Monday, February 18, 2013

Get the Look for Less: Smart Shopping

Drop cloths for cushion covers? Why not?   

I’m not fond of shopping for the sake of shopping. I love to score a deal, but I don’t like to spend time and energy browsing. So, these are my favorite haunts for scoring quick deals.  

Paint Stores

I always tell people to buy paint at the paint store, not a big box outlet or little hardware store. And I have good reasons.

First, the people at paint stores are trained by the paint company. They know paint. 

They know the painting supplies that solve problems and make painting projects go easier. They can answer your questions, and ask you the right questions to make recommendations. They’re less likely to make a mistake with mixing and labeling your paint.

They are the Paint People! Why mess around with minimum wage trainees elsewhere? Paint store staff will have you in and out with everything you need, at the best prices. Buying cheap paint is counterproductive, even when you are selling your home.

Secondly, besides the obvious -- paint, brushes, masking tape, and other supplies --you can also buy dropcloths at the paint stores. Dropcloths are the cheapest source for wide fabric suitable for slipcovers and draperies. I recently covered seat and back cushions for two large wicker chairs (see above photo) and a matching love seat for $27 worth of fabric from Sherwin Williams. 

Paint stores are also my favorite source for discontinued, free, wallpaper sample books. You can use these for all kinds of craft projects like drawer liners, framed art, trays, book covers, and DIY vases

Dollar Stores

I’ve switched my shopping habits over to the dollar store for cleaning supplies and paper goods. And you can’t beat their prices for glassware, dishware, and placemats for staging your dining room table.

You can also leave with cheap candles (although I don’t like to burn these cheaper candles because they will put soot in the air), ribbon, shower curtains, light bulbs, curtain rods, picture frames, miniblinds, faux greenery, closet and pantry organizing supplies, pillows and other bedding, coat hangers, vases, mirrors, and even discounted hardcover coffee table books.  

If you have doubts about the value of these discount chains for crafting supplies and even home staging ideas, check out these posts about a $6 linen closet makeover, and other decor ideas  at a site called Dollar Store Crafts

Craft Stores

I’m lumping Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Joann, Hancock Fabrics, A.C. Moore, and any local fabric store into this category. Usually, these stores are staffed with dedicated crafters, florists, and seamstresses who are happy and qualified to assist you. They know the right kind of glue, the correct amount of yardage, and the perfect combination of silk flowers.

Most of these chains have discount programs. I never go to Michael’s without a coupon! Always ask, “Is there a coupon that’s good for today?”  or “Is there any discount available today?”  Often the cashier will scan a register coupon even if you don’t have one in your sweaty little palm.  Or it might be the day of the week that military, or anyone over 50, gets 10% discount. But you don’t get it if you don’t ask.

Craft stores are ideal for inspiration and ideas you can knock off, whether it’s a centerpiece, a lampshade, a wreath, a color scheme, window treatments, pillows, or floral arrangements. Soak up what the pros are doing and put your personal spin on it.

   Often all it takes to transform an ordinary room into a beautiful one is a floral arrangement 
  or silk greenery. Good quality faux plants are investment pieces that will look super for years.
Other Budget-Friendly Sources

All of us thrifty home stagers love second hand shops, thrift stores, garage sales, auctions, and even dumpsters for steals. Don’t forget friends and relatives who want to get rid of excess furniture, as well as your own attic, basement, garage, or backyard for things that can up-cycled as part of your staging.

And of course, there’s Craigslist, eBay, and other online sources. But today I’m focusing on fast shopping that delivers what you need without a lot of searching, negotiating, waiting, or repairing.  

Knowing where to shop for home staging essentials stretches your budget and helps you manage your time better. Use this list, and build on it by adding the best quick and cheap shopping sties in your own area.

To get more tips on staging your own home to sell it, download my $5 eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar. It’s a 150-page illustrated pdf that will save you money when you stage, and make money when you sell! I guarantee you’ll be pleased or I will give you your money back.  

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