7 Tips For Vintage Shopping

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Spring mantel decor with vintage milk vase + brass candle holder

I’m an old soul and love vintage shopping. In fact, my love for vintage goods and victorian decor goes pretty far back. When I was in 4th grade my mom allowed me to choose my own custom duvet cover and curtains. It was my first time decorating my own room and I remember choosing vintage floral fabrics with roses, a style that most kids my age would not have chosen.

I’m sure others thought it looked too “grandma” for my age, but it was special to me because it was feminine, pretty and unique. It also felt like it had an old story behind it, which I always found fascinating. As an avid reader, I liked prints and items that seemed to carry a deeper meaning and story. I liked modern and trendy things too, but only when paired with something with more history and soul.

This was the beginning of my lifelong love affair with mixing vintage with modern, old with new, high and low.

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Junk-in-the-trunk_0001Today I want to share my tips for vintage shopping. Vintage shopping is not easy because unlike traditional retail shops where the latest items and trends are displayed neatly, vintage shopping requires the ability to discover gems in midst of piles of unnecessary junk.

7 Tips For Vintage Shopping

1) Shop with purpose

Know what kind of items you are searching for before walking into a store. Of course there are moments when you find an unexpected item that excites you. This is totally normal and expected. However, know what kind of things you want and are looking for to avoid overspending and buying unnecessary goods.

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2) Know market value and set a budget

Set a budget before shopping and do some research about how much certain things cost. For example, if you’re looking for a vintage gold frame mirror like I am, you should know that these can cost anywhere between $50 even $500 depending on quality, style, size and color. Knowing the market value and price will help greatly when shopping for antiques because prices are so varied.

(I still have yet to find that perfect vintage mirror. When I find it, I’ll be sure to share 🙂 )

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3) Know what you can fix and what you can’t

If you find something you absolutely love but don’t like the color, this is an easy fix. With some creativity and spray paint, you can change the color of most surfaces. But if you love an item but it’s broken or too worn, this is difficult to fix and may require additional cost.

I personally don’t buy anything that’s too worn and old. Some minor imperfections like chips and nicks are normal. I like the vintage look that doesn’t require too many fixes. Think about these factors before purchasing. It can save time and money on the long run.

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4) Do online search

If you’re unsure about the cost or rarity of a certain item, a little bit of google search can help you. Search for similar items online, using sites like Ebay, Etsy and Craigslist and see how easy it is to find that item and how much it sells for. Be sure to factor in item condition and shipping as well.

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5) If you absolutely love it, buy it

The beauty of vintage items is that it is rare. Therefore, if you find something you absolutely love you should buy it because you may never find anything like it.

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6) If you’re unsure, don’t buy it

On the contrary, if you’re unsure whether or not you like an item, don’t buy it. While shopping you may come across cool things you’d like to have but don’t really need. Or you may want and need it but the quality or price may not be ideal. Best vintage shoppers know when to walk away because they know how easy it is to end up with unnecessary things they don’t actually use.

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7. Be inspired. Discover treasures.

My favorite part about vintage shopping is all the inspirations I gather during the process. Browsing through items that remind me of my childhood can be inspiring, nostalgic and magical, an experience many vintage lovers and collectors can relate to.

Another favorite aspect of vintage shopping is that I get to discover unique treasures that no one else has. In a world of fast purchases and fake goods, vintage shopping feels authentic and soulful in a way no other retail shopping experience can deliver.

Lastly, each vintage item has a story and soul.

And remember, vintage doesn’t always mean old. Something vintage can be a new item inspired by the old world, or something that’s repurposed, repainted and reupholstered to give it new life.

My latest vintage purchase

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These are my latest vintage finds at Junk In The Trunk Market— brass candle holders, succulents, gold frames ($5 and $8 each) and milk glass vases. I love that these vintage items can fit into any modern decor. Aren’t they charming?

junk-in-the-trunk-vip-loungeI also love finding vintage furniture and repainting and refinishing them. Check out how I repurposed vintage table and chairs and turned them into my kids’ craft table + chair set. Four years later, they’re still being used daily in my home. It’s one of my favorite vintage finds to date!

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Me and Baby D at Junk In The Trunk Vintage Market

Do you like shopping Vintage? If so, what kind of items do you look for? 

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Angela
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14 thoughts on “7 Tips For Vintage Shopping

  1. Christina K. Rambo

    Oh! These photos!! Such eye candy. Great tips. I especially need to work on I used to be of the mindset of if you are unsure, buy it, because you might regret not; Never once was that true. So… yes… if unsure LEAVE it there.

  2. Andi

    Great tips! I’ve always loved vintage items but hey super overwhelmed about purchasing and end up just leaving them 90% of the time because I haven’t planned ahead and I don’t know the market value. I’m totally going to apply your tips now!

  3. Ashley J.

    That type writer is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. This is a real eye opener for someone whose mind defaults to clothing when thinking about vintage.

  4. Kristeena

    Your photos are just gorgeous! I’ve always been a little intimidated vintage shopping but I love this tips and this will surely help me! Thank you for sharing.

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