My name is Jennifer McDougald and I am the owner and operator of all aspects of Legacy Home Staging in Pearland, TX. My family and I live in Manvel, TX (which is a small town just right outside of Pearland) on a few acres of gorgeous nature in my dream home. In addition to Legacy, I stay busy with my loving husband, 3 kids and our mini farm animal shenanigans.
Whether you are just starting out on your own for the first time, starting over, on a tight budget or just budget minded in general...you've probably already learned there are creative inexpensive hacks for so many aspects of your life, and decorating your home is no different!
Often times clients tend to overlook the potential of decor items they already own, simply because they have only seen them in one light and haven't considered the ways they can slightly modify some of them, giving them a fresh new look for little to no money at all! I'm going to show you a few examples that will hopefully get your creative juices flowing and will open your eyes to the possibilities some of your "old stuff" might be capable of transforming into.
1. Paint Dry Brushing old decor - This one I actually did a full blog and video on, so for more info be sure to look back in the blog post history and check that one out. All you need is a dry paint brush (the cheap throw away kind works best IMO), a very small amount of paint (it doesn't have to be white...it can be any color) and a paper plate or piece of clean cardboard (see previous blog on technique and actual application steps).
Here is a before and after example for you...it's a completely different look in less than 2 minutes!
2. Taking 2 items you own and merging them to become one new fabulous item
I always seem to find one of these old ornate, gold open frames in my attic somehow from old canvas decor. A simple coat of paint on the frame and clock (that had previously been used in a different room) can tie the two items together for one cohesive look, that suggests it was an expensive store purchase, when really it didn't cost you a dime!
3. Mixing Old and New - These old chippy cabinet doors were found in a garage corner and considered "junk" at the time of discovery. I paired them up with this new wood cut out "gather" piece (one of our vendor's makes these custom words) to make a stunning focal point in this dining room! My favorite decor items are the ones that are unique like this one and aren't mass produced!
4. Painted books for days - I LOVE painted books! Odds are you have some old hardback books lying around that you no longer read or need. For very little if any money you can transform them into unique coffee table decor. Simply paint the books whatever paint colors you have existing in that room and bind them together with some ribbon or even string. If you want to add an extra accent you can attach an embellishment such as this fabric flower shown here. The sky is the limit on the books because they can be painted any color combo to match any decor scheme!
By being open minded and looking at the decor you already have under your roof in a different view, will allow you to create stunning, unique pieces for literally almost no money at all! If you have an existing item you aren't sure how you can transform it, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'd be happy to share my vision for it with you! Anyone can go shopping and spend a fortune creating cohesive spaces, but the true ingenuity lies in your own imagination and open mindedness on not what something is right now...but what it can become with an ounce of effort!
My family and I vacation here about 3 times per year and when I post my pictures from the trip, I get a ton of questions about where this gem is because it’s so gorgeous and serene, so I decided to write a blog on it with all of the info that I can easily share with everyone interested!
This family owned lakefront, cabin style resort is my family’s favorite place to visit! It’s the perfect affordable family (and pet) friendly place to enjoy the outdoors and make memories doing fun things together. It’s only about 30 minutes from Waco, so if you want to plan a day trip for shopping and experiencing Waco at the same time, it’s close enough to easily do that as well. On our current trip we decided to skip out on the Waco part because we’ve already experienced it many times before and we really wanted to soak up as much of the lake and the resort activities as we could on this stay. I am in love with the scenery and the beauty of the nature that surrounds this place.
Today is day 6 we have been here and not once have I heard “I’m bored” or “where is my charger” since we got here…which is a pretty big deal! I’m actually dreading going back home and beginning the electronic saga again - I was kind of hoping they would accidentally drop their phone in the lake and that would be the end of that, but they rarely even took it out of the cabin because they were having too much fun enjoying the outdoors to even think about it.
Here are some of the things you can look forward to while staying at Cliffview Resort…
2 playground areas (one for very young children and one for all ages)
Pool table (in the office/gift shop)
Ping pong table (in its own ping pong house)
Swimming pool (with a basketball hoop if desired)
Cliff jumping into the lake
Fishing (fishing house, fishing from boat slips or you can opt for the fishing guide service, which we experienced this past January for the first time and the boys loved it!) See their website (link at the end of the blog) for more of the fishing details.
Non-motorized watersport rentals available such as kayaks, canoes and paddle boats or you can bring your own!
