Tuesday , 4 August 2020
Thrift stores are great if you shop around. You can find glassware, vintage toys, cut / pressed glass, sterling silverware, vases / planters, cast iron and more if you have a keen eye.

So you Want to be a Picker? Here are 12 Killer Places to Find Vintage Items


Wooden Nickel Worth Five- Nuismatic Appraiser Advertising- Temple City California

Where Do I Find my Vintage Stock?

My name is  Shawn Underwood. I’m a picker. After posting my last story, I came to the realization that I pretty much know nothing about picking. Sigh. But as luck would have it and after my article came out in Handmadeology, I heard from Sally (VintageOnTheRidge) who not only offered to help me identify some of my items but directed me to a picking class. I love the camaraderie of the Etsy community : ) So without further ado I’ll pass on my local knowledge and my cheat sheet from the first section of the online class; “So you Want to be a Picker” www.udemy.com/make_money_picking/

1. Thrift stores are great if you shop around. You can find glassware, vintage toys, cut / pressed glass, sterling silverware, vases / planters, cast iron and more if you have a keen eye. I have found that charity thrift stores are the best for finding hidden treasures. The best time to bargain shop at thrift store is Tuesday – Thursday. During the weekends, thrift stores are swamped, and they usually don’t put out new merchandise until Mondays afternoons, or Tuesday morning. Look what I found at Barking Basement in Hailey, Idaho, a thrift store that gives 100% of profits to keep and adopt out homeless animals. https://www.etsy.com/listing/119181675/vintage-cyclone-seeder-farmhouse-decor

2. Check out www.auctionzip.com.  Attend only live auctions that have no minimum bids on items. Obviously this would have to be somewhere close to your hometown unless you want to ship purchases home—kind of defeats the purpose of saving money! I’ve not actually been to a live auction but I plan to follow this great lead. The auctionzip website lists auction dates on a calendar it’s super easy to figure out.

3. Estate and yard sales on Craigslist or local paper. I know I know Craig’s list can be a bit dicey. I recently searched out a Craig’s list ad, and after tromping through someone’s backyard in the rain and mud and a dog was barking and nipping at my boots . .  . I came across a hoarder goldmine!!! Kind of spooky going down those basement stairs but it was worth it!!! However, in hindsight I think I’ll bring a friend with me. Two is better than one when fending off a barking dog!

4. Try not to go to “dealer sales” since they typically sell at full price. Hmmm. I’ve been to quite a few  “dealer sales” and I’ve found some great stuff at reasonable prices. It pays to return on Sunday, typically the last day of sale because items are usually at least half off. Obviously some dealers have better prices than others. I like “Going Going Gone” dealers in Seattle.

5. Look for “estate fresh” items at liquidation prices. Huh? After further review I learned; “Estate fresh” = estate sale with NO DEALER or middleman. Obviously, better prices.

6. Offer “free in-home evaluations” for people who can’t get out. There is no fricking way I would do this . . . I may tromp through peoples backyards but I draw the line at “Free in-home evaluations”.

7. Go through “for sale” items in classified. Call about item and ask if they have anything else for you to look at. Interesting idea. But again, I’d bring a friend if I were to actually going to go to someone’s home.

8. Offer “clean out” services. Offer your time and labor to clean out the attic or basement. It’s possible you will find an old trunk full of antique maps a basement full of skeletons.  Don’t go to a home where you need a dumpster. This is definitely a last resort idea to find treasures. Again, not something I would do.

9. Sign up for www.estatesales.net. I often find good sales on this website and not all are dealer sales.

10. Set up a page on www.iantique.com  I did this but thus far I’m not a fan of the website because it’s overwhelming. I need to dig in a bit more to figure it out.

11. Outdoor flea markets. Try and find the “once a month” dealers who are looking to make some quick cash. My Craig’s list basement lady (#4) was a flea market dealer looking to clear out some of her stuff at bargain prices!

12. Try misspellings when typing your item into Google to lessen the competition and have a better chance at getting the item you are looking for at the lowest price possible. I found this idea on the Internet. Brilliant!


Please feel free to submit ideas or comments about how YOU find your stock for your vintage store : )



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Etsy shops: ozarksfinds & OzarksDollFinds
    Re: #6 I give “show and tell appraisals” rather than free ones. Since I’m not a licensed appraiser I will take value guides with me. If what they have is in the guide, I will show it to them. Or, I use my smart phone and look up prices for them that way. I don’t charge them “money” for my services, but I do charge “an item or items” that they don’t want. We look at what they have up front (before appraising), and I say I will look items up for you for one hour for this item. If I go over one hour, you can either give me another item (of my choice) or pay me at the rate of $30. an hour. Most times they are very happy to give me unwanted items for my services. Once I got a $100. antique majolica plate and was thrilled to get it.

  2. Hey! From a vintage girl thanks for the tips! I haven’t heard of auction zip but I’m off to check it out!

  3. Hey Shawn! Great article, and thanks so much for the linky love! I don’t pick antiques very much anymore (except for the picking I do from my own stash in the basement and attic from all my years of antiques dealing) but I used to love to go to tag sales and to buy estates or portions of estates. Estate buying can be a great thing — an excellent opportunity to “bundle” purchases. Family members are anxious to get rid of the stuff and if you offer to take it all, or take a bunch, they are usually more than willing to make a deal. Always be as fair as possible – it can be tempting to low ball prices because folks don’t realize what they have, but karma will catch up with you in the end. Offer fair dealer prices based on the item and condition. Keep a log of your offers and the items as you go through the house. Your reputation as a fair dealer will carry you a lot farther than that extra $20 you might save. Let them know what something is if they aren’t sure and give an explanation for why you are making a particular offer; e.g., the offer is low because of chips, cracks, or general losses. Have Fun and Happy Picking!

  4. shawn underwood

    Love the comments. Thanks everyone :)

    Better late than never for thank you’s . . .



  5. I have done some collecting and am interested in becoming a full time picker,any info appreciated

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>