Tips for Vintage Shopping

I often hear the questions, “What are your favorite spots for vintage shopping?” or ” Where did you find that…(old thing)?” I’ve never really considered antiquing one of my passions, but a quick look around my home proves otherwise. I’ve got old stuff in every room of my house. I think it keeps a room from feeling to precious; it helps add some history and depth to a space, and I love the character and conversation opportunities an old piece can add to a room. I recently read this Guide to Summer Antiquing over at Invaluable, and now I’m in the mood for a flea market road trip!

vintageBefore I dive into shopping tips and tricks, let’s have a quick vocab lesson.  Today’s words are vintage and antique. “Antique” is usually a term reserved for pieces of great value that are a minimum of 100 years old. According to eBay, “vintage” items should be more than 50 and less than 100 years old. On the other hand, I’ve been to flea markets where the criteria for vintage merchandise is 20 years old…so pretty much all the stuff from my childhood is now deemed vintage. So whichever the accurate definition of vintage is, I’m actually more of a vintage shopper. Antiques kind of scare me–they seem too and valuable to be in my home. Vintage items are less intimidating to me. My advice focuses mainly on vintage shopping, but you can also apply it to antiquing. 

boxesBest places to shop
  • Yard Sale / Garage Sale / Estate Sale: Yard sales are great, local resources for vintage treasures. Pros: Great prices, opportunities for bargaining, and close to home. Cons: hit-and-miss – you never know what you’re going to get; and you have to sort through a bunch of crap to find the good stuff.
  • Flea Market: Flea markets are popping up in most large cities. Flea markets are usually held once a month; and you’ll enjoy a fun festival-like atmosphere as well as a GREAT selection of merchandise. Flea market finds are more curated than yard sales, so everywhere you turn, you’ll see things you can’t live without. Pros: Food trucks, great selection, fun atmosphere. Cons: crowded, sometimes you have to buy a ticket to get in, and the weather can prove tricky at outdoor events.  
  • Vintage Shops + Second-Hand Stores: I love driving around unfamiliar neighborhoods and discovering great vintage shopping gems! Pros: Retail stores offer a curated and styled selection. That means it’s easier to shop, cleaner, and less crowded than trolling the flea market. Cons: The shop owners are very aware of the value of the products, so prices tend to be higher. 
globesTips for successful shopping trips
  • Explore new neighborhoods. You’ll never know what’s out there if you don’t go look! 
  • I’m not into grappling over price. It makes me uncomfortable. But toward the end of flea markets and yard sales, vendors are willing to give you a better price if it means they don’t have to pack it up and put it away again. 
  • Have a shopping list. Don’t become distracted by all the vintage goodies around you! Have a list of what you NEED to find. For example,  I recently went looking for a storage piece for my kids backpacks/shoes/coats). During this trip, I was able to stay on task knowing what I was looking for. I glanced at the license plates and card catalogs, but remained focused on my shopping list. But after my moment of distraction I found exactly what I was looking for! 
  • Keep an open mind! Even though you’re looking for something specific, you might find something that meets another need. On a recent shopping trip, I was looking for some small accessories for a photo shoot, but ran across the perfect display piece for my notepads…so stay on target, but don’t. 😉
  • Makeovers are always a possibility. It’s very rare to find the perfect piece that doesn’t need a little fixing up. A little paint and some new hardware can go a long way. Don’t walk away from the perfect piece because it’s the wrong color! 
  • Buy with POTENTIAL and PURPOSE in mind. Does it have the potential to fit your space/style? Will it serve a purpose? 
  • Start a collection (or two, or three!) When you shop to add to a specific collection, you’re not as easily overwhelmed by vintage shopping. When I don’t need a specific piece (furniture, etc.) it’s still fun to go to the markets looking for milk glass vases, globes or tins to add to my collections. 

milk-glassNow I’m in the mood for a treasure hunt/shopping trip. Who wants to join me?!? 

DIY Painted Thumbtacks

Thumb Tacks2I love incorporating color into ordinary, everyday items. These thumbtacks are no exception. This project is so quick and inexpensive; and it adds a fun pop of color to your memo board. These painted thumbtacks also make great gifts for teachers and coworkers. So grab a couple boxes of thumbtacks and let’s get to work! 

Nail polish
Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Thumbtacks
  • Nail polish
  • Cardboard

PaintedLet’s get started! Stick the thumbtacks into the cardboard. I used an old piece of foam board here. I’ve also used a cereal box before. You just need something that can hold the pins upright while you paint.

Painting ThumbtacksPaint the tops with your nail polish. Depending on the type of polish and the color you use, you may need a few coats. Let ’em dry between coats, obviously. 

