Turning trash into treasure, one piece at a time

Flea Market Find: Chest of Drawers


After selling the last chest of drawers that I redid (click here to see it), I started searching high and low for another one. I was very specific with what I was looking for. The finish and condition didn’t matter but it had to be solid wood, have 5 drawers, no carvings/details and be cheap. It’s harder than you’d think!

I have been posting “want” ads in my local Facebook groups (stalking the groups around the clock) and checked Craigslist at least 5 times a day. I just kept coming up empty handed. So, when I heard about an annual community yard sale that was going on this weekend, I knew I had to go.

If you frequent yard sales, you already know that you have to get there very early to get first dibs on the goods. I was on a mission to find this elusive chest – though I wasn’t getting my hopes up. I had my fingers crossed though, that I wasn’t getting up at 7am on a saturday morning for no reason.

We arrived at 8am and starting browsing. Being on a mission meant I wasn’t going to allow myself to get sidetracked. If I didn’t see furniture from my car, I didn’t stop. I just kept driving, peeking from my car window. We must have driven passed 30 different sales (though there were hundreds of them).

Finally, hubby goes “let’s just stop and look”. I agreed but didn’t expect to find anything. I mean, this woman’s sale was being held in her back yard – which was fenced in with a privacy fence. We couldn’t even see if she had a single piece of furniture. What if we were wasting time while that single piece I wanted was being sold to someone else?

As we approached her back yard, my suspicions were confirmed. The only piece of furniture was a couch. Certainly not a chest of drawers. Definitely not the specific style I was seeking. I remember thinking (though not realizing I was thinking out loud), “shoot, I was hoping there would be a dresser”. As soon as those words slipped out of my mouth, the seller said “well, I have a chest of drawers in the garage”. I don’t know why I said dresser when what I was seeking was a very specific chest of drawers but somehow, she just knew. I replied with “YES, YES! That’s what I meant”!

As she headed toward her garage to open it, she informed me that it’s in excellent condition. My heart sank just a bit. Typically, excellent condition means a high price. I was waiting for her next statement to be “I’ll let it go for $125”. In a matter of seconds, I had all these potential situations spinning through my head. The garage door wasn’t even open yet!

Have you ever had one of those moments where everything just seemed to come together? This was one of those moments! As the garage door opened, I saw what I’ve been looking for. The piece i’d been coveting! It was solid wood, had 5 drawers and no details/carvings. “She HAS to be asking a pretty penny”, I thought. As I inquired about her asking price, I felt like time was standing still (yes, I take this stuff very seriously). Her next response changed everything. She said “$20”.

I honestly thought I hallucinated. She couldn’t have just said what I think she said. There’s no way! This chest is worth several hundred dollars! I was in such disbelief that I don’t think I moved or showed any kind of reaction. A little voice in my head finally said “yoohoo… you better reply or she’s going to think you’re a nutcase“.

“SOLD”, I said (turning to hubby), pay the nice lady.

The first house I stopped at – which had nothing visible from the street…and that’s where my hidden treasure was! What are the odds that I would find the exact piece I was looking for, and at such a low price?

I will say that I am a tad sad. It’s in such pristine condition that it pains me to paint it. I was initially looking for something that needed refinishing as I have an idea in mind that I’ve been harping on. It’s killing me to do anything to this piece – but what are the odds that i’ll find another one like it, for a low price?