Have you discovered a love for antiquing yet? I had the best time antiquing with friends during my trip to Waco recently. There was so much in this little antique shop I wish I could have traveled with it all home! Today, I’m sharing all the cool things I found plus some great tips about how to spot valuables, negotiate the best prices, and avoid costly imitations. Wait until you see what I found!
Antiquing, the art of hunting for and collecting vintage and antique items, is a fascinating journey through history.
It’s a world where each piece tells a story, and beginners often find themselves captivated by the allure of discovering treasures from the past.
So if you’re just starting your antiquing adventure, this post is your guide to the basics, the dos and don’ts, and how to make the most of this exciting hobby.
Transform your home into a haven of historical charm without breaking the bank using these simple tips.
(Posts on stacyling.com may contain affiliate links. Click HERE for full disclosure.)
But First, What Does It Mean to Go Antiquing?
Antiquing involves the search for, purchase, and collection of items that are of historical interest and at least a certain age.
While “antique” technically refers to items over 100 years old, many collectors and enthusiasts also embrace “vintage” pieces that are a few decades old.
These items can encompass a wide range of categories, from furniture and art to jewelry, fashion, and other collectibles like milk glass.
Getting Started with Antiquing
Before diving into the antique market, educate yourself about the items that interest you. Learn about different eras, styles, and materials to help you identify and appreciate pieces.
Start your search for pieces that genuinely interest you. Whether it’s vintage clothing, retro furniture, garden treasures, or other collectibles, passion fuels the hunt.
Set a budget for your antiquing adventures to avoid overspending. Because I’ll be the first to tell, it’s not hard to spend more than you want when you find a lot of cool stuff! Remember that antique items can range from very affordable to incredibly valuable.
Start your search at local antique stores, flea markets, estate sales, and thrift shops. These places are often gold mines for beginners.
What to Look for When Antiquing
Not sure what to look for when you are shopping around an antique store? Here are some tips to help you navigate the adventure.
- Condition Matters: Check the item’s condition. Look for signs of damage, wear, or restoration. A little wear can add character, but extensive damage may affect value.
- Research and Authenticity: Verify the authenticity of the item, especially for high-value pieces. Research the markings, signatures, or labels on the item to ensure it’s genuine.
- Negotiate with Confidence: Don’t be afraid to negotiate prices, especially at flea markets and estate sales. Polite haggling is common in the world of antiquing.
Caring for Your Antiques
Now that you found lots of cool unique pieces, what do you do with them?
Depending on what you found and how you plan to use them, there may be some special care involved so here are a few things to keep in mind.
When you get your pieces home, use mild, non-abrasive cleaning methods and materials if you are cleaning up your antique finds.
Consult experts or guides for specific cleaning tips for different materials because the last thing you want to do is damage a really valuable piece that you bought for a song!
Storing and Displaying Antiques
Store your antiques in a suitable environment, away from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and humidity. Protect them from dust and pests.
If you found some extremely valuable, you may want to have it insured to protect your investment. Consult with insurance providers to explore what those options may be.
I’ve never insured anything I’ve found, but I know friends who have.
Antiquing Community and Resources
If you are all in on thrifting around for antiques, consider joining local or online collectors’ groups and forums on your social channels.
There are so many of them out there and you’ll learn quickly where to find the best shops and discover new ways to use found items in your home and garden.
You can learn from experienced collectors, ask questions, and share your finds.
But there are also lots of great books and websites out there that are dedicated to specific collectibles or antiques. These resources can provide valuable information and help you become more knowledgeable.
And if you really get into antiquing, you’ve got to hit up some antique shows and exhibitions to see a wide range of items and gain more exposure to the vast world of antiques.
Patience and Passion
Antiquing is not just a hobby; it’s an adventure and becomes a passion once you get into thrifting around.
The thrill of the hunt, the stories behind each find, and the joy of uncovering hidden gems make it a fun, rewarding experience.
Expertise and what to look for come with time, so be patient and enjoy the journey.
How to Unearth the Best Deals and Avoid Fakes When Antiquing
While antiquing is a thrilling treasure hunt for those who love the charm of the past, it can be a little tricky.
Finding the best deals and avoiding fakes requires a bit of insider knowledge. Here are some antiquing secrets that will help you strike gold while avoiding costly mistakes.
Educate Yourself: Knowledge is Power
The first and most crucial secret is to arm yourself with knowledge. The more you know about the items you’re interested in, the better equipped you’ll be to spot a genuine treasure and discern it from a fake.
Here’s what you need to know!
- Research Historical Periods: Learn about the historical periods, styles, and materials of the items you’re interested in. Understanding the nuances of various eras will help you identify authentic pieces.
- Become a Detective: Learn to identify markings, signatures, and labels on items. Recognizing the authentic markings of famous makers is a valuable skill that will help you spot the fakes and not overspend.
- Stay Updated: Antiques evolve with time. Stay up-to-date with market trends and pricing to avoid overpaying.
Hunt in the Right Places
Knowing where to look is half the battle. Some of the best deals can be found in less obvious places.
