The Vintage Etsy Society team is a GREAT resource for shopping for fun and unique vintage finds! This article includes some of our best (secret) sources for finding vintage items that we bring to our shops, as well as a few tips for sourcing vintage treasures, We hope you enjoy the tips from our team members!
I absolutely LOVE to shop for vintage items at flea markets! Estate sales and auctions are a close second. Here in Minnesota, the flea market season is only open from May through October, but you can be sure I make the most out of it while I can!
While we have several small, local flea markets, the larger flea markets that I like to shop here in Minnesota are the Minnesota Antique Spectacular (usually in April and October) and Gold Rush Days (in August). If you are in Minnesota, I highly recommend these two venues!
For tips on shopping a flea market, check out “Flea Market Gear -What To Bring With You On Your Shopping Trip“. If you are shopping an estate sale, you might want to read “12 Tips For Shopping An Estate Sale“. And, if you enjoy shopping auctions, check out “12 Tips for Shopping An Auction“. For even more places to shop for vintage, see “12 Places to Shop For Vintage”. I hope these tips help, and that you find awesome vintage treasures!!!
My favorite vintage shopping place is in a nearby city and specializes in architectural salvage.
Well, if you know me at all you know my adoration of all things metal and wood so this is my euphoric binge. And boy could I binge!
A few newer items are mixed in with those that are true vintage and supplement the gorgeous salvage pieces they acquire from the tear down of local homes and businesses. They have everything from door hinges to the doors themselves. I never know what I will find! Such a thrill!
I hope you have a place to shop that gives you that giddy feeling too!
Our area has city wide sales in the spring and again in the fall. In the town where I grew up, which is about 15 miles from where I live now, one of the churches collects items and offers them in exchange for a donation to the church. I have found the best vintage goodies at this sale and I find myself donating more than it probably would have cost me had they priced the items. Well… maybe. 🙂
My tip for this type of sale is to be there when they open and do a quick sweep first to grab the “I can’t believe this” items and make a pile up front where the sale workers are or even pay and take your loot to your car. Then you can go back and take your time looking through the many tables of items for more vintage goodies. Just don’t spend too much time because remember…it’s a “city-wide” sale.
I’m an anti-waste crusader. In addition to my passion for finding loving homes for vintage kitchenwares for Laura’s Last Ditch, I ride my bike almost everywhere. When I climb into the car, it’s only kicking and screaming; so, when I do, I get full value out of the trip.
Each fall, my son has a three-day school break; we use this mini-vacation to visit my brother and his family in upstate New York. George and I drive through Michigan, across the bridge to Canada, through Niagara Falls, and on to eastern New York, where we’re greeted by the squeals of my seven precious nieces and nephews.
In October the changing leaves make the drive gorgeous; the nip in the air means off-season hotel room rates in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We’ve discovered really clean, decent places in Niagara Falls (one even has neat vintage bathrooms with multi-color tiles) that only cost about $30. Spending the night halfway through our drive allows us to shop at thrift stores along the way. The stops double as rest stops.
This blog series is about favorite shopping spots for vintage goods, so let me suggest mine: my favorite spot is a spot we pass on our way elsewhere. “Hit-or-miss” sums up the nature of secondhand shopping, so, when we find a treasure along our way, it’s a quick little thrill; if we don’t, we haven’t wasted much gas or time, so there’s no crushing disappointment. Treasure hunting this way leaves me more time to get my finds cleaned, photographed, and listed. And it keeps me from over-buying and falling in the hoarding trap that plagues so many sellers.
As collectors and previously flea marketers during summer, we often rummage through flea markets all year long in diverse cities. We got to know terrific sellers, very experimented too. Sure, we keep in touch with them over several years. They share their passion with us, they also connected us with other collectors and marketers… To us, that is the right place for buying with confidence.
So that, we picked up hundreds and hundreds eclectic objects as china and ceramics, antique/ vintage books in French, English, Breton languages, authentic paintings … home décor various styles, available in multiple materials, some highly collectible French/Breton treasures as Quimper potteries, Michel Caugant Terrines.
A part of our collection is dating of late 19th , many others come from art deco, mid-century, retro, vintage contemporary style periods, all these accumulated in different rooms, and awaiting their new owners… We welcome any suggestion from French vintage lifestyle admirers/reliable Sellers from worldwide dedicated to Authentic French Vintage goods.
