1. Facebook Marketplace
Convenient and quick, Facebook Marketplace is my go to location for finding used furniture for refurbishing. I love that I can save pieces that are listed higher than I am willing to pay and then watch them for price reductions. I also take full advantage of the "saved searches" feature, tracking the pieces I look to purchase most often so I am notified when a new piece comes available. On an average day I probably check FB Marketplace 5+ times for new listings.
With the growing popularity of FB Marketplace, Kijiji is not as popular as it once was but it is still a great place to hunt vintage furniture. Remember, not everyone has a Facebook account and much of the older generation currently looking to downsize is more likely to list online using a free site that doesn't require a social media account.
Craigslist is not a crazy popular sale site in my area but it is my go to when I visit my in-laws on the West Coast, this one is hit or miss depending on it's popularity in your local area but it is definitely worth checking out.
4. Town Post
I was recently introduced to Town Post which offers free online classifieds on items for sale by owner in various small towns across Western Canada. If you're willing to travel a bit for a great piece of furniture than Town Post is an excellent hunting ground with not a lot of competition from other buyers.
5. Garage Sales
When it comes to buying furniture at garage sales the old saying "the early bird gets the worm" is almost always true. The well priced pieces disappear FAST. A lot of sellers post their larger pieces online to advertise their sale and then they are scooped up first thing in the morning. The best plan with garage sales is to find your destinations the night before and get to as many of the sales as you can about 20 minutes before the advertised start time.
6. Estate Sales
Estate sales normally take place when a person or a family is selling off virtually everything in their home, perhaps because of a death in the family, bankruptcy, radical downsizing, or even a cross-country move. Many estate sales are advertised in the same places as used furniture such as Kijiji and Craigslist, you'll have to hunt them out on a regular basis to find any you may be interested in attending. Estate companies may run their estate sales online, in person or even out of a storefront. When you visit a professionally-run estate sale, ask to get on the company's e-mail list. Most send out regular notifications of their upcoming sales. In general, professionally managed estate sales will not haggle their prices so if you enjoy paying bargain-basement prices, then hit the sales on the last day, when prices typically are slashed.
With everything I have going on any given day I couldn't be bothered to put it in the legwork hunting down weekly estate sales but I have subscribed to sellmystuffcanada.com - Sell My Stuff will email me notification of any online estate and content sales they are running local to me and all purchasing is done online.
Auctions can be held in different locations including auction houses, hotel and conference centers or even online. It is not uncommon for estate auctions to be held on site at the estate location. Before the auction, where possible, prepare by familiarizing yourself with the auction inventory and doing any research you can on the pieces you're interested in purchasing - view any photos listed carefully as auction items are sold as is. Local to me, my favourite online auctioneer is Kastner Auctions - they do Facebook live tours and they have a wonderful online setup and tons of inventory.
8. Second Hand & Consignment Stores
Second hand and consignment stores vary a lot from one city to another as many of them are run by local charities or are owned and operated by small business owners. Pricing and donation quality can vary a great deal from location to location as well so it's in your best interest to check out all the stores in your area on a few different occasions, in different seasons, to get a feel for which locations you like best. It doesn't hurt to be friendly and ask the staff questions about the items you're interested in purchasing. Ask them how long they've worked at the store, inquire as to what times of the year they see the biggest influxes of furniture. Maybe they only put new items out on the floor on certain days of the week?
These are some of my favourite second hand stores local to me in Edmonton, AB:
Goodwill Thrift Centers
MCC Thrift Shops
Mission Thrift Stores
Bissell Thrift Shops
* In my area the Goodwill Thrift Centers only sell small furniture - the larger pieces go to a secondary location called the "Goodwill Impact Centre Outlet Store" so if you're not having luck finding furniture at your local Goodwill try asking about a secondary location for larger donated items.
** I'd like to give a special mention to "FIND Edmonton" a charity run thrift shop local to my city. FIND Edmonton follows strict protocols about what donations they accept, including screening for contamination from pets. They also thoroughly inspect, clean and sanitize all donations, including professionally steam cleaning soft furniture items, prior to putting them out on the sales floor. FIND has also arranged a partnership with Orkin and has them come by a few times a month with bed bug sniffing dogs to ensure their facilities stay clean of any unwanted pests. You can learn more about the amazing work this local charity does by visiting their homepage - Find Edmonton.
9. Habitat for Humanity ReStores
The Habitat for Humanity ReStores are real gems for bargain shoppers. Not only do they sell used furniture but they also have buckets of different types of hardware for replacing missing parts. There are used tools, old cabinetry and gently used building materials that can be great for setting up and/or organizing your shop space and best of all they sell lots of cute little vintage décor items that look great for staging your furniture for sale.
Never underestimate the power of networking. Be friendly and courteous in all your business transactions. Be open to chatting about your love of flipping furniture - consider using your logo as your social media photo or sign your Facebook Marketplace messages with a "signature" that includes your business name. Letting the seller know you're a flipper will help them to see you as a serious buyer, they may be willing to bump you to the front of a queue because they know you won't no show on your meeting. It is not uncommon for a seller to approach me about "other" pieces they are looking to get rid of once they learn what I do and this can be a great opportunity to negotiate a package discount. Sometimes you'll come across a professional seller, such as someone who aids in the off loading of estate sale pieces - these individuals may want to keep in contact for future purchases as well.
Friends & family are wonderful resources for finding furniture to refurnish - not only are many of them willing to give you pieces at no cost to avoid dealing with posting them for sale online but often they will come across great pieces for free (or really cheap) and share them with you. I have picked up many, many pieces from Marketplace that were sent my way that otherwise I would have missed out on!
DISCLAIMER: This is not sponsored content. This is a personal review and the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed herein are strictly my own. I did not receive financial compensation from any of the companies mentioned in this post.