There is a boat launch and marina available for guests to rent if they desire (fee option is available for non-guests to launch only).
Individual cabins that sleep 4 to 10 people each
One of my favorite things about the resort is that the cabin comes with just about everything I need and my packing/unpacking at home is kept minimal, which is not always the case when staying at a cabin style facility. All of the kitchen utensils, pots, pans, etc. I’ve ever needed for our trips has been provided. The only thing we usually have to bring for cooking purposes is a lighter, lighter fluid, charcoal, smores sticks and a fish fryer (if we plan on cooking the fish we catch while we are there). All linens are also included. If I have forgotten something (or I’m craving a sweet snack), the gift shop usually has what I need (and is priced very well). Worst-case scenario there is a Dollar General no more than a block away that we usually stop at to get many of our cold items instead of hauling them in an ice chest with us from Manvel.
The resort is very pet friendly! I lost count on how many animals were here this weekend but there were quite a few. See their website (link) below for more info on fees pertaining to animals. The owners have quite a few animals of their own personal pets as well that you are welcome to play with during your stay. They have dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, a steer and a squirrel (yes, it is a tamed pet squirrel) and I’m sure that I’m forgetting some…but just to name a few. Duke is a fan favorite…guests LOVE Duke and Duke LOVES children. He will play for hours with the kids around the resort. I keep offering to take him off their hands, but they haven’t taken me up on my offer yet – and I can’t blame them. He’s a great dog! And yes...sometimes we ask their humans if they can sleepover at our cabin lol.
The best part about vacation at Cliffview is the family running it. I love this family and you will too! Everyone pitches in to take care of the resort and it’s beautiful to see a family work so hard together on their family business.
For more info including their rates, etc. be sure to visit their website where most of your questions can be answered. If you love the lake life, I highly encourage you to try this place out. It will forever be an annual vacation spot for my family since the first time we visited. You will definitely want to come back (and so will your kids).
Purging and organizing…the goal many ponder on, but most ditch the idea before they even get started. The anxiety that comes along with simply thinking about where to begin with such a daunting task is the culprit of many purging false starts. Don’t fall victim to this mentality! Do not give up…especially before you have even begun! There is nothing you can’t conquer once you get your head right. The rewards and satisfaction that come along with seeing the results of your efforts are the feeling of freedom and less stress…and who doesn’t want more freedom and less stress in life??
What is the right way to purge? There are a lot of organizing “challenges” and programs out there that involve creating huge game plans, mapping out your road to success, goal setting, rating your clutter by levels of importance, setting specific dates to achieve your goals, etc, etc. Honestly, I’m exhausted just thinking about how long that would take to plan out. And let’s be realistic…when is the last time you planned something and it went exactly the way you planned it? I’m pretty sure historically the more thought I’ve put into planning things…the more off path that journey ended up taking me. I’m not saying those programs are “wrong” but what I am saying is OMG what a time sucker (in my opinion). I mean you are probably in this boat in the first place because you don’t have a lot of time to spare right? The last thing in the world I personally would suggest you do is waste more time with detailed planning when it comes to the subject of purging. I believe you will be much more successful if you spend a very small amount of time preparing and you actually get started physically purging immediately. Hey, if you have very little to do on a daily basis and want to make fancy charts, color coded and in pretty fonts to make yourself feel better…by all means go for it! However, those that decide to skip the “doodling” step will be done with their first purge project before you’ve even gotten started.
So how do you get started on this ambitious journey you desperately long to achieve? Here’s a checklist to get you started on the right foot and headed in the direction of success.
Calm down…like seriously…it’s going to be ok. Don’t overthink this process, causing yourself more stress. At the end of the day remember this…it’s just STUFF. The decisions to keep or to let go of something are not life or death decisions. There really are far more stressful things in life than getting rid of clutter, so don’t make it out to be more than it really is. No one ever reflected back on their life and said…"geez if only I wouldn’t have tossed that 4th cheese grater". Taking control over the “stuff” in your life doesn’t mean that you are a slob, hoarder or anything else so stop beating yourself up. It simply means that you are probably a busy person that just hasn’t had time to commit to this project, but you have decided you would like to start making progress on it. Take a deep breath, get your head right and commit to just getting started for now.
