If you can’t wait for a garage or yard sale, how do you find good stuff at a cheap price?
The secret: patience, apps and looking beyond the big box stores.
When NEWS10 ABC anchor Tim Lake moved back to Upstate New York last year, he set about finding his go-to places to find good merchandise for low prices. One of them is a man whose specialty is recycling.
He’s known as The Scrapster.
“I mainly cater to clean out scenarios, junk scenarios – both residential and commercial,” Vince Coppola, of Watervliet, said. “We just try to make it affordable for people.”
With good, used merchandise organized in “like” categories, it’s a big box store for the second-hander without the big box price.
“Typically, you’re going to pay half price or less,” Coppola explained. “It all depends on the item.”
It’s vintage, modern new; even the kitchen sink. Household. Lawn and garden. Tools. Furniture. Three buildings packed to the ceiling.
Re-sellers like The Scrapster spend time listing on the computer. When asked to find decorative art for a Troy loft, he had it.
“Ok, you think retail this is $600? What would you sell this for?” Tim asked.
“Probably, $300-$400,” Coppola said.
The next place to look for good deals on used pieces is estate sales. Hook up with a smartphone app, and you’re guaranteed to know what’s inside before they open the door.
Debbie Bango, of Oakwood Antiques, moved from antiques to estates because they’re red hot.
“You get a discounted price,” she said. “It’s better than going to a retail store and paying full retail and the quality of the merchandise is a lot better.”
With estate sales, you get to paw through someone else’s house, including the kitchen, bedroom, closets, basement and garage.
The app EstateSales.net showed a vintage Singer sewing machine at the estate sale. A quilter wanted to grab it.
“I really came for the little sewing machine,” Erica Berger, of Niskayuna, said. “I knew nothing about it. It was a Featherweight.”
Valued between $300 and $350, both Berger and Tim missed it. It was out the door at $125.
“You know, you can just buy a lot of quality stuff,” Sally Vanderzee, of Clifton Park, said.
While The Scrapster and estate sales are for-profits, you can also find good stuff at the non-profits.
Looking to find a desk, chair and refrigerator for a college kid moving out of the dorm? For a student budget, Tim’s go-to place is the Albany Habitat for Humanity Re-Store on Fuller Road. It houses all kinds of furniture, including cabinets, china, lamps and lightbulbs.
“Typically, we price our items anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of what you would find in a retail setting,” Re-Store Manager Richard Hochheimer said.
The Re-Store goes through items very fast, so if you have time to keep checking in day after day, you can find good deals.
And what if you’re looking for vintage materials, tools and hardware for an old Albany house? A 1920s car dealership on Lexington Avenue in Albany in the Architectural Parts Warehouse for Historic Albany Foundation is the place.
Doors, windows and woodwork are piled haphazardly around the old school, high quality hardware. You have to hunt for it.
“You will definitely save some money over buying new, and also generally speaking, it’s higher quality than what you get at the Home Depot for new items,” Erin Hunt, of the Historic Albany Foundation, said.
Want another secret?
You can receive texts or emails about estate sales that list all the sales with pictures of the main items. It’s a perfect way to find out which ones you want to hit and which ones to skip.
It also takes patience to find the best stuff at the best price.