Finally I got to some garage sales a couple weeks back! Garage sales are really one of my most favorite things.  We used to pick up a lot of things at garage sales when we lived in town.  A lot of those things were unneeded, but they were all cheap and interesting!

I have bought a lot of children’s books for my future classroom, and a mess of milk glass vases, dessert plates, and lace tablecloths/curtains for our wedding at garage sales.

I have a couple of tips when garage/yard sailing.

Look for quality items

  • high thread count sheets, designer bags and clothes, solid wood furniture, and name brand appliances.
  • These types of items are well made and ought to last through a new owner’s use.  If you buy something that was cheaply manufactured (like a pressed wood bookcase or an backpack from Walmart) it probably won’t last long after you buy it. But instead, if you buy a solid wood shelf or Jansport bookbag, you can still get a lot of use out of it.

Don’t always pay what the sticker says

  • This one can be tricky! It’s not always comfortable to ask someone for a lower price.  You don’t have to lowball, but you can save a little money here and there asking “What’s the lowest you would take on this?” or “Can you do $__ on this item instead?”
  • I like to wait til the end when the seller is adding up the prices and then ask, “Would you take $__ for all of it?” Often times, sellers just want to get rid of the stuff and will take whatever you’ll pay.

Good luck! Buying something secondhand is always a gamble! Following these two tips should help you find good buys and not over pay.

Now onto this week’s project

Here is what I picked up at a garage sale that Tim and I have transformed.  It was $2 and very heavy — that’s how I knew it was made of solid wood.

Besides the table itself, this is what we used


You could also sand by hand! Tim used two different grit of sandpaper, starting off smoother and then using one that was more abrasive.  For similar projects we have used a good roll-on primer and then brushed or rolled on paint. This time we skipped primer and used a spray paint that was a paint + primer made for metal, plastic, or wood. The paint is Krylon COVERMAXX in Coral Isle.

Here are a couple before photos of the table.

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The basic steps of what we did are:

  1. Sand
  2. Disassemble
  3. Sand some more
  4. Paint
  5. Reassemble

We could have disassembled first, but this worked, too. There was a glossy finish to the stain used when it was first made, so we had to sand that off for the new paint to adhere.

my handsome husband working that sander.

We laid each level of our table out on some cardboard.  Some day we hope to have more of a ‘painting booth’, but for now we’re making due in the garage with whatever we’ve got.  It’s hard to get good pictures in there, especially at night, but once the kids are in bed is really the only time we have to do these sorts of things.  Tim hung the leg pieces with fishing wire from an overhead beam to paint each side at once.


Overall, the table got four coats of paint, which took two cans of spray paint. Tim is a master spray painter. I am his apprentice. Once Tim put it back together, we stood back to admire our (his) work.


It’s gorgeous, no? I’m hoping to put it in our newly renovated living room (whenever that might be). I think it will be the perfect home for my paisley shaped dish!

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Thank you very very much for tuning into Transformation Tuesday! To see more of our transformation projects, please click here!