Get over the money you spent on your stuff. That money is long spent and gone…so it’s just something you are going to have to come to terms with to make it through this process. Sorry, please don’t shoot the messenger ha! We've all wasted money on something we thought we needed and never used at some point or another. It's unfortunate but not uncommon or the end of the world. The more you open your eyes to the purchases you've made that you didn't have a need for...the more likely you are to not repeat the same mistake in the future. Every day that you continue to hold onto these things, the more likely they are to depreciate in value, so if you want to recoup any of your money at all, the sooner you get rid of it the better (except wine - there's no need to purge wine unless you are dropping it off at Legacy;). If you spent $100 on it 10 years ago and it is sitting in the closet taking up space and not being used or you spent $100 on it 10 years ago and donated it to someone that could use it (or sold it, etc) what difference does it make? Neither option gets you the $100 back, but one option stresses you out and clutters not only your home, but also your mind, while the other option either puts a little money in your pocket or saves someone else a little money…so pick the better option of the two.
Accept that you must do the hard work before you get to enjoy the fun. Do not go shopping for containers…yet. I know this is literally the most exciting part of organizing…I totally get it. BUT…you aren’t at the organizing phase yet, you are in the purging phase. You shouldn’t be bringing anything else into your home until your purging process is nearly complete. You don’t even know what containers you will need yet or what sizes you will need until you have completely purged your space, so while I get this is the “fun part” it is a premature step that is nonproductive at this time. If the idea of container shopping excites you (I can’t be the only one right?) then use that as motivation to get yourself into gear to purge quickly so you can get to that step sooner.
Start small by setting a single realistic goal. Don’t bite off more than you can chew in a day/weekend. Your ambition is highly admired, but if you have unrealistic expectations such as purging your entire home top to bottom in a single weekend, you will end up with a more dysfunctional environment than you began with. Determine how many hours you have to dedicate to this project today and do not allow yourself to start purging multiple areas at once. Start with a single task and do not move forward until that area is 100% completely purged and put back together as best it can be until you later revisit it for the organizing phase. The biggest way to set yourself up for failure is to try to tackle too much at once. If you shove the entire cupcake in your mouth…you will probably choke right? Additionally, you will probably have such an unpleasant experience that you won’t want cupcakes again for a long time. MODERATION
Understand that some spaces (such as your own closet) will not be fully purged in one day. Some spaces will require more thought and will need to be purged multiple times before they are truly “done”. For example, the first round of closet purging is the easiest, by getting rid of stuff you obviously don’t like/wear or that is out of style, worn out, damaged, etc. Do round one of your closet early on in your purging process so afterwards while you are working on other spaces you can think more about those size 4 jeans…are you really ever going to be a size 4 again? Wanting to be…and actually physically making things happen aren’t the same even if your intentions are the very best. Even if you do fit in those jeans again…are flare leg pants even the style anymore? This is a fact…you only wear 20% of the clothes in your closet. I think if you are honest with yourself you probably won’t even question the authenticity of that statement. We all have the best intentions and feel shame when we don’t do the things we really meant to do, but the best way to shed the shame is to get rid of the very articles making us carry around that guilt and expectation of our self that we are probably never going to be able to really meet.
Now that you have the right mindset (I hope) it’s time to start actually making progress. Make a trip to Walmart and get the following basic supplies…and for crying out loud don’t buy anything not on this list while you are in there. You should be in and out in 30 minutes…if you self checkout. You probably have several of these items already so you might be even quicker.
Spiral notebook and pen – Your basic single subject spiral is perfectly fine – You will use it to make a list of things you realize you need as you work through different spaces (ex: light bulbs you forgot you needed, kid A owns a total of 3 single socks without holes so you need to get him some new ones, running toilet upstairs you keep forgetting to tell hubby about, etc. Each page can be designated for a certain type of store – hardware/Walmart/grocery and one page for repairs). This will help you stay on task so you don’t get sidetracked and pulled away from your purging project.
Sharpie – for labeling ziplocks and brown bags
Gallon size zip locks – for grouping small items
Large brown trash bags (the lawn kind) – You can also use just regular trash bags but I’m partial to these because they stand up on their own and I can drag them room to room without having to find a spot to hang them for easy filling.
Brown grocery sacks – These are good to have handy to collect items that belong in different spaces in the home so you can take it all at once instead of making piles that feel counterproductive. Use your sharpie to label them with which room they need to be taken.
