Finding vintage pieces that are desirable and in good condition can be like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s out there but can be tough to find. Especially so if you are looking for a specific item but don’t want to break the bank. Although it can be difficult or frustrating in some situations, it’s totally possible. It’s basically like treasure hunting, which I think is so much fun. I thought, because I get a lot of questions about vintage-y related things that I would start to post more about it here on my blog. I posted Why You Should Shop Second-Hand + My Favorite Finds of 2019 not too long ago and it was one of my more well-preformed posts on here (to my surprise!). Here is how I source my vintage!
Where to Source Vintage
1. Estate Sales
Estate sales are basically the holy grail of vintage. First of all there is everything from clothing to glass to furniture. Plus, the prices can be amazing. Usually estate sales are held during the weekends (although some are run Thursday and Friday too). You can find them on websites dedicated to estate sales like www.estatesales.net or you can just check the listings on Craigslist.
Not all estate sales are created equal. If you’re looking for vintage, check the pictures and make sure that what’s for sale looks older and isn’t just a ‘moving estate sale.’ If you’re looking for higher end items, limit your search to wealthier neighborhoods in your area. Also, check every neighborhood and follow estate sale companies on Facebook for updates on where they will be located that weekend.
When going to estate sales, if you want a greater selection go on Friday or Saturday when the sale first opens. If you want better deals, go on Sundays. A lot of estate sales have 50% off days on Sunday if it will be their last day because they are just looking for item to go. I usually go Sundays and still find really great items, although I will sometimes go on Saturdays too.
2. Vintage & Antique Shops
Vintage and Antique shops are usually one of the most expensive options to find vintage. Usually these shops host vendors that have already sourced for you and you can look at their curated selection. If you are looking for specific items this can be a great option, or if you are looking for vintage clothing and don’t mind spending a bit more this is also a good place to do it. Some shops will have a specific selection and only sell clothes or only sell furniture, which is great for when you have an idea of what you are looking for.
Shopping at Vintage & Antique shops is also a great way to support your local resellers and small businesses. It takes a lot to sift through thrift shops or estate sales just trying to find a gem! It also means one less thing is going into a landfill.
3. Thrift Shops
Going into thrift stops, you have a greater selection, but it’s not necessarily vintage. You can find vintage items if you look, but you should go in knowing what you are looking for. When I thrift for vintage items I look for brass candlestick holders or brass figurines, old ceramic pots/handmade pottery, colored depression glass/ vintage Pyrex/ and vintage Fire King. The prices may be more than an estate sale might be on Sunday, but theya re less than a vintage store would be and you can find a lot of cool items.
Not all thrift stores are created equally. The quality of the items for chains like Goodwill vary by location. Some locally owned thrift stores can also carry better quality and variety selection than some of the bigger chains. You really have to go out and explore different thrift stores to get an idea of their selection. If you are really serious about thrifting or decide to do resell, you could keep a running list of the thrift stores in your area and the type of inventory that they carry. That way if you are going to a certain thrift store that you know always has a bad selection of clothes, you don’t have to continue to spend time looking at them when you know that you normally find nothing.
3. Thrift Outlets
Thrift outlets, like the bins, are not the best place to find vintage, however if you are already looking then it’s easy to come across a piece of clothing. It’s helpful to know older and more desirable brands or just be able to decipher what vintage clothing tags look like. If you plan on reselling, having a phone that you can quickly look up items or clothing tags is important and it’s super easy to snap a picture of something and search for it in eBay.
Etsy is another one of the more expensive options for vintage. There is a huge selection since half the website is dedicated to selling vintage specifically. It’s a great place to find ideas on what to look for when going thrifting or to estate sales, too. If you have something you are wanting to have in mind, like for example brass candlesticks, it’s easy to search for it and have a ton of options to choose from. It also means supporting small businesses and resellers, which is a win in my book (but I’m biased).
Ebay is another option for finding vintage, but typically you want to have an idea of what you are looking for. In my opinion, eBay can be cheaper to buy from than Etsy, but in the way of vintage has less of a selection. It’s much easier to post on for sellers than Etsy is, but vintage also sells faster for me personally on eBay that it would on Etsy. Etsy also looks much nicer from a business standpoint because it’s more aesthetically appealing than eBay, which to me looks like it’s barely changed since the 00’s and is also chalked full of cheap items ‘new’ items from China that are always getting promoted.
That’s Where to Source Vintage, and I think I covered it all. I want to know- what vintage items are you on the lookout for? Leave me a comment below!
I’ve always been into vintage things like polaroid cameras and handheld vanity mirrors, but it’s also funny to me how trendy vintage has gotten in the last year or so. If you want to see some of the things I end up finding, follow me on my Instagram here. It’s a newish Insta, but I’m trying to get better about actually posting some of the cool things that I find.
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