And sometimes, even the state you are in can play a difference in the pricing of antiques you’ll find at thrift stores, flea markets, and Facebook Marketplace.
Here are a few places to check out.
- Local Estate Sales: Estate sales often offer a treasure trove of antiques. Attend them early for the best selection.
- Flea Markets: Flea markets are hotspots for affordable finds. Be prepared to haggle.
- Thrift Shops: Don’t underestimate thrift shops; they can be a source of hidden gems.
- Online Auctions: Online platforms like eBay and specialized antique auction websites can yield excellent finds. Just be sure to research sellers and item authenticity.
- Antique Shows and Fairs: Attend antique shows and fairs, where you’ll find a curated selection of high-quality items.
Inspect Closely: The Devil is in the Details
One of the biggest secrets of successful antiquing is to thoroughly inspect the items you’re considering. Look for signs of authenticity and potential issues.
- Check for Wear and Age: Authentic antiques often have signs of wear and age. However, extreme wear might suggest a reproduction.
- Examine Materials: Understand the materials commonly used during the period you’re interested in. Authentic pieces will be made from these materials.
- Seek Expert Opinions: Don’t hesitate to consult experts, especially for high-value items. Their knowledge can be invaluable. I have taken photos and sent pics to my more experienced thrifting friends to get their take on what I’m buying and how much I’m spending. This helps not only with the find but also with negotiating at the register.
Bargain with Confidence: Haggling is Expected
Antiquing etiquette often includes some friendly haggling. Don’t be shy to negotiate the price. Here’s how to approach it the next time you are thrifting around.
- Start Low: Begin with a price lower than what you’re willing to pay. This leaves room for negotiation.
- Be Polite: Maintain a friendly and respectful attitude. It can go a long way in negotiations.
- Know When to Walk Away: Sometimes, it’s best to walk away if a deal doesn’t seem fair. There are always more opportunities. You have to be OK with this, particularly if you have a strict budget you need to abide by.
Get a Second Opinion: Authentication Matters
For high-value antiques, consider getting an expert’s opinion on authenticity. They can provide detailed assessments and appraisals, helping you avoid fakes.
Don’t be afraid to take a picture and send to someone you know who has more knowledge than you about a piece.
This will keep you from overpaying and understanding the worth of your vintage find.
Trust Your Instincts: Listen to Your Gut
Sometimes, your instincts can be your best guide. If something doesn’t feel right, whether it’s the deal, the seller, or the item itself, trust your gut.
I learned this lesson a long time ago from dating before meeting my husband. And I apply it to everything that I do.
If my gut says something isn’t right or isn’t worth it, I go with it. It has been right every single time.
Keep Learning: The Journey Never Ends
Antiquing is a continuous learning process. Embrace the adventure, and understand that your knowledge will grow over time.
Don’t beat yourself up if you should have bought something but didn’t realize how valuable it was or maybe you left it behind because you just didn’t want to pay the seller’s price.
We’ve all been there, it happens and it’s part of the journey.
Antiquing in Waco, Texas
Since I’ve been traveling around a lot, you would not believe how dissimilar the thrifting and antique shops are in different states.
Here in New Jersey, we don’t have the best flea markets, thrift stores, and antique shops, so when I get out of the area, I LOVE to thrift around for unique items for both my garden and home.
Recently, I had the best time after a conference I was attending with some of my blogging besties. Since we are each from different areas of the country, we decided to spend a whole day kicking around Waco together after the conference and seeing all that it has to offer.
We found ourselves at this incredible thrift store with lots of antiques and vintage pieces you’ve got to see!
Wait until you see the cool stuff we found while thrifting around!
Ok the glassware that we found here was stunning. I wish I could find this stuff local to me, but it’s just not there.
At least not in this kind of volume.
Just walking around I could visualize new tablescapes I could do with each piece. The only problem is, I live nowhere near Texas so I’d have a hard time getting these home.
Yes I could ship and stuff but I didn’t have a car and we were leaving the next day. There just wasn’t time for that. So for this antiquing adventure, it was all about looking.
The amber glassware was really stunning. You have to get a better look at it up close.
Wouldn’t this look amazing on a fall table or even a beautiful Christmas table with lots of pretty neutrals and golds like I decorate with last year?
I love all the pretty details on these and would have bought them if I had a way of getting them home! $20 for 6 pieces was a great deal.
But I also LOVED these vintage sherbert glasses. Isn’t that the prettiest shade of green?
It would be lovely on a spring themed table or even one for Christmas. I probably would have opted for the amber ones first, but these come in a close second.
I love this kind of vintage bling.
If you are a fan of milk glass, there was so much here!
From vases to beautiful bowls and goblets, the shop was filled with different collections.
My good friend Anne from Simply 2 Moms was hunting around to add to her collection and I think she even brought a few items home with her.
I unfortunately did not check a bag while traveling, so I could only fit what I could fit in my carryon and didn’t want to risk traveling with fragile items like these.
I have never seen so much jadeite all in one place! We just don’t have shops with these kind of collections where I live.
