Who doesn’t like buying inexpensive stuff in good conditions? Or finding some antique vintage items to decorate or use at home? I enjoy going to the flea markets because is a way to fight consumerism and helping reduce the amount of waste. How? Buying second hand! Is less expensive, you are giving a second (sometimes even third) chance to items or clothes and most of the cases are in great condition.
I remember I undervalued the street markets back in my hometown in Mexico. We even have a word to browse among the stuff: “chacharear” (Warning: this is a very colloquial word). Now that I’m living in Germany I kind of miss the markets because there it happens every week! Here, at least in the city in the south where we live, happens every other week. There are big ones, depending on the weather of course, and there are some exclusive by and for students. But what I have seen in most of them, is that they sell mostly antiquities. Reasons vary, but mainly is because someone passed away and they resell the possessions or simply they need to move and they can’t carry all their stuff to their new place. There are, of course, second hand shops and recycling houses as well which are open 5-6 days a week.
Honestly, I don’t go antiquing. Mostly I buy summer clothes or items that are plastic-free to reduce or replace the plastic items at home. We have even participated in two flea markets to get rid of so much stuff. That’s part of our way to a zero waste minimalist lifestyle. So, many times we have purchased kitchen utensils, bags, clothes or materials I could repurpose to make upcycled jewellery. Barely something to decorate.
Some tricks I have learned through personal experience:
- You need to have clear an idea of what you would like to find (otherwise you end up with a bunch of stuff that you don’t have a place or a purpose).
- Measures are important, always carry a measuring tape. Compare prices if you see similar items.
- Asking yourself: Do I need it? How bad do I want it? Do I have a place to put it or an occasion to wear it? Is it worth the price? Will it be functional? Will it look pretty? etc…
On Summer (specially in the U.S.), car boot sales are quite common, and a lot of people go antiquing. I liked this guide that Invaluable has put together with the Top U.S. towns to go hunting for antiquities in states like Iowa, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, South Carolina, Florida, New York, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. Go check it out!
Tips by Invaluable for antiquities hunting:
- Find Main Street: Yes, row of shops, restaurants and locally-owned businesses still exist in many of America’s and often includes at least one great antique shop to peruse.
- Look for Flea Market Fliers: When you’re at the grocery store stocking up on s’mores supplies, bug spray and sunscreen keep an eye out for local fliers that could clue you in on some prime antiquing finds. Don’t rule out street fairs and even the county fair itself for antiquing goodness.
- Keep an Eye Out For Estate Sales: You not only get to search for keepsakes, but you’ll also get a truly insider take on how the residents make their home.
- Ask the Locals: If you find a spot that has some good pieces, don’t be afraid to ask the purveyor where else you might find similar goods.
- Experience a Live Auction: There’s nothing quite like the rush of a live auction; the auctioneer’s singsong voice, the thrill of placing your bid, and the adrenaline rush of winning a prized item. Can’t make it in person, but still want to bid on the go? Download Invaluable’s app for iPhone or iPad and stay up to date on sales around the world.
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Let us know where do you go hunting for antique treasures, which are the best items you have bought and share your tips with us!