SO, living in Manchester there is not exactly a wealth of affordable and quality vintage – If it ends up in a shop here, someone’s already put a bit of effort in to get it there, and you just don’t see great finds that are also a STEAL like you would in a big city goodwill. But, if you are in the know – there are THREE great events in the Manchester area every year that I consistently find AMAZING finds at great prices… And it just so happens one is coming up this weekend!
The Best Sales To Hit…
- The Israel Congregation of Manchester’s Annual Huge Tag Sale – In late June every year the Israel Congregation hosts their big sale and it is definitely a favorite for its beyond amazing modern & midcentury furniture steals and designer clothing. The first year I went like a rookie at 11 am and had to walk through a entire patio filled with gorgeous furniture and lighting at outrageously low prices AND IT ALL HAD SOLD STICKERS! Inside I managed to find a treasure trove of white designer dresses I later wore for all of our wedding events & honeymoon. Proceeds of this sale benefit the Israel Congregation of Manchester.
- The Riley Rink Barn Sale – Mid-September annually the Riley Rink hosts the Barn Sale, an indoor 2 day sale that consistently delivers awesome finds. I love this sale so much, it was happening the day of our wedding last year and I did seriously think about waking up early and hitting it with the bridesmaids, but alas there was no time! Luckily I got to get my fill this year, scoring some great home goods and a pair of designer booties for a mere $8. Proceeds of this sale benefit United Counseling Services and is staffed by local residents who volunteer their time.
- The Dorset Church Rummage Sale – Possibly my favorite sale (Also my favorite church, we got married here) this sale is always a fun event, If not just for good finds but good conversation – I always seem to run into a few friends there and everyone’s so friendly you seem to make more! AND LUCKY FOR YOU IT’S THIS SATURDAY! It’s actually a bi-annual, so there is both fall and spring sales, and all proceeds benefit the Dorset Church. Continue reading for some tips on how to get the most out of this sale in particular.
143 Church Street, Dorset Vermont from 9am – 1pm, with outside sales starting at 8:30am and Bag Sale Starting at 12pm.
How to shop the sale like a pro:
- Bring CA$H – This sale is cash only, having a variety of bills will make things simpler as you have to cash out in each individual area of the sale.
- Bring Your Own Bag – So this should be a given anytime you shop anywhere but I recommend bringing a few reusable bags, ideally at least one bag with some structure for more fragile items. They have very limited boxes and recycled plastic bags if you forget but bringing your own will make life easier.
- Wear Layers – Outside is usually brisk while inside is crowded & hot! A light sweater or coat and a scarf are ideal layering pieces as they can be used to wrap breakables you find in the sale. Wearing a heavy coat means carrying a heavy coat so skip that even if you’re a little chilly.
- Break out your “going out” bag – A small cross body is all you have room for as this sale gets crowded and you want your hands free to rummage. I brought a handbag that didn’t have a shoulder strap my first time and was annoyed with myself the entire time for not thinking to switch from my everyday bag. In the same thought, bring a sealable mug for that coffee so it can sit in your shopping tote without spilling!
- Get there early! – This is the number one important piece of advice you can receive as a first timer – arrive early, and be prepared to wait in line! I recommend arriving around 8 to score a good parking spot and scope out the line, though usually it starts forming around 8:15. But arriving early will allow for a nice stroll through Dorset Village and coffee and a pastry at the Dorset Union Store which is a great way to start your Saturday (and prepare for the chaos that is about to ensue!)
- Start Outside – There’s a reason the sale starts outside, because that’s where the big stuff lives! Bigger items are almost always the best value for your money in a sale like this as they are awesome priced to move because no one wants to move them again. As soon as the 8:30 sales start, my first stop is the furniture tent (in the past its been up front to the left towards the village) and secondly the linen tent (at the front right towards West Road) as the good stuff goes in those two fast (especially the throw pillows). I don’t bother to dig through the kids tent because I don’t have them yet. Apparently they have added more outside departments this year so I’ll be excited to see what that entails Saturday.
