Secondhand Lighting & The Garage Sale on Steroids

I’ve declared 2011 as The Year of the Secondhand Lighting. Why? Because we have acquired five secondhand lighting fixtures within the past 4 months. If you’re feeling like one of my argumentative students, you might take this opportunity to point out that it should, therefore, actually be “The 4 Months of the Secondhand Lighting”…but that just doesn’t have a ring to it. Plus, I don’t like argumentative students. This lack of ring is probably the same reason why the star-nosed mole didn’t make it into the Chinese New Year rotations. Year of the Rabbit…Year of the Dragon…Year of the Star-Nosed Mole? Not so much. (I wouldn't recommend googling said critter, by the way, unless you like creepy deformed things.)

Anyway, of the five ridiculously cheap new-to-us light sources that we’ve acquired, you may know of one of them: this lamp.

Of the remaining four, three were picked up this past Friday at the Garage Sale on Steroids. Seriously, it’s in a 14,000 square foot building. It’s like a giant thrift store minus the outrageous prices and the weird smell. (You know the scent I’m referring to, the one Yankee Candle won’t be snatching up anytime soon?) Here’s a picture I found online from last year:

No joke; it’s an annual event benefiting the local Ronald McDonald House and it is massive. We went last year, houseless and clueless, and were totally overwhelmed. I exercised restraint this year, however, and shopped with purpose (as opposed to shopping with no discernable plan or path, which Rick frequently accuses me of as he attempts to follow me around the mall), leaving only with the aforementioned lights and two small ceramic planters for some succulents I picked up this summer. The last thing we need around here is to encourage my hoarding of useless items that “Have So Much Potential."
So at this Garage Sale on Steroids, we got this chandelier for our upstairs foyer. Gingerbread was too excited about it to pose nicely.

We also got this never-been used ceiling lantern, possibly for our downstairs foyer.

I decided that this super retro tension pole lamp had the potential to be cool, and for only $4, it wouldn’t hurt too much if I was wrong.

This pair of sconces was only $3 at a regular old non-beefy yard sale this summer. I’m thinking future master bathroom.

They all need a coat of spray paint to make them my style, but the fact that it is so easy and cheap to change these things is exactly why I love shopping for second-hand stuff so much. We only spent $38 on all of them.
Oh, and then there was this Goodwill lamp, the sight of which made me immediately regret not bringing my camera along like a weirdo. If you can’t tell from the bad cell phone picture that I had to settle for, I’m standing next to a my-size floor lamp complete with sculpted dolphins, coral and a mermaid fin bottom.

I’m not sure that even spray paint could save that aquatic beast.

So it’s the Year of the Secondhand Lighting for us…what is it for you? The Year of the Pillows? The Year of the Painted Furniture? The Year of the Ocean Lamp on Steroids?


  1. For us, this is the year of unfinished projects. Ugh.
    I love all of your finds. You can't find lighting with that kind of character now...and those prices! A gift. That's all I've gotta say.
    Hurry and get them up!!

  2. WOW!! Those lights are amazing. I can't wait to see what you do with them. And you should probably let us know when the garage sale on steroids is happening next year so we can come!

  3. Good finds!! I'm impressed. I really like your maybe future bathroom sconces.

    I was just discussing the fabulous smell of thrift stores with my family this week-end. I'm not above buying thrift clothes...it's just really hard to get that smell out!!

    I think this year is the year of moldings....which Nate is loving.

  4. You totally scored!!! I have literally spent the morning on websites scouring for lighting for our new home. I was feeling very uninspired but I have to say that every single one of your scores would work beautifully:) I think maybe I'm not into the perfectly finished finishes and I need to go thrift store shopping today. Can't wait to see what you do with these beauties.

  5. AH! So jealous. Lighting (new) is expensive and you totally scored! Our year, you ask? The year of the baby toys taking over my house. You asked...

  6. Anonymous10/19/2011

    This would be the year big dreams and small budgets for us. There are so many projects we want to tackle, but we can't just yet.

    Great finds on the lamps!

  7. Oooooh! The indoor yard sale looks like so much FUN! Good scores, but I have to say that our last house came with one of those pole lamp thingys. It went straight into the dumpster along with the wall to wall carpeting the first night we moved in. I'm DYING to see what you do with it. You're going to make me regret throwing it out, aren't you?

  8. Awesome scores! You should have bought a lottery ticket that day to carry on with all the luckiness! Also, you don't have your comments turned on for the Jack post today... I am sad about this. I LOVE the shining and needed to tell you. :)

  9. I saw your guest post on Strictly Simple Style and took a look at your blog. I love that retro tension pole you got from the gigantic yard sale! That sale looks like so much fun!

  10. Great finds and WHY isn't that massive yard sale near me?! I LOOOOOOVE the sconces you chose for your master bedroom!! LOVE them!


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