Where to Find Cheap Materials to Reduce Costs on the Items You Make

At Vintage Renewal, we create eclectic bohemian style using both vintage and recycled materials.  As the Indie Furniture Designer for this boho loving company, it’s not so out-of-the ordinary to find myself faced with a strict budget to execute a snappy, interesting design.  So the hunt for cheap materials begins!

Is that really so terrible?  No, in fact, it’s almost awesome!  This absolutely forces me to use outside-the-box creativity when gathering materials in order to pull together something fabulous and reduce costs. 

Resources for finding interesting, cheap materials

I challenge you this.  What’s more interesting than the materials you use when pulling together a one-of-a-kind design?  Hunting the right cheap materials down for the job does take planning, confidence, a little bit of hoarding and the ability to see the big picture.  That’s all it takes!   Does that seem so hard?  I’d love to share with you some of my favorite resources for sourcing cheap materials when I am preparing for a design project.

Get emails directly from Craigslist for vintage scouting

Everybody knows that Craiglist is an amazing resource for scoring local things and finding cheap materials with great potential.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?  The question is, how do you stay on top of the constant stream of listings without spending your entire day online?  Did you know that you could set up a list alert to tap into your local Craigslist postings?  You heard me right; it’s an absolute dream for vintage stalkers like myself who are always on the lookout for cheap materials!  All you need to do is:

  1. go to: http://www.list-alert.com/
  2. fill out what you are looking for and select your city/state
  3. check whether you want only listing with pictures (my preference)
  4. type in your cost parameters
  5. click search! 
  6. You can go a bit further and save the search, along with creating an account. 

It’s that easy!  Here’s a screen shot of what you can expect to see on their site:

Cheap materials are easy to find with List Alert

I also love to browse through the free section on Craiglist.  You never know what you might find for a reduced cost.  It’s fun to let your discoveries inspire the direction of your project, when time isn’t of the essence.

If getting resources sent right to your inbox, like the one above, excites you I have many more treats for you. 

Sign up for those estate sales

Another great resource for scouring vintage and recycled materials are estate sales.  It might seem overwhelming to figure out how to keep track of them all, but it truly isn’t. EstateSales.org makes it super easy to search locally for what’s happening in your neck of the woods and score cheap materials that are unique and one-of-a-kind.

 Find cheap materials at EstateSales.org

  1. Log on to http://www.estatesales.org
  2. go to find estate sales and type in your city
  3. that’s it, you can literally find out what is happening that day!

Does a good garage sale float your boat instead?

Perhaps you are more of a garage sailor?  Yes, I do love a good one myself.  How can you do some research ahead of time and find out where garage sales are happening on your day off?  Simply log on to gslar.com and you're on your way to finding cheap materials locally.

Find garage sales with Gsalr

  1. log on to http://www.gslar.com
  2. type your city location in the find garage sales near, box
  3. an automatic screen will pop up prompting you to sign up for email updates in your city. 
  4. drool away at all the sales that are in a stone’s throw from your very own computer.
  5. This will search yard sales, estate sales and garage sales in your search field. 

Shopping local is always fun and good on the environmentbut when's the best time to go?

Don’t forget all of your local thrift stores for cheap materials to reduce your costs.  Most thrift stores have 50% off specials on Saturdays and Sundays.  If you want to search outside your neighborhood, then simply set up a saved search on ebay very easily too.

Ebay is still king for the unusual, get instant alerts when your favorite pieces become available.

Find cheap materials on eBay

  1. log on to http://www.ebay.com
  2. type your word in the search field
  3. when the listings come up click on “follow this search” and you will be prompted through signing in and creating a search that you will receive straight to your inbox.

If these different resources don’t get you on a dreamy hunt for creative treasures, I’m not sure what will.  Have fun, plan ahead, create your strategy and you will be on your way to finding cheap materials to reduce costs on the items you make for your Indiemade shop.   Happy Hunting!

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