Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mid Century Modern Thrifting Tips: Be a Mod Swag Pimp

Funny Story...
I scored amazing mid century modern swag at a yard sale. Becca, the sale's host, surprised me with a comment wishing me luck selling her wares. It turns out she's a blog reader and a neighbor. Her blog The Vintage South reflects an enviable mod collection. I had to steal her Secret Ninja Mid Century Modern Hunting Skills! I'll let Becca take over from here!

How do I find all my Mid Century Modern décor? (or “awesomeness” as I like to think of it)….basically I hunt for it. Like most, my hunting grounds consist of local auctions, thrift stores, estate sales, craigslist, and eBay. Here are some tips to make the most out of each venue:

Local Auctions
– I love a good auction! They're fun, and great for people watching while scoring deals. You can visit to find auctions near you. This site allows you to easily search by distance and view the details as well as pictures online.

TIP – Bring cash with you. Usually a discount is given on the buyer’s premium (most auctions charge a buyer’s premium, normally around 13%, on top of the auction price) if paying in cash, plus it is a great way to stay within that pesky budget! Also stay late; some of the best deals are at the end of the night after the crowd starts to thin out.

Thrift Stores
– Great scores can be found anytime, but I do have a few sweet spot times that I like to go to the thrifts. If you can’t make estate sales, maybe due to an 8-5 work schedule, try thrifting on lunch. My favorite days to go are Thursdays and Fridays; go early while all the dealers are scouring the estate sales.

TIP – Don’t forget to look on the highest and lowest shelves or behind things. That is usually where I find some of the nicest stuff that has been over looked by everyone else. Also chat with the cashiers, sometimes they can tell you when and how often the shelves are restocked.

Estate Sales
– If there is a particular item you want…go early and wait in line…especially if it is something popular (and Mid Century is so hot right now). I have shown up at an estate sale three hours prior to opening and been third in line. So while you might think it is little crazy to show up so early, there are other people that will. It all comes down to how bad you want it.

TIP- Don’t be afraid to call the company running the show to ask questions. The worst thing they can tell you is that they don’t give out that information. I have even asked for (and been given) information about where a particular item was in a house as I walk in the front door.

– I find the best way to tackle Craigslist is with a smart phone. Almost all smart phones now have an app which will search craigslist for you based on your criteria; and some even search multiple cities. I personally use CraigsNotifica which is made for the Android. Now if you don’t have a smart phone there is a site called which allows you to search multiple regions as well.

TIP - If you see something you like at a reasonable price and fear competition, shoot off a quick email to the seller and offer more than the asking price. It doesn’t have to be WAY more but sometimes that makes you stick out of the sea of emails.

– Everyone knows about eBay, but have you tried searching for misspellings or used general descriptions? I have seen Bertoia chairs go for song because they were only listed as wire chairs; and some Heywood Wakefield pieces listed as Haywood Wakefield.

TIP – If you see an item that you like and it doesn’t have any bids; try contacting the seller to see if they will change the listing to a BIN (Buy-it-now) price. I would give them a decent offer and see what happens, this can allow you to get something at a price you are comfortable with and not have to be disappointed if it sky-rockets in the last five minutes.

Hey, it's Van again! As a fellow mod collector and lover, I'll definitely incorporate Becca's tips so I can score more mid century modern treasures. I'm sure you'll find Beca's top secret mod hunting tips useful, too!

Where do you score the best mid century modern treasures?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.


  1. Great tips! One of these days I'm going to get to an auction. They seem like they'd be really fun. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Too bad yall ladies couldnt come to the Krrb auction, it was so fun! I def recommend getting yourselves to a live auction. The adrenaline is amazing!

  3. Beth and Jessica: I need to get to an auction, too. I can't wait to score deals and take in the energy!

  4. I don't generally hunt for them, they find me. I have great Sears Harmony House dresser and nightstands that I found at the Salvation Army on half off day. Along with a desk. They are in my garage for a spiff up and then I will sell them :-)
    Estate sales too but the best ones are usually 50+ miles from home....

  5. Ahh... auctions! One day I will get to one. Great finds and advice.

  6. Christine: I've always let the mod come to me, too. So it will be fun to actively hunt for them.

    Jenifir: Me too. When I finally check one out I'll thoroughly document the experience :)

  7. Auctions are definitely fun and most people are very friendly and a great way to network! I found a great mid century mod cork lamp at an estate sale on the last day towards the end of the sale. It looked pretty ugly so I guess that's why it was passed up.

  8. Unknown: I'm definitely trying to incorporate more auctions and estate sales into my hunting. I always make it on the last days of estate sales and rarely yield anything...

  9. GREAT tips! I agree on every point, and picked up a few I hadn't thought of!

  10. Lisa: She had a few I had not thought of, too :)

  11. great tips, fun interview and lovely photos and finds!

  12. I love to read your new posts in your blog. It always contains valuable information. You are putting the stuffs at right place. That is the main secret of your home looking attractive.

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