- Keep an Eye on the Line – While you’re scouring the tents, keep a close eye on the line forming at the side door of the church for the start of the indoor sale. If it starts to get out of hand and you’ve had a good look around, get in it quick as you can always come back outside. Usually you want to be back in line around 8:50. If the line gets too out of hand, take your time looking around and let the first “rush” go through, but as soon as it shortens, get back in as it will get long intermittently for the first hour or so.
- Leave Large Items – The sale attendants (congregation members volunteering) are here to help and not only are there folks to accept sales, there are folks who can set larger items you purchase aside, they would actually like to do this for you as the sale is very crowded and carrying around stuff WILL knock literally everything over. The inside of the church is not large and there are a lot of people here. This sale can be tight!
- Start in the Back – So hearing they’ve been changing things up layout wise so don’t be mad if I lead you astray here, but the housewares section is usually in the rooms at the back of the church and that is where I like to start inside. I think this is the best section of the sale, there is always really, really, nice stuff at tag sale prices. I have seen Simon Pearce, Lalique crystal, silver sets, and exquisite china as well as scored some great outdoor serving pieces. There is an “Attic Finds” room at the back as well filled with everything they don’t know how to sort that is usually a gold mine.
- Hit the clothes last – Located in the church basement, most people flock to the clothes. I prefer to avoid the initial frenzy. There is always tons and this is definitely the tightest squeeze space wise (where that cross body will really come in handy). If I’ve made some purchases and my car is close I will often drop them off before tackling this section. There are always good finds here but they are usually SO crowded at the start of the sale that you can’t get a good look at anything. It’s more enjoyable once it’s thinned out and you’ll still find some good stuff. The vibe here for clothing is more preppy country club athleisure, lots of Dorset Field Club swag.
- Do a Second Lap – The other thing I always recommend wherever you shop is doing a second lap before you go! This doesn’t have to be thorough, just a quick walk through the sections to scope out anything you may have missed the first time around. This is especially helpful in sales like this because items are often covered by other items initially as there’s so much stuff or someone may have put down something they decided they didn’t need, like the silver & gold napkin rings I found thrown in with some drapes that were perfect for our dining room.
- Enjoy Yourself & Be Polite – For my final piece of advice, it’s just to be nice. This is not a black Friday situation, though sometimes it seems like it on account of the giant line and smokin’ deals but these are church going people, no shoving! You will bump into folks as they will to you, but have a laugh about it and you’ll leave with new friends.
And with that, I hope to see you at the sale Saturday! It really is a great event & the Dorset Church is truly a wonderful place. Even if you leave empty handed, you can still get a chance to check out all the things I love about the building, from the marble walls, to exquisite and unique stained glass windows and red double doors. And look good doing it!
Before you leave town: Check out 3 Pears Gallery a few doors down for some seriously cool Vermont art across all mediums, with some pieces well within reach of your first fine art purchase, as well as some of the most stunning wood furniture art I have ever seen! I’d also recommend grabbing lunch for the fam at Dorset Union Store, their lunch is where they really shine! Or if you’re looking for something for later, their freezer meals, though pricey, are always delicious (and compared to eating out in town still a pretty good deal).
If you’re wondering what happened to the second part of our post about making your home smell nice, we’re taking a brief pause on that as our house currently smells like dead mice. Cold nights came to Vermont and we were rudely reminded of the massive mouse problem we inherited when we bought it. I know scent doesn’t technically translate in photos for the blog but It’s all I can smell and I can’t focus! (And my supplies for making essential oils still have not arrived!) So Stay tuned! I am also making an effort to do more posts, with two quick posts during the week – this was supposed to be a quick post but you know me, once I get going! But I’m enjoying this more cause it’s less pressure so maybe we’ll pretend all my posts are supposed to be short? I’m also branching out from project reveals and home focused posts and talking about fashion, travel, and local favorites already, but I’m an open book! – What do you want to read about? Are there any great sales or places to scope out vintage finds I don’t know about in the area? Tell us in the comments!