I Break for Yard Sales . . .


I used to go shopping at yard sales with my mom when I was younger. She always had a knack for picking out cool stuff. Our house was filled with neat old furniture and objects passed down to my mom from family, new pieces my mom found in stores from time to time and of course treasures and vintage items from yard sales.

I saw an article about I Brake for Yard Sales by Lara spencer in the Flea Market Style magazine and I was intrigued. So, you guessed it, off to the library I went.

As an anchor on Good Morning America Spencer is not the first person you imagine getting up early on the weekends and hunting out other people’s items for sale in their yards. In I Brake for Yard Sales, Spencer tells her story of being a young girl and accompanying her mom on weekends in the hunt for items to decorate their family home and how that adventurous style of shopping has stayed with her.

From there, she shares knowledge she has gained over the years on her own treasure hunts through yard sales, estate sales, flea markets and auctions. Spencer covers what to bring, what to look for (unique lamps, mirrors, original art and Foo dogs) and how to negotiate. On clues to quality she writes to look for Lucite, Greek key detail, ivory escutcheon and Asian details with solid, heavy wood.

Some of the more interesting things she includes in the book that I really like were her decorationary, upholstery yardage and the “raw materials.” I learned about lucite, slip seats, splat backs and foxing (the cloudy spots that occur on very old mirrors as a result of oxidation). As to upholstery, I know now to look for about eight yards of fabric to reupholster the Teal Chair someone threw out and I claimed. Under raw materials, I got clued in on the Chevron stripe, Chintz and Flame Stitch.

Written with humor, filled with many pictures, and of course even more knowledge than I have highlighted here, this was a fun read and I heartily recommend it.


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