“Because Vintage goods are not perishable within many years, they are not required to have a “best before date”…”
My favorite place to pick is the Rietta Flea Market in Hubbardston Mass. Located on Route 68. You never know just what you’ll find!
Some of my tips are:
1. Wear a vest or Jacket with many pockets. I wear an old fishing vest. I carry wet wipes,chap stick, tissues, a magnet,a hand lens, paper and pencil and my money arranged in a flat envelope with dollars at the front and the other denominations in order.
2. I carry lots of one dollar bills to help out the sellers especially early in the morning. They appreciate it.
3. I have 2 or 3 backpacks in the car so when I fill one up, I just exchange it for an empty one back in the parking lot. It’s very important to have your hands free to look at things!
4. I go around the flea market (or any place) in one direction and on the second time around, I travel in the opposite way and often catch things I missed!
5. Go early! Sometimes the best things are there at opening. As the morning wears on and the heat builds up the sellers may leave early.
6. I always try to be kind and courteous. I will even bring some home made biscotti to give to some of my regular vendors.
Since I have been working estate sales recently, my favorite places to shop for vintage have become the estate sales at set-up time. Being able to go through an estate sale before it is open to the public means you are able to get first pick of the goods. And sometimes, the goods are fabulous! At the most recent sale I worked, I was able to purchase a beautiful vintage Windsor chair for $20.
Tip: Get to know your local estate sale companies. Many will contact dealers for pre-sale purchase before they open to the public. You may not get the end of sale discount pricing, but you will get the best items at a reasonable price.
There are many favorite places I go shopping for vintage. I am a bit of a bookaholic that loves coffee and tea! It is a great pleasure to go to one local bookseller with a coffee shop that serves specialties teas such as white pomegranate tea. There is also an antique store with a mix of books and antiques that serves lattes and chai teas. It’s a great way to spend a morning looking for unique vintage reads and antiques.
When shopping for vintage, it is very helpful to remember to rely on your eye for design and your instinct. For example, if you have an eye for kitschy whimsical, then use your instinct when it pulls you to it. Also, specializing and being educated in what interests you will also be very beneficial when you are browsing. It will be helpful to make a quick decision when you are aware of how to identify your favorite vintage items. The best tip I have is to enjoy the time you have to shop for vintage. It is a thrill to treasure hunt so make the time to do it!
I love thrift and vintage shopping in Providence, RI. You can thrift at places like Savers and the Salvation Army (tip: lots of great donated clothes after the Brown and RISD students leave in May). You can hit the antique and vintage shops on very quaint Wickenden Street. If you need some ultra cool things to wear for every day occasions or special occasions, Lola on N. Main Street near the RISD campus mixes new and vintage. And you can wander over the river onto Westminster Street for great vintage clothing and accessories at the Vault Collective.
The nice thing about vintage picking in Providence is that no matter what your age, you are going to find something. The College Hill area has an awesomely eclectic vibe, even a day there feels like a vacation.
The Forest Park Emporium is located 20 minutes west of the Chicago Loop. The store has 22 dealer spaces with a wide range of vintage and antique styles. Many items in this shop reflect the popularity of Midcentury Modern home décor. The store has a large selection of vinyl LPs priced between $7 and $9 and most booths stock barware from several eras ranging from the 1950s to the 1980s. Sellers at his shop offer a discount on items over $24.00 and will usually give a larger discount on bundled or multiple item purchases. The Emporium is located in walking distance of two other antique shops, boutiques, and restaurants in downtown Forest Park. The shop runs two storewide sales a year-, which are advertised, on their Facebook page.
Jackson Square Antique Mall is located approximately 15 miles west of the Chicago loop in the village of La Grange. This co-op has two floors loaded with antique and vintage finds and includes furniture, clothing, home décor, jewelry, and more. The mall is just the right size- not too large and not too small. The prices are reasonable and dealers run sales on and off throughout the year. The sellers at Jackson Square regularly bring in new stock and change up their booths seasonally. The mall is one block from downtown historic La Grange and is located near lovely walk-able neighborhoods, restaurants and other shopping -including a charity shop (The Carousel Shop) which supports the Community Nurses Health Care Center.