case the auctioneer doesn’t see me or realize I want to bid. The husband, on the other hand will wait. And wait. I usually want to elbow him in the ribs, but he will wait. If a few others are bidding, he will wait to see if one drops out. I wish elbowing wasn’t so obvious. If no one is bidding, he’ll wait to see if the auctioneer will lower the price. I wonder if kicking is as obvious. Once in a while, he’ll lose an item if he waits too long and the auctioneer doesn’t see him, but usually his patience pays off.
Wow! That auction, his patience really did pay off and I guess I don’t get to elbow him, repeatedly. No one else wanted the dresser, so as the husband waited; the auctioneer dropped the price to $5.
$5. No one else bid, so we got the dresser for $5! I couldn’t believe our luck!
After some love, attention and olive oil- it looks great! It was fun and easy fixing it up together. I started covering scratches with my favorite wood markers. I have been using these for a long time. They worked great on the tv stands and endtables when the kids scratched them with toy trucks and toy cars or if I dinged the furniture with the vacuum. They work great now on our easy DIY projects, like our camper lamp stand.
The wood markers are not for fine antiques, but will help cover scratches and small dings on other wood items. There are different shades, so try it first in an inconspicuous spot. Then you just write on the wood and wipe it off with a rag. Doing it a few times will make it darker. The wood markers worked great on the dresser. In a few places, where the veneer was chipped off the markers didn’t cover entirely, but they helped darken the wood so the spots weren’t so obvious. It really is kind of fun- mark, wipe, mark, wipe, ooh, amazing, mark, wipe!
While I was busy with my wood markers, the husband was busy on the computer looking up ways to rejuvenate the dresser without refinishing it. There were a lot of ideas, but most involved going to the store and buying stuff. Since I was impatient (and frugal) and didn’t want to drive to town, we tried ½ olive oil and ½ lemon juice mixed together. We applied it with a rag and then rubbed it in.
Wow! Sometimes, my impatience pays off! It was great, I wish I had taken a ‘before’ picture of the dresser. It was amazing how the olive oil and lemon juice helped the faded dresser. I thought we could reapply it a few times a year if needed, but it’s been a whole year and it still looks shiny and dark. Way easier than refinishing the dresser, especially since my only refinishing project is still half done.
We did end up buying cedar blocks and boxes of baking soda to place in the drawers and help with the musty smell, but the total is still under $10 and it fits perfectly in the bedroom.
I guess that is why we enjoy auctions so much. Yes, they can be an all-day event, they can be very anti-frugal if you’re not careful, they can even be scary if you are afraid to bid, but they are entertaining and you never know when you will find a great treasure. It might be a treasure that no one else wants, or a treasure you will work to restore. I have enjoyed sharing our auction adventures with you; maybe I could look for an upcoming auction-if I am careful to watch the budget.
Soon, I hope to share the farm estate auction adventure, our good buys there and my experiences bidding.
Happy Camping (or restoring a cheap treasure)!