Tips and Tricks for Antiquing Like a Pro

My favorite hours are the hours I spend searching the hidden corners of thoughtfully sourced booths in antique shops.  In close second comes estate sales, where I spend countless hours, sometimes with a flashlight, digging for gold in the darkest closets.  The thrill of the hunt is a deep rooted passion, and I'm happy to share some tips and tricks for antiquing like a professional that will make it enjoyable for you as well!

Photo courtesy of Charish.

Photo courtesy of Charish.


Tip/Trick #1: Caffeine

Yes, I'm encouraging drug use before partaking in these activities (and yes, caffeine is a drug, google it). To find the good stuff you need to be alert. I'm talking bright eyed and bushy tailed. You have to be able to make quick decisions and think clearly.  Brain fog is not a party to a well spent antiquing trip. Maybe you're one of those people that doesn't need caffeine for this, but I'm not, and this is my blog, so I'l telling you to drink all the caffeine.

Tip/Trick #2: Pack Lightly

A cross body bag is key.  Things are tight in there, and the last person you want to be is the one who swings around to grab something you spotted out of the corner of your eye, knocking over an entire bookshelf of milk glass with your Never Full, successfully losing all credibility and having to avoid your favorite shop for months. I'm sure you could tell from the detail that I am indeed speaking from experience....moving on! These are the items you need in your purse: shopping list if you have specific items in mind, cash, credit card, ID, tape measure, and inspirational photos if needed. That's it!

Tip/Trick #3: Arrive Early

This one is kind of common sense. You're not going to get the best items if you let all the other hunters out into the field before you. Whether it's a monthly market like Scott's in Atlanta, an estate sale, or even stopping by after a new shipment at your favorite local haunt (I'm looking at you, Plantation Shop) the key is to get there before everyone else.  It's a calmer environment, allowing you to think clearer. Which leads me to my next tip and trick for antiquing like a pro....

Tip/trick #4: Give yourself a pep talk

Antiquing calls for quick decisions, and confidence is key!! If you love an item, buy it! I can't stress this enough.  I have passed on one too many items due to lack of trusting my instinct. I've since grown up, but it heeds repeating: you know what you like, you have good taste, you're a goddess, you have great hair, and you're going to leave this place with the best treasures ever.

Tip/Trick #5: Negotiate

I say this because I'm also a realtor, so negotiating is in my blood, but it definitely applies here too! Unless an item is marked as their best and final (usually denoted by an x or colorful dot) then you can ask "what's the best deal you can give me on this?" This is where knowing your product is key.  If you know how much a 12" ginger jar usually costs, you know if you're getting a deal or not.  Please be careful not to be rude though, sourcing these items for you to cherish is the way a lot of people make a living.


Photo courtesy of The Distillery.

Photo courtesy of The Distillery.

As I'm writing this I realize there are tips and tricks for antiquing that differ from the tips and tricks for estate sales, etc. If you find this quick rundown helpful let me know, and I'll write more detailed posts breaking down each venue!