Weekly Blooms – Tips for Shopping Vintage Markets Like a Pro

This week for Weekly Blooms I wanted to share more about shopping vintage markets! I keep promising you guys that I will share tips on how to find the very best treasures at these gold mines and today that is exactly what I am going to do! For the most part, all of these tips can apply to not only vintage markets but also flea markets, thrift stores, antique shops, and anywhere else you shop for one of a kind items.

The more I share the different rooms in our home, the more you are probably seeing a common theme. We mix found, gathered, and new items to make each room uniquely ours. I truly believe that each room in your home speaks your family’s story and it so important to add special pieces that tell that story. For us, one of our favorite things to do as a family is to shop barn sales, flea markets, and vintage markets. We always leave with stories from the day usually having to do with the amount of cupcakes we had to purchase for the boys, or the shelves of pottery the boys almost knocked over. But when I look at the items in our home, it reminds me of those family days spent looking for treasures. And I know as the boys get older those days will be few and far between.

Over the years, I have learned that having a successful trip at a vintage market takes a bit of strategy. It’s not like your typical shopping experience where there are many more of the same item in the back, but that’s also what makes it that much more fun! I have been sharing some of my favorite finds in our new home over the past few weeks, and wanted to share tips on how we snagged these beauties!

  1. Arrive Early For the Best Items – Many vintage markets offer Friday night shopping parties, the evening before the event. While these tickets cost more than if you were to wait until the following day, this is your in to scoring the very best items! And bonus you can then use that ticket to go back the next day, once the vendors restock. I have never done the night before shopping party (because #momlife), but I do find it a MUST to get to the market right when it opens. We usually arrive 10-15 minutes before the doors open to make sure we are one of the first people browsing all the treasures!
  2. Arrive Later for Better Deals – If you don’t have specific items in mind, or you are more of a casual thrifter than later in the day may be better for you! A lot of the really great finds could be sold out, but this is when the really big deals happen! Many dealers drive from out of state, and the last thing they want to do is load their trucks back up with unsold stuff. I have found later in the day vendors are incredibly negotiable.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Barter – In a nice way! I’m always shocked how accommodating some dealers can be, especially if I am purchasing a few items from there booth.
    We snagged this vintage fireplace for next to nothing, by simply asking what was the best price they could offer!
  4. Bring Cash – Most markets accept credit cards now, but I always find it best to have cash on hand. Most vendors are more likely to make better deals if you are paying cash. Also, I have found that the credit card machines at markets move incredibly slowww, so if you are on the hunt for something special this could slow you down!
  5. Make a List – It is so easy to get distracted at these big markets between the beautiful booths, people, music, and food. It’s a whole lot to take in! I always take a minute before heading out to the market to jot down the main items I am looking for. For example at this last one, I had my eye out for crocks, locker baskets, and spindles. I found almost all of them immediately because I was really locking in on those items (see them below!). But also keep your eyes open because you never know what you may find at these markets!
  6. If you see something you love, buy it! – Okay, so I have learned this one the hard way and it’s kind of a balancing act. Should you go around purchasing every single item you love? Probably not (but all the power to you if your budget allows this!). But if you see an item that is on your list, or truly speaks to you than I say go for it! I take a minute to envision where I would put the piece in our home and if I can’t immediately think of a place, I ask myself “Will I find a spot for it?”. If the answer is yes I purchase it! The price usually really dictates my decision too. This piece below is a perfect example of that. I laid eyes on this cabinet at the Old House Vintage market a few weeks ago. It was love at first sight. I showed it to my husband and when we saw it was $100, we just couldn’t pass it up. Well, as we were purchasing it, at least 8 other people tried to grab it too. In this case, had we hesitated a moment longer it would have been gone!
  7. Pay for your item, then come back for it – Don’t waste time taking items to your car when you could be out hunting! Also because these markets are usually tight, it’s much easier to shop with your hands free. Most vendors are more than happy to keep your items until you are done shopping. Especially at vintage markets, the big furniture items are used as staging props, so they’d prefer you wait till you leave to grab them.
  8. Think outside the box – Don’t pass up one of a kind items because they aren’t perfect. Many times you can find amazing deals on unpainted furniture at these markets. With a little creative thinking you could end up with a real treasure for super cheap. I always find that the pieces that have already been painted are really pricey, so I usually skip those, and go for the piece that is cheaper and needs some work.
  9. Browse through more than once – Like I mentioned above these markets are so visually stimulating, you should definitely go through at least twice. I usually circle around 3 times! My first time around I am all business. I know that the best items go fast, so I really concentrate that first time around and make purchases fast on items I love. The second time around I am more casual, and usually find one or two items that I missed the first time and am excited about. By the third time, I am just making sure I didn’t miss anything or if there is an item I am still thinking about and it is still there I will grab it. For example, my husband saw this “Stay Wild” sign for our son’s room as we were leaving a market!
  10. Ask about delivery – We have a huge suburban so I have never run into this, but don’t pass on a really unique one of a kind item just because it doesn’t fit in your car. Many vendors will deliver it to your home (if you are local) for a small additional fee.

Ahh, this post made me ready to go do some thrifting! Whatever you have planned for the weekend, I hope it is a great one. As always, thanks so much for stopping by!

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Hi, I'm Jess. Soon to be mom of three and lover of all things decor and design. Follow along as we renovate our newly bought farmhouse one room at at time, and welcome baby #3. So happy you are here!


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