5 cardboard boxes – Size depends on how much time you have allotted yourself for this project this particular day/weekend and how much clutter you have. Label them accordingly…
Trash – The stuff that no one wants, pieces are missing, stains/holes, anything just not really even worth selling or donating
Donate – Whatever items you have chosen to donate instead of selling
Sell – Whatever items you deem worth selling
Revisit later– These are things you are sitting the fence on right now and need to remember to think on what to do with them still so you don’t leave them in the closet/room and forget about them
Give back to owner– The Tupperware you borrowed at Thanksgiving for leftovers, kids friends clothing they left after a sleepover, etc.
The donate and sell categories will be unique for everyone based on their personal preferences and finances. Some will want to sell as much of the stuff as they can, so they can use the funds for purchasing containers, etc while others will want to donate more, taking the tax deduction to simply be done with it quicker due to lack of time to pursue selling items. Whatever balance you are comfortable with is perfectly fine.
People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing
– Dale Carnegie
I completely agree with Dale, so make the best of your project at hand and find your harmony in whatever music or audio books interest you, ditch the painful bra, put your hair in a messy bun and let’s get it done! In fact...how many bras do you have that you really need to toss? That might be a great place to start!
When deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, here are a list of questions you should ask yourself to help make the decision easier for you.
When is the last time you used it? 6+ months ago and it’s non-seasonal?
What if I need it later? Is it something that you can easily go to Walmart or Target and purchase if the rare opportunity presents itself for you to use it? Or is it a rare and valuable item that is irreplaceable?
Can you sell it now and buy it again relatively easily if you do need it one day?
Do you really “need” it or is it something that you “intend” on using one day?
If you can sell it now for $20 and brand new cost is $35 is it worth the risk that you might lose $15 but didn’t have to store it for however long?
Is the tax donation more beneficial than storing it “just in case”?
Can someone else use this and appreciate it more than you are that you could be a blessing to by giving it to them?
Is it worth something right now, but before long will be outdated and undesired?
Did you say “I totally forgot I had this” when you pulled it out? You should probably let it go if so.
This is an ongoing project that will take time depending on your schedule and lifestyle, so the immediate goal is progress. The more progress you make, the better you will feel and the more excited you will become about continuing to tackle this aspect of your life. At the end of the day/weekend, quit purging about an hour or two before you are mentally ready to call it quits so you still have the energy to wrap up loose ends such as taking the bags of trash out and taking the small brown bags to the correct rooms. Go ahead and take the donation box the same day to be dropped off or call your local charity and arrange for it to be picked up if they provide that service. The sooner you can get things out of the house, the quicker you will begin to experience relief and see the progress you have worked hard to achieve.
I will be rolling out an entire program along with accountability features in the very near future, but in the meantime if you are serious about making purging progress in your life, take our 12-12-12 challenge. Even better…be one of the first 12 people to complete the assignment AND submit your “pile pic” to email@example.com and we will reward you with a FREE candle! Only the 1st 12 to complete the mission will get the free candle so hurry and get started! We love reading your blog comments below so be sure to drop us a note!
Details on the 12-12-12 challenge…
Find 12 items in your home to donate
Find 12 items in your home to throw away
Find 12 items in your home to return to the owner or that need to be returned to their correct location in a different room
Email a pic of your piles of 12 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Following our segment on Channel 2's Houston Life TV show I wanted to make sure to give you a few more tips on painting furniture. I definitely advise signing up for one of our painted furniture workshops in order to not only get all of the detailed pertinent info, but also learn different techniques to make your furniture and your talent really stand out. If you're in a hurry to get started, here's a crash course for you...
*You do not have to sand or prime when using milk paint or chalky paints. However...sometimes you should. Each piece of furniture is in unique condition. Some pieces will be in very rough shape when you get them and others will be in near excellent condition. If it needs to be sanded...then sand it before you get started. Paint won't hide issues that really needed to be sanded out.
*Cleaning is critical. You absolutely must do a thorough cleaning on the inside and exterior of anything you are going to paint. Don't cut corners...you will spend a lot of time bringing furniture back to life, but it's only time wasted if you have to redo it because you cut corners. I personally use Simple Green to clean my furniture. Be sure to remove all drawers and clean behind everything inside.
*I use Shellac when I need a clear primer or to stop odors such as cigarette smoke or an old musty smell. Dryer sheets are also great (and inexpensive) to stick in the drawers while you are working on painting it to help absorb smells as well and give it a fresh scent.
