Hi, I’m Liz. I blog over at The Blue Eyed Owl, about all things vintage, handmade and my life as mom, wife and indie business owner. I work out of my home studio, run an online vintage and handmade shop, and participate in various local shows and markets.
I am also a self proclaimed thrifting expert. Digging through other people's old junk, or as I call it, treasure hunting, is my favorite activity. I hit my local thrifts regularly looking for unique vintage treasures for my shop and home. I'm constantly asked how the heck I find such great stuff. Here are my top 5 tips for thrifting vintage.
1. Go where the old folks are.
Skip that nice clean Goodwill near that new master planned community and head for the retirement homes! It's pretty simple, older people have older things. A lot of them don't understand why us young folks want all their old junk either, so they happily donate to their local thrift thinking it's worthless.
2. Check condition.
This is especially true for vintage clothing. Inspect seams, look for stains, make sure all the parts are there, and test it out. Take this advice with a grain of salt though, sometimes the best pieces are rusty and chippy.
3. Use that smart phone.
Diamond in the rough or just rough? Do some research right there in the store to determine the history of a vintage piece. You can find out when a piece was made and how much it's worth in just a few minutes with good ol' Google.
4. Find that secret spot.
There are a couple of local thrifts that are my secret spots. They are always chock full of vintage so I know there aren't any other vintage hunters that frequent them. When you find these spots visit them often. Enjoy your gold mine before someone else discovers it. I would tell you mine, but then I'd have to kill you ;)
5. Look EVERYWHERE.
When I visit a thrift I search in every section. Sizes are always mixed up, sheets are with the skirts, seasonal items are buried under tools, etc. Some of my greatest finds have been in the wrong place so dig, dig, dig. I once found an antique hat form buried in a pile of baskets...true story!