Since we started house shopping early last Spring I have become (even more) addicted to flea market shopping. The thing I love about flea markets, antique malls and vintage stores is that the selection is somewhat curated. Here are a few tips and tricks I have learned along the way!In the past I was guilty of snatching up every single cute find and good deal I could find. When we were preparing to move I did a major declutter, donating and giving away hundreds of pieces of clothing and housewares. It wasn't easy, and the experience changed my perspective on shopping forever. Now when I go into a flea market I look for super special items. I search for things that I've never seen before, that are unique or a special fit with my style and pieces that have personality and versatility. I learned to say no to items that are "pretty cute". This is the single most important tip that I would give to anyone who loves vintage and flea markets. It's easy to over-shop. Saying no is important. With this new habit I feel like I am getting more out of the flea market shopping experience. I come home with less and in return I have less clutter and appreciate each item I buy so much more!Regular shopping trips are key, especially when you are shopping for something in particular. I spent several months searching for this simple side table and this industrial cart. For whatever reason it's difficult to find that one thing you are really shopping for. Quick weekly visits to your favorite spots will increase your chances of finding that perfect something. I also stay organized by keeping a wishlist in my planner and keeping phone photos of my unfinished rooms that still need major pieces or wall decor.I am a huge list maker. I mentioned above that I keep a wishlist in my planner. This is for items that I may have waited a long time to find. I have lots of items that I would love to find but don't actually need on this list. Long term "dream finds" are fun to search for. It's also important to keep an open mind. Sometimes when I am shopping for a certain piece of furniture for my home, I find something completely different I love even more. Remember to keep your eyes open for possibilities. There is usually more than one way to accomplish the look and feel you want to create in a space.I will be the first to admit the "fixer upper" items tempt me. I see a broken shelf or a chair with ripped upholstery and my first thought is ReStyle! While this is attitude great, there have been too many times when I brought a less-than-perfect item home only to let it collect dust in my basement for the next year or two. A solution that works for me is to only buy imperfect pieces that I plan to ReStyle immediately. If I can't wait to get started then I buy it. If I know I won't get to it for a while, then I don't.A big question when it comes to flea market shopping is, "When should I splurge?" I too keep a thrifty mindset most of the time, but once in a while an item comes along that I would pay nearly any price for. How do you know the difference? For me, it's items I know I will keep forever. Incredible vintage, personality pieces and one-of-a-kind finds. When I see something that I know I'll keep forever, I buy it. This is a rare thing, maybe once a year does it even happen. I definitely think that forever items are worth a splurge!There is a big difference between collecting things and hoarding them. I used to kinda hoard things under the banner of "collecting". Recently, I downsized my collection two ways. 1. I thinned our my collections. If I had 40 vintage scarves I would keep my favorite 10 and donate the rest. I started thinking of collecting from a quality perspective instead of quantity. 2. I evaluated all of my collections. I realized that there were a few things that I didn't really need anymore. There were also a few collections that I called complete, so I won't be adding to them anymore unless I find something insane. That's just a little about how I collect without overdoing it! I honestly feel I am enjoying the things in my home SO much more since starting these new habits.
Thanks so much for reading! I also shared some thrift tips a while back. If you have any questions about flea market shopping, or tips of your own, leave me a comment! xo. Elsie