*There are many different types of furniture paint on the market today. They vary quite a bit from brand to brand in texture and coverage. Cheaper isn't always better. If you save a few bucks on paint, but have to apply 3x as many coats of paint, then you've really spent more money on paint using the cheaper product, not to mention the time you've wasted. My personal favorite is General Finishes Milk Paint (GF). I've used LOTS of different products over the years and by far GF is the easiest to work with, smoothest and gets the job done in fewer coats and less time than any of the other brands I've ever used. The only time I venture to other paint lines is when I need a color GF doesn't offer. When they come out with a mint, hot pink, bluer turquoise and darker yellow shade...I'll never have to use another paint line again!
*The sunlight is your best friend when it's time to check your paint job! If you are painting indoors...make sure to take your furniture outside if possible before you apply the top coat to make sure you didn't miss anything. You'd be surprised what the sunlight exposes that you didn't see indoors.
*Yes, you need to top coat/seal your work...and pretty quickly after painting if possible. You don't want your work to need to be touched up or another coat of paint applied because it sat around too long and accumulated dust, absorbed oils from handling, etc. Regardless of what paint line I use...I only use GF top coats. They are the most durable on the market. I see pieces get excessively handled in the retail store and GF hands down is the only thing I would trust to keep my hard work looking great for years.
*Brushes - Use whatever you like and are comfortable using. There's no need to spend a fortune on a paint brush. Anything at the hardware store that you use for other painting projects should work just fine. Purdy brushes are a popular choice.
Here's the cliff note version...
1. Clean thoroughly
2. Lightly prep
3. Paint (average is about 3 coats)
4. Top coat (I suggest 2 coats)
When you want to get fancy...take a class or watch a lot of online technique tutorials to learn how to create the "wow factor"! If you love painting furniture check out the General Finishes Indianapolis Expo this fall expo.generalfinishes.com
In case you missed the show here's the link for you: https://www.click2houston.com/houston-life/give-new-life-to-old-pieces
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below and we will do our best to answer you as quickly as possible!
Today I embarked on a solo (solo = mistake #1) planned field trip (planned as in I came up with this "genius" idea 2 days ago) to Cameron Recycling in Manvel, TX. You can get their address from the bottom of this blog post if you're up for an eye opening experience or just trying to avoid doing paperwork like I was (hind sign 20/20 I don't remember ever fearing for my life while doing paperwork, so maybe it's not so bad afterall). I drive past this facility often and have taken my kids there to sell scrap metal and cans during the summer when they wanted to have spending money, as a way to show them how to creatively generate funds at their age. I had no idea until recently that you could actually go beyond the front desk. The windmill blade hunt has been fierce lately so I figured I would try my luck at the recycling center and maybe by some off chance...I might actually find one. I didn't find any windmills (recognizable ones anyways) but I did have an adventure that I figured you guys would enjoy hearing about (also I heard talking about it helps speed up the recovery process).
Lawd have mercy...do they have rusty metal!
So here's the truth about how this ordeal works, some of which was truly mind blowing...
You show up with closed toe shoes and a hard hat (both are required) during their hours of operation (no appointment, no specific time frame...anything goes around here). Safety glasses are not required, however I wish I had mine with me because there was a lot of dirt flying in my eyes, so when/if I go again I will be taking mine. I always take gloves on adventures like these, so that's a given.
When you get there...you walk into their scrap yard and you're on your own. That is NO exaggeration. No tour guide (who would've thunk it right??), no guidance and no assistance whatsoever...you are lucky if someone points in the general direction for you to head, so it was a little uncomfortable at first (well the whole time really). Wait...let me take that back...one of the crane operators "cat called" me if that counts as "assistance". While I was repulsed by his behavior...I was also somewhat relieved as I felt reassured that meant someone would know I was out there, in case I didn't make it out alive so they might be able to recover my body before the varmints found me. I was certainly out of my element the entire trip, but I think it's good to stretch yourself and spend some time outside of your comfort zone.
