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Expert Offers Tips On Turning Yard Sale Trash Into Treasure

Bring Cash, Negotiate The Price, Go To Sales Late In Day, Says Expert
Refurbished chest. (credit: CBS 2)

Refurbished chest. (credit: CBS 2)

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GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — With all the spring cleaning going on, this is a hot time for yard sales.

On Wednesday, CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu spoke to an expert for some tips on deciphering what’s trash and what’s treasure.

Samantha Knapp is an interior designer and makes a living finding hidden treasures.

She found a pair of doors at a dump and turned them into a kitchen table.

Knapp purchased a chair for $35 at a tag sale, re-did it and it sold for nearly $3,000.

She said when it comes to furniture, flip it over, and look for vintage labels or springs — which can be a sign of quality. But she added it’s important to know your limits if it’s a big job.

“Sometimes, something looks very easy to fix but it ends up being very expensive,” Knapp of Tiger Lily’s Greenwich told CBS 2’s Hsu. “So that $5 treasure turns out to be $695 by the time the right people get their hands on it.”

She said it’s often easy to refurbish a chair by sanding it down, painting it, removing the seat and recovering it with new fabric.

She said she recently found an old steamer trunk shelf that was free after being left behind at a tag sale. Knapp covered the inside with fabric, glued that fabric onto cardboard and ended up with a fancy serving tray.

To get the best deals, Knapp advises bringing cash, negotiating the price, hitting the sale at the end of the day and making it easy for the seller.

“If you’ve got an SUV and you’re trying to haggle someone for a dresser and you can get it out of there like in 10, 15 minutes, that’s value right there,” she told Hsu.

Just one more example of a hidden treasure: Knapp bought two old chairs for $150. Her team stripped one of them down to the frame, redesigned it and it now has a price tag of more than $4,000.

If you do your treasure hunting online, Knapp advises when it comes to furniture, ask the seller to send you pictures from all sorts of angles and provide some history of the piece as well.

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