Some might say thrifting is an obsession, but how can it be a bad thing when you’re actually doing the world a SERVICE by keeping used items from the landfills?! Haha – Hubby doesn’t quite see my shopping as a service to society, but oh well.
I don’t know where my love of antiquing came from, but as it seems to be solely based around Kitchen goods, I’m guessing it started about the same time I was learning to cook and starting to entertain.
Since then I’ve scoured flea markets and vintage/thrift shops here in Vancouver, California, Paris and London to name a few. “Local vintage / thrift” is a common Google search now when I travel – it’s become my “Museum stop” (along with often taking a local Cooking Class).
From crystal barware I use as water glasses at dinner parties, to my 10-set Limoges dinner ware, to random Parisian linens, to my extensive – and growing – milk glass collection, I suppose there’s a point where one could say I’m just a hoarder (or so my Hubby says).
After awhile you start to know your vibe and what you can and cannot find in certain places.
Thrift shops are the most cost effective, and treasures CAN be found. I have a string of shops that happen to be on my way to places I go often, so I pop in looking only for certain things like marble rolling pins ($8 used, vs $95 in stores – and they’re amazing for rolling out dough for cookies or pizza), or MORE milk glass.
More expensive finds tend to have chips or cracks, or are in “less than” shape, as they’re often already looked over by real hunters buying for their shops/markets before anything gets to the shelf, so be picky. You’ll get a feel for what you can find rather quickly. Also you can ask what days they re-stock the shelves if you want first looks.
Flea Markets can be great both locally and abroad, but you won’t necessarily find anything each time, and the prices can be close to what you might buy something new for. That said, I’ve found many a treasure! Typically a set of dishes or cutlery that would have been pieced off in a Thrift Store or OVER priced in a vintage/antique shop. My brass candle holder collection has blossomed with flea markets! Who knew I NEEDED so many?!
If you frequent certain markets, you’ll get to know the vendors and if you’re friendly and kind, that’ll lead you to a great “best price” relationship. Watch how hard you bargain – don’t be harsh, be respectful, learn their names, and in the long run you’ll end up with the best deals of all.
Actual vintage and antique shops tend to be the most expensive. Someone from the shop has already done all the hunting and purchasing up front, and has curated it into a rented space for you to browse. This doesn’t mean bargains can’t be found, and sometimes they have a great mix of vintage and new that’s perfect for gifts, too. I love finding the big antique MALLS in places like Fort Langley (near Vancouver), Palm Springs and most recently in Calgary.
I shopped the vintage shops in Palm Springs on Black Friday once – everything typically a little more expensive was suddenly half price!
ONLINE – EbayFR!!!
I found a lovely dishware set of 6 once that was missing JUST ONE PLATE! But the entire adorable set had matching bowls and salad/dinner plates for $60, so I grabbed it anyhow. Once home, I found that missing plate on ebay.fr — (holdthephone – FRANCE HAS ITS OWN EBAY AND IT’S AMAZING!!) — between the price and shipping that one plate probably cost me another $40, but whatever – I was happy.
The Lady Hamilton silver-plated cutlery handed down from my Nana and Mom a few years back has been VERY filled out by searching ebay. Be patient – I found a 95pc box of it for $50 once, just needed some cleaning. Be choosy and shop around, watching prices as you go.
I also “have a guy” (well, LADY) in Scottsdale that does all the estate hunting there and sometimes posts reasonably priced finds on Instagram. My fave were some beautiful Limoges platters.
NOW, what to DO with all these hard-found treasures?!
I’ll get to that 🙂
For now – what are your favorite hunting grounds where you live??! Any extra tips?