Desktop copyWhen they’re dry, remove them from the cardboard and put them to work! 

That’s it! 

Make Mornings Manageable

AugustBanner copy

Can you believe it’s August?!? The smell of new notebooks and pencil shavings is in the air! My friends at Wayfair wanted to know how we make mornings manageable around here. To be honest, most mornings are chaotic at best. It’s a scramble to find matching shoes, backpacks and last night’s homework assignment. It’s not for the lack of trying. I really, really try to be organized. But it’s not my special talent. I do have a few key tricks that make our mornings a little less crazy. 

Wall HooksHooks:  My home is made up of an intricate system of hooks; that at least make me feel more organized. Each kid has a couple hooks in their closets so they can hang up coats and jackets without needing help to reach the closet rod. Plus, if it needs a hanger, you bet your buttons it’s gonna land on the floor. The hooks work like magic. And we can usually find our coats/jackets in the early morning scramble. (photo from Wayfair. Trust me, you do NOT want to see the inside of my kids’ closets.)

We also use hooks for backpacks. Each kid has one in the coat closet. Then they’re not running around looking under beds, or in the office for their casually-discarded backpack in the morning. Look on the hook. Works every time. Almost.

Snack Basket

The Snack Basket: We have a special thing in our pantry called “the snack basket.” I keep all the pre-packaged snacks in the basket. It keeps them from being scattered all over the floor or the pantry. And I can easily keep track of our snack inventory by looking in the basket. I’ve been fooled too many times by an empty box sitting on the shelf. My kids’ school requires that the kids bring a healthy snack for recess, since sometimes it can be a long time until lunch. So as we’re loading backpacks in the morning, the snack basket plays an important role. It’s also great for after school snacks. The kids know which snacks are allowed after school, so they’re not tearing into a bag of oreos. 

File Folders

The Important Paper Folder:  I keep a simple file folder in the kitchen with each kid’s name on it. When they bring home important papers from school (like special project instructions, flash cards, permission slips, etc.) they go directly into the folder. Then when it’s time to work on the science fair project, or pass off our sight words we know exactly where to find the corresponding paper. It’s a really simple, not-so-glamorous system, but it’s saved me hours of sifting through the piles of paper that come home every day. 

Late Notes

A Sense of Humor:  When all else fails, at least make the attendance clerk laugh. There are
going to be bad mornings. There are going to be days when your kindergartener cannot find ANYTHING to wear; or days when your carpool driver hit the snooze button a few too many times. It’s really hard to keep your cool when things don’t go as planned; but I’ve learned that if I freak out before school, my kids are more likely to have a rough day. So even on those rough days, if you can send them out the door with a smile, I’d call it a win! 

Here are a few more of my favorite Wayfair items that can help make mornings less crazy: Mornings-01

Desk | Alarm Clock | Wall Hooks | Wall File | Shoe Storage | Calendar | Bench | Bakset

Patio Style

I’ve completely neglected our outdoor spaces this year. Every summer I think it’s going to be the year we makeover the patio…and then summer is over before we know it. This year is no exception. But then I saw this post at Arhaus, which inspired me to consider a patio makeover again. For reals this time. P.S. If you’re curious about Arhaus, be sure to check out their outdoor sectional sofas and sectional sofas for your home, along with some of their other products!

041516_outdoor_bal_harbour_sectionalNow back to my patio. It’s bad. Currently, we’ve got a giant trampoline on our patio, while the grass recovers from an incident with a waterslide/bounce house. But I dream of turning it into a fun little lounge area. It would be the perfect place to sit with some friends and some dessert. Or curl up with a cold drink and a good book after a long day. 

I know my dream patio changes every year; and that’s probably why I haven’t committed to making it happen just yet. But this one is my favorite patio design yet: 

Outdoor Living Space-01

I’d keep the accessories pretty neutral and simple with gray pillows and a rug. Plenty of seating is a must; as is a fire pit to add a little ambiance and warmth when the evenings get chilly. You need to make sure your guests have somewhere to put their drinks; so throw in a few little side tables. I’d also add the comfort of inside with a lightweight throw and some potted plants. I love outdoor glasses so broken glass isn’t an issue; and I’d make sure the puppy feels welcome outside, too, with a home of her own. 

Here’s a shopping guide for this year’s patio wish list: 

  1. Indoor/outdoor rug
  2. Medallion Pillow
  3. Teak sectional
  4. Turned-leg planters
  5. Side Table
  6. Fire Pit
  7. Beverage dispenser
  8. Striped Throw
  9. Outdoor glasses
  10. Coral pillow
  11. Dog house

We’ve probably got another 2-3 months of summer weather ahead of us, so maybe it’s not too late for my back yard, after all.