Towards the end of last year I spent a huge amount of my spare time hunting for bargain furniture and I’ve been telling everyone who visits all about my incredible finds ever since. Anyone who’s visited me recently can probably turn off now because you’re about to be dragged through the story of my bargain couches… again. I’ve written about my approach to op-shopping before – when I’m bargain hunting, I won’t settle for anything less than a ridiculously amazingly cheap unbelievable bargain. Just check out these beauties…
$8 TV cabinet
I entered the Brotherhood of St Laurence store on the corner of Brunswick Rd and Lygon St with a slight amount of caution… although I’d heard this place was full of great furniture, I knew inner-Melbourne could be a pricey place to op-shop – there’s certainly more competition here for buyers than where I’m used to shopping in Geelong. Wandering up and down the aisles I began to think this store was out of my league. There were lots of TV cabinets, but they were all at least $40. I knew I could find something cheaper so I decided to turn back and try somewhere else… and that’s when I found this little TV cabinet with an $8 sticker on it. Eight dollars! I panicked. I worried it was a mistake. “But it’s in such great condition,” I thought. “There’s actually nothing wrong with it. Maybe it was supposed to be marked $80?!… Quick! Somebody else might buy it. Right now. Go!” And in that instant I scrambled over some desks and grabbed it, pushed it to the other end of the (pretty large) store, its wheels clanking on the ground with the speed. Relief.
FREE lounge chair
I was nearly at the end of my tether. It’d been two full days, or was it three? I’d lost count. I’d worked my way to at least 20 op shops in that time and I’d sat on Every. Single. Couch. By this point, I knew exactly what I wanted in my ideal couch – low, fat arms, squidgy cushioned seats… You know when you’re searching for the perfect dress and you try so many on that you begin to know what will suit you just by looking at it? This is how I had started to feel about couches. I knew what I wanted and I hadn’t found it. I was ready to venture online armed with my op-shopping research. It was a spur of the moment decision to turn into the Northern Community Church of Christ op shop in Preston. I was borrowing my Dad’s tiny two-seater sports car so I knew any couch shopping I did that day would just be pure research. But when the chair was sitting on the grass in front of the op shop, marked “free to a good home” and even from across the other side of the street I knew it fitted my style and comfort specifications perfectly… well something had to give. It might not have been the most practical of opportunities but we eventually organised the pick-up of the chair and the rest is comfortable, blissful history. (Thanks Mum).
Even after securing my perfect lounge chair, I also wanted a comfortable three-seater couch. During those early op-shopping days, my sister was constantly in my ear: “You’ll get much better prices on Gumtree. Op shops rip you off and they’re a waste of time and they smell,” etc. etc. etc. I happen to enjoy perusing shops in-person because you never know what you might find, but she had a point. When you know exactly what you’re after, there’s not a lot of point in driving from shop to shop hoping that on the off chance you might find it. So onto Gumtree I went. I picked up this incredible bargain from Sunshine West one evening (thanks Dad). It’s exactly what we wanted, it’s in super great condition and I would totally have paid five times the price for it. Score!
$5 donation shelves
Dan and I were lazing back on our new three-seater couch when we looked up at the wall opposite us. “We need some kind of shelf or drawers or something to go there,” we thought. Call it fate or call it super-duper-bargain-hunting-power, the next time we left our place about half an hour later, a house up the street was having… some kind of… sale. Lately my neck cranes and my eyes bulge every time I see any junk dumped on someone’s nature strip. It’s really quite a dirty habit that I’m trying to keep under control, but this time we were in luck. There was a sign on the letter box saying they’d been evicted and needed to get rid of everything. Donations appreciated in the letterbox. Take what you like. So the next minute we dropped all plans and carted this monster of a piece of furniture back to our place, grinning at the luck and timeliness of it all.
Have you scored any great bargains lately?