Ok now, hold onto your seat for this...you don't even sign a waiver releasing liability!!! Literally this was probably the most dangerous environment I've ever been in my whole life and ain't nobody (except you) worried about potential hazards out there. That's not all...there is no check in system of any sort, no need to show an ID to anyone, nada! What?!?!?! I cannot make this stuff up...you could literally be buried alive out there in a scrap metal avalanche and no one would even know you were out there!!! They could lock up and leave at 5 pm, head down the road for happy hour and you could be out there dead somewhere. I cannot fathom how long it would take them to find your body when they did finally figure it out. I was raised to hold my own and protect myself and very few times in my life have I felt legitimately scared or nervous about my safety. Well today was one of them! That doesn't mean I won't do it again lol, I'm just trying to fully prepare you for the experience if you decide to check it out firsthand. I mean come on...did you see all of this awesome junk??
When you enter the yard...you feel completely lost, overwhelmed and not sure where to even begin. The whole time I was there (about 2 hours) it felt like I was somewhere I wasn't allowed to be, so that feeling never fully went away, but I guess that's a contributing factor to the adrenaline rush you will be having. I kept waiting on someone to enforce safety guidelines of some sort but nope! There are several enormous crane bulldozer thingys (this city girl hasn't studied heavy machinery terminology yet) moving scrap piles from one stack to another with some big magnet thing just feet away from your head! It's literally up to you to make sure to dodge these things and that you don't wind up being taken out by a released load of metal as it slides down the mountain of rust. They aren't distanced from you in any way...they are surrounding you. It's certainly not for the faint at heart or anyone not physically fit (ish), but it is an adventure if you're up for it.
Aside from running like I was in a marathon every time a crane turned and headed in my direction, I also had the opportunity to run from multiple metal hoses that appeared to be snakes at a quick glance. I was shocked that I never actually saw a snake, but I guarantee you they are out there, so be careful. I'm pretty sure I'd take a crane to the head over a snake encounter, but I would need to sleep on that one.
I didn't do much actual climbing or digging as I honestly felt it could be life threatening at any given moment. This stuff isn't strategically placed in piles...it's moving and shifting every few minutes so I treated it as an active volcano at all times. After a little while, I started to figure out that these random piles of metal did actually have some logic behind them and certain types of metal were intentionally grouped together. This helped me speed up the process because a good portion of these metals are entirely too heavy for any purpose I would personally have for them, so I was able to skip over those and stick with the lighter weight metals that I could actually bend back into shape and could re-purpose for home decor use. I did find this large cool piece that I loved...
but as it turns out...it was an airplane lol...
I'm fairly certain the most intelligent approach to this experience, is to bring a chair and umbrella (maybe nose plugs too) and sit out and wait for people to come dump their fresh load of scraps they just sold to the facility, so you can just pick up what you want before it is crushed and buried, well if you have all day to kill that is. It wasn't easy finding pieces that were actually useful to me since I wasn't willing to physically dive in or do much climbing, but after all the trouble I went through, I was committed to not going home empty handed even if it meant I left with one piece and turned it into something for personal use as a keepsake. After finding the right piles for my needs, I was pretty happy with what I ended up finding...
If I found these items that were fairly visible and easy (ish) for me to get to without taking too many risks, then I can only imagine how many other amazing things are out there that will be surfacing as the piles are moved and items are uncovered! Overall the field trip was interesting, cardio enhancing, potentially life threatening and highly dangerous, so obviously I'm going to go again one day ;) If you decide to go yourself, be sure to tell me about your adventure in the comments below!
How much did I pay for my high risk treasures today? $6.50, 2 hours of time and about a gallon of sweat (some of that could have been tears...I'm not certain). That's quite the bargain, but now with a little experience behind me I should be able to reduce the sweat equity some on my next visit.
When I'm going on a junkin trip, I have a list of "must haves" that I make sure I take along with me. I don't take any extras I don't need because I don't want the added weight, so if they are on my list, they are what I consider to be necessities (at least for me). This is my full list but if I'm doing a local trip to a smaller facility, I usually don't take my cart, bungees, etc so you can tailor this list to fit your trip plans.
Preparing for the trip...
*Clean out the car so you have plenty of room for everything you are going to buy (kid's backpacks, sports chairs, ice chests...you know all of the random crap we tend to lug around daily). This may seem insignificant, but for me...twice it's been the difference between me fitting everything in my car or having to call for backup (my husband or my daughter's boyfriend to come with a truck and bail me out) neither of which time were they thrilled to "save me" from my own shopping experience.
*Pack/load your list of items (list info below) - I do this often enough it's simply more efficient for me to have all of these items always packed and ready to go so I really never spend more than 5 minutes preparing for my outing because I can just grab it and go.