And when we do?
It’s crazy expensive.
So I was in love with all of the pieces here. This one was my favorite and I seriously considered bringing it home with me.
But ultimately, I decided not to travel with it. If I had time, I would have shipped this one. Isn’t it gorgeous? I love the color variations and details.
Ok this was my all time favorite and I really wanted to buy this. Couldn’t you see this in my home?
From the flowers in the painting to the gorgeous frame, I needed this piece!
There was no way I was walking back to the hotel with it and the shop wouldn’t ship it so, it had to stay but if I find a painting like this more local to where I live, I am buying it!
Other Vintage Finds
This little antique store had so much to offer. I mean look at this crystal floor lamp? I would have bought this too! It’s beautiful.
I also loved that oval gold vintage frame too. And what a great way to dispaly it on those louvre doors.
But you know what the best part was?
The best part was getting to thrift around with the coolest ladies on the earth that I chat with all the time!
We’ve always said…someday we’ll get to go thrifting together.
And this year?
More About Antiquing
Do you love to go antiquing too? What has been your favorite find? I would love to know more in the comments below.
And don’t miss joining my Gardening DIY and Decorating Community on Facebook for more chatter. And follow along there and on Instagram as well. There are behind-the-scenes daily things that I share on Instagram that don’t make it to the blog. Would love to see you there too!
If you prefer to binge-watch Bricks ’n Blooms on TV, we go more in-depth with tours and posts on my YouTube channel. Would love to hang out with you there!
And… If you’re catching up on blog posts you may have missed, be sure to sign-up to get my newest posts via email to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here on the blog and more.
Let’s See What My Friends Found Thrifting This Month!
My good friends also went thrifting this month to decorate their home and garden spaces.
Wait until you see what they found!
My good friend Jennifer from Cottage on Bunker Hill shared some cool tips for transforming second-hand finds into gorgeous home decor.
She has a real knack for making things better than they ever were, so I can’t wait to hear all about how she decorated her home with them for fall.
My good friend Lora from Lora Bloomquist shared her tips for decorating a hutch with a collected look.
Lora has a real eye for thrifted collections and vintage decor, so her tips for decorating the hutch with be invaluable.
Wait until you see how she pulled this gorgeous look together!
And finally, my good friend Kim from Shiplap and Shells just got home from an incredible boating adventure for like 3 weeks!
And I know she’s been busy decorating her cute beach cottage home for fall.
This month, she’s sharing some tips for decorating with vintage copper in the kitchen. Wait until you see how she gets a fall vibe using antique copper in her home.
Want to Learn How to Grow Flowers With Ease?
If you’ve always wanted to grow flowers with ease, I got you. I wrote a book that shares all the things you need to know to grow a beautiful and easy-care flower garden.
What’s In the Bricks ‘n Blooms Guide?
- Gardening basics to set you up for success
- Great garden design ideas with ready-made plans for you to follow
- Easy-care instructions for a wide variety of flowering annuals, perennials, and shrubs
- Helpful how-tos for container and cut flower gardening
- Graphs, charts, and lists to help you stay organized
My book publishes on Febuary 6, 2024, but you can preorder now and get a special pre-order bonus chapter you can’t get when the preorder period closes.
Order your copy here and save your preorder number to get the bonus content when it becomes available.
Garden Supplies I Use
I’m often asked about the garden supplies and tools that I use most. From pruners to deer repellents, here are some of my favorites in no particular order.
- I like to use a good-quality, potting soil, garden soil, compost, and perlite when planting. While I make my own compost, you can easily buy it ready-made for use.
- I have used this deer repellent with great success. But now, I’m all about this deer repellent that is systemic instead of topical. This means the plant takes it in as opposed to it just smelling bad.
- Hands down this is my favorite hand-weeding tool. You can use it to get underneath roots and loosen soil, and it cuts down on the weeding time because you work much faster.
- But I also love this long, stand-up weeding tool to really get around roses from afar.
- I use THIS ORGANIC FERTILIZER for roses because the blooms are more prolific and it’s organic.
- And I use this organic fertilizer for my vegetables and herbs in the potager garden.
- You’ll need a sharp set of pruners when working with plants and flowers. I buy a few so I can stash them around.
- I use these garden snips to deadhead and cut flowers from my gardens.
- Where pest and disease problems are concerned, if I need to, I generally use this insecticidal soap or neem oil to help control infestations depending on the issue. When using, only apply when pollinators are less active.
- This is my favorite set-and-forget slow-release fertilizer for houseplants, annuals, and container gardens.
- Whenever I stake my peonies or other plants, I generally use these grow-through garden supports because they work really well and keep the blooms upright.
Sign Me Up!
Sign up for my free newsletter to get blog posts, seasonal tips, recipes, and more delivered straight to your inbox!
Plus, get free VIP access to my Resource Library where you’ll find insider freebies not readily available to the public.
Thank you so much for following along.
Enjoy a beautiful day! xo
Want to learn more about me?
Get the inside scoop about my background, education, and experience, as well as why I started blogging.