Guest Post by Cori Kindred: Buying Vintage

cori kindred here, back to talk about one of my favorite things: thrifting. after the holidays i get slightly overwhelmed by all of the obligatory materialism and tend to gravitate towards purchasing more second-hand things, due to two reasons: the huge difference in quality and the environmental aspects and wastefulness of our current disposable society. i cringe when i see a house full of ikea when there are amazing, unique vintage pieces to be found for a comparable price that will far outlast big box products. plus, it's such a rush when you find that one thing ~ something you've never seen before and just have to take home with you. and it can be so inexpensive! my favorite kind of treasure hunt.

i don't pretend to be any kind of expert, but i have discovered a few things in my many years of buying second hand:

~ don't get so overwhelmed by excitement that you forget to do a thorough quality check. i once brought home what i thought was the perfect bookshelf just to discover that it reeked of cigarette smoke. make sure to test the structure, look for stains and try out all the moving parts.

~ if it needs repairs be realistic - is it something you'll actually get fixed? even something dirt cheap is a waste of money, energy and space if it's just going to be buried in a closet until you eventually throw it out.

~ on the other hand, if it's something you can't see going home without (and it's not going to break the bank) then you should probably go for it. i put these things in my basket until i'm done shopping then see if i'm still as excited about it as i was when i first spotted it. if i'm going to be sad leaving it behind then i pretty much don't have a choice.

~ garage sales can be good, thrift stores are great, but estate sales are frequently the jackpot. they tend to run fridays through sundays and the last day is usually half off (great deals to be found!). bring cash and don't try to bargain on the first day of the sale - wait until the second day or come back when everything is half off.

~ the more useful the better. it's hard to have buyer's remorse when you actually use the item every day. a lovely blue mason jar collection can hold pastas and beans in your pantry. pretty flat sheets can be curtains when hung with cafe clips. they might need a few small repairs, but vintage cameras and typewriters can be more than just eye candy. plus your grandparents would be so proud!

~ only buy things you love. it took me a long time to learn this because it's hard to turn down a deal, but i'm so much happier with a house full of things i adore rather than just things i liked that were cheap.

happy new year, and happy thrifting!!
my vintage shop: mushroom & moss

Jan Halvarson


Judith of Felicity Crew said...

This week I checked out a wonderful vintage clothes shop here in Vienna, and I guess I might become a frequent customer. Thanks for sharing your tips!

Anonymous said...

Great post, thrifting is definitely the way forward!
I've started writing a column on thrify finds on my blog, as well a post on similar shopping tips here:
Hannah x

chelsea said...

beautiful post, cori!! + great tips:)

Katie J said...

can you share what you plan to do with those old photos you found? I have these great baby photos from the late 1800s that I found while thrifting--but now I can't think of what to do with them! i don't want them to keep sitting in a box!


Unknown said...

i live in northern france where i work as an artist/antique dealer; i am with you on the ethics of 'thrifting'. i have not bought anything 'new' for the last 15 years! and here, near lille, there are fabulous street brocantes to trawl for treasures. vive la thrift...

Stephanie R. said...

great advice- thanks for this post!

how do you find out about estate sales?

anni said...

What u said about being realistic with the repairing plans, is so true! I have lots of stuff from skirts tho shelfs, that i just havent had the time to repair like i promised.
On the other hand, after establishing my own company and started making products out of wrecked wintage textiles i keep to be suprised how much i can make out of something totaly useless :)
I would love to see some of ur favorite finds!

kalanicut said...

How did you know I've been itching for a thrift store extravaganza after the holidays. haa-haa. My home is almost entirely thrift store furnished. Some looks vintage, some modern. So much fun to pull it all together at such amazingly low cost! You're tips are great ones.

Moon to Moon said...

I totally agree, in fact I just did a post a couple of hours ago on pretty much the same thing - and in the past have also posted Cori's pictures.
Love your blog

cori said...

thanks for the kind comments! katie, i keep my photos in a pretty old box out for people to look through. they'd also be lovely in small vintage frames all on the same wall.
stephanie, there's a great local website that lists estate sales every week. if you don't have that i'd contact i'd contact estate sale companies directly to see if they have an email list.
anni, i'm planning on posting more vintage finds on my blog soon :)

kara rane said...

love your vintage finds! & agree 100% on second hand items, good for the environment-etc.
also many small thrift stores support local charities and benefit the community directly,,,another great reason to shop and redefine old treasures.
ps. old photos can be carefully decoupage (on an old trunk or box) or try using antique jars (mason-etc) and place small photos inside- very cute on a bookshelf.