*Get cash at an ATM (I usually do it the night before because I'm not an early riser). Sometimes there will be an ATM located where you are going but it's not typically right where you need it to be when you run out of cash and you will waste a good amount of time back tracking and hunting one down, so it's better to have more than enough cash on hand.
*Switch purses - It is a pain to carry a large purse packed with items you don't need for this specific adventure to tote around all day. I would not risk leaving my daily purse in my car while I was junkin in the event of theft, so I leave it at home and take a light weight crossbody purse and only put my essentials in it (detailed list below).
*Oh yea...and get gas before you head out or you will be walking to a gas station like Julie and I did on the way to Waco LOL my bad!
What to wear (I basically wear the same type of outfit that I wear when working in the yard or gardening)...
*Sports bra - If you wear a regular bra you will be miserable and feel gross in this Texas heat. I don't need to elaborate, you know exactly what I mean.
*Cotton tank top - (I'm assuming the weather is hot...which it most likely is in the Houston region). I personally cannot stand sleeves when I'm melting and need every bit of breeze I can get on long junkin days. I'm picky about the material as well...I only want a cotton blend because I want to be as comfortable as I can be. I suggest more form fitting tops and nothing too loose or flowy that can easily get hung up on sharp edges/metal/etc.
*Cotton shorts - Mama Bear wears jeans...nope not this girl, I can't do jeans in his heat. Wear whatever you are comfortable in!
*Socks and tennis shoes - DO NOT wear flip flops or any other type of sandals. You never know what you will be climbing on or walking through on your junkin adventure nor do you know if you will be on loose gravel, unlevel ground, etc. Be prepared. You will either risk injury or miss out on good stuff because you weren't prepared to walk through the trenches of junk piles.
*Hat or visor - This may not apply to everyone, but I'll have a lobster red forehead the rest of the week if I don't cover it. It also helps keep the sun out of my eyes and hair out of my face so I can see better in the direct sun.
What to pack in your crossbody...
*Rubberband (if your hair is long enough) - There's simply nothing more annoying than your rubberband breaking and you not having access to a way to put your hair up while you're junkin.
*ID, debit card, cash, phone and I usually bring sunscreen lip balm so I can reapply a few times.
*Pen and a mini spiral (the super small kind) - You will need this to keep a list of everything you bought and how much you paid for it (if you are junkin for business purposes). If you only buy a few items, you may remember what you paid for every single item at the end of the day, but if you shop like I do...it's just too much to try and memorize. About half of the junkin places I go will issue a receipt...the other half won't, so I use my spiral list for tax purposes as well. If you are hunting for specific items, use a page in the spiral to write your list so you don't forget what all you are on the hunt for when you become overwhelmed with all of the "stuff". If there are any specific dim requirements, be sure to note that as well and bring a mini tape measure in your crossbody. Yes, you can use the notepad on your phone of course, but after my phone died (even when I start with a full charge) a few times on my trips, I decided to go old school and not rely on it and save the battery charge for pics.
*Ziplock baggie with baby wipes (or a travel pack) - Your hands will be unbelievable dirty as you rummage through junk and you will want wipes to clean them before you eat or drink anything. They are also a nice refresher when I'm feeling icky.
*Travel size deodorant - I usually apply mine several times while I'm out junkin. I don't like feeling yucky all day if you can't tell, so if that doesn't bother you like it does me...you can probably pack a little lighter than I do, but I simply cannot/will not go junkin without deodorant and wipes.
What to pack in general...
*Your own shopping bags - This is probably the most important item on the entire list...don't forget your bags! You may get lucky and have a seller have bags for you, but most likely they are plastic grocery sacks that are already worn and will tear easily and aren't good to hold anything with sharp edges or heavier items. I usually carry one tote bag and have several other bags folded up inside of it.
*Rolling cart and bungees - I only take these on all day or longer trips. If I'm going somewhere that I can park close to where I'm buying, I don't need these and can just carry my items out. I've used a few different carts but this one has been the most user friendly and is my favorite. It also collapses for easy storage. I purchased it at Academy.
*Work gloves - These come in handy if you are digging through piles of wood, old metal pieces, etc. It never fails if I don't bring them...I end up with a splinter killing me the rest of the day. Better safe than sorry on this one! This is a tetanus shot waiting to happen...
