- Shop at second-hand retailers and salvage yards, and shop often. Like a thrift shop or a discount clothing store, salvage stores get new stuff in all the time, and it’s likely to be completely different from the items you saw there last time. To get the best deals, visit your favorite spots regularly.
- Ask for what you want. Describe what you’re looking for to salvagers and shopkeepers, who can keep an eye out for similar pieces when they’re collecting inventory for their stores.
- Start your search online, but buy in person. Like any building material, a photo of a salvaged item might differ slightly from the physical piece in quality, texture or color. And unless you find a one-of-a-kind heirloom piece that you can’t get anywhere else, avoid buying from out-of-town vendors. There’s no sense paying to have a second-hand toilet shipped to you when you can pick one up from a salvage yard a few miles from home.
- Scour classifieds and auctions—in newspapers, in person and on Web sites like craigslist. And don’t settle only for what others have posted; post your own ad so readers will know what you’d like to buy.
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