I have a few preferred ways to shop, and all of them involve paying less than retail. The most unpredictable (and most fun!) is going to estate sales. I’ve been to sales where the house is packed to the rafters with crystal, china and fine antiques. I’ve also been to sales where I’d had to pry what I wanted from the ground or off the doors (doorknobs and plants).
The best way to find out about estate sales in the area is to sign up for enewsletters from The Balderdash Collection, a local business that runs estate sales. You can also search Craigslist for the phrase “estate sale”. Happy hunting!