*Sunscreen and/or bug spray - Again...I'm assuming you are junkin in Southern Texas where we apply bug spray daily like we do deodorant. I apply these in the parking lot when I get there and leave them in the car when I'm done so I don't have to carry them around with me all day.
While you are junkin tips...
*If you purchase large items you have to go back and pick up on your way out, take their business card and write on the back of it what items you are coming back for or take a pic of the items you are coming back for as well as the booth so you can find it again. It never hurts to get the dealers phone # in the event you can't find it.
*If using a cart, bring bungees and use them to help secure your load to the cart when it starts to exceed the cart wall height (which won't take long).
What to look for and where to look...
I have a short list of things I'm always looking for of course like these items but everyone has a different objective and is on the hunt for something different.
Look everywhere...high, low, underneath and behind everything. This is a pretty time consuming process, but it's how you find the good stuff. The best finds are never sitting out where you can easily see them. If they were, the person before you would have purchased them. If you want to find the best junk...you must be willing to get your hands dirty and do some digging. Here's a pic from a local junk trip I made this week. What do you see worth purchasing?
After digging through this entire side of junk, I only purchased one item from this area. It wasn't anything that could even be seen in this picture. In fact, it wasn't visible even if you were walking around this side looking. When I started moving doors and looking behind things, I found this great piece! Score!
When most people are browsing junk stores, they are usually looking at eye level and everything below that. Don't forget to look UP! There's a lot of great stuff up there, that most people walk right by because there is so much to look at.
This next tip is useful not only for junkin, but is even something I tell customers in the store at Legacy to do. Anytime there is an overwhelming amount of product to browse, you will always see the most by walking the store thoroughly one direction and then when you have completed your round, start at the end and walk it the opposite direction all the way back through again. By doing this, you will see many items you completely missed on the first round, simply because you are coming from a different angle and you will see different sides of items that you didn't see before.
The best part about junkin is coming home with the unexpected finds you weren't looking for but knew they had potential when you saw them. In fact, if you go only looking for specific items, your trip won't be much fun because it'll be frustrating hunting for hours upon end to find very specific items due to it being such a gamble that you'll find something on your list. Most of the items I buy are not turnkey pieces but they have good bones and inspire me to turn them into something more than what they are in their present condition. You just never know what you're going to find! A few questions I ask myself when deciding to buy something...
1. Is it awesome and unique?
2. Does it inspire me to turn it into something? Do I have a vision for it already?
3. If I end up not doing anything with it...will it be easy to resell and recover my investment?
Here are some things I picked up recently that weren't "on my list" per say, but exciting and inspiring pieces nonetheless!
When you get home...
I had to learn this one the hard way, but do yourself a favor and take it from me...DO NOT bring your junk into your home to clean it. Clean it outside, clean it in the garage...I don't care where you clean it as long as it isn't inside your home. You have NO idea what you are going to find hiding inside your junk finds. In this case, we found a Momma Black Widow with lots and lots of babies hiding in a corner. It was a tragic evening that resulted in me putting a brand new hot pink $200 vacuum cleaner curbside for the trash man and nightmares about what I had brought into my house for months. Don't even go there...clean it outside. #momfail
So how do you know if you're hitting the "good" junkin spots...the ones that aren't heavily shopped by everyone else?? After hundreds of junkin outings over the last few years, I've found the deciding factor that has consistently proven to be true. Are there stray cats running around in the piles of junk? Yes, you read that right. Any stray cats jumping out (nearly giving you a heart attack) because you are digging through their "home"? If not...you haven't quite made it to the "big time" yet but no worries, you are well on your way! If that doesn't make sense to you yet or you haven't had a similar experience, then don't worry, it's only a matter of time. When it does happen...you will find peace in knowing that you have finally found the heart of good junk in your area.
Another way to determine your junkin success level is to look at your car when you're done. If it looks like this on a regular basis...you've achieved Master Junkin status (a term I prefer over the word "hoarding") ;)
Last but not least...
When possible...take a skinny friend or junior high/high school aged kid with you! Yes, I am "for real". Who else can squeeze down these insanely narrow paths to scope out the awesome junk that the other 98% of the population couldn't physically access? Certainly not me! Find a 2% friend and let them tag along, you will be glad you did when they can reach the stuff no one else could that week!
Plus there's something in it for them! Little people will literally be MIND BLOWN by all of the "cool stuff" these places have...like rotary phones! They will even think you are super smart when you have to show them how to operate one ;)