Amy is the Party at SewTara

Tips & Tricks for Happy Thrifting

Hi, my name is Amy of and I am super-excited to be guest blogging for Tara today. One of my favorite things to do is search for vintage treasures. I am always on the lookout for some Mid-Century furniture with tapered legs, pretty Pyrex, kitschy salt & pepper shakers, and anything else that might catch my eye. I’ve heard that California doesn’t have near the plethora of lovely vintage goodies that the Midwest has. Here, searching out vintage collectibles is like hunting for treasure. I can’t explain the thrill of scoring a rare vintage find.

Sac Antique Faire Finds

Some tips & tricks I’ve discovered for happy thrifting:

* Don’t worry about trying to find items that might be valuable. An item is only valuable if YOU like it.

* Before buying knick-knacks, try to picture them in your home. There’s nothing sadder than coming home with a cute vintage knick-knack only to find you don’t have a place to put it (okay, there are sadder things, but you know what I mean).

* Shop around online first so you have an idea of what fair prices are for the types of items you like.

* Some of the more artfully arranged shops and vendor booths may be priced too high if you are looking for a deal. Look anyway – you might get some ideas for how to display your vintage finds. You might also be pleasantly surprised.

57th Street Antique Mall

* Don’t be afraid to haggle. Often times, vendors will take less for an item. It doesn’t hurt to ask – especially if an items is out of your budget or if you don’t think it’s worth what they are asking. Please do be polite about it.

* The best time to go to an antique faire? There are two right answers (1) right when they open so you have first dibs on “the good stuff” and (2) right before the faire closes because vendors are eager to make last minute sales. Plus many of them do not want to lug items home. This is the BEST time to haggle.



* Do bring wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer. hands can get grimy, during especially thrift store shopping.

* Visit your favorite thrift stores often, and especially on a whim. Sometimes I just get a funny feeling that tells me to stop by, and low and behold, some lovely vintage treasure is waiting for me.

* Have an idea of what you are looking for ahead of time, but you should also be open to unexpected finds.

* If antique faire shopping, don’t forget to bring plenty of cash. And/or set a budget for yourself.

* Always bring a tape measure! And don’t assume that a “small” piece of furniture will fit in your car, unless you are driving a truck. Trust me. I couldn’t fit what I thought was a “small chair” into my compact car. I ended up walking it home 13 blocks!

* Don’t be afraid to visit “antique” stores. Their prices can be quite reasonable on some items. Just be sure to research first because one person’s idea of “antique” may not match your idea of antique. Personally, I love most things from the 50s-70s. An antique store that specializes in mid-century is right up my alley!

treasure hunt

* Consider an items potential. If you don’t like the color, is it something you can paint? Ceramics can be spray-painted, chair pads can be recovered, wood items can be re-finished. Just make sure you are up for the challenge! You don’t want an item sitting in your garage unfinished for a year (or longer).

* Try visiting second-hand stores that are near a neighborhood where a lot of elderly people live. Although I have no idea how you would research that! I lucked out and found one near my work that almost always has some type of tapered leg Mid-Century furniture. Sometimes it’s in good condition, sometimes not.

Tips for decorating with vintage:
* Don’t worry about having everything from your home be in the same style or from the same century. Decorating with vintage accessories and furniture is more about creating a pleasing aesthetic. There’s no need to create a complete replication of a 1950s home (though that would be fun)!

mid-century china cabinet + owl stitchery

* Start a collection. Or two. Or three. I collect milk glass, vintage owls, salt & pepper shakers, and Pyrex.


If you are ever in the neighborhood (Sacramento, CA), here are my all time favorite places to scour for vintage goods (pictured above):

Midway Antique Mall
5130 Madison Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95841

57th Street Antique Mall
875 57th Street
Sacramento, CA 95819-3326

Sacramento Antique Faire
Second Sunday of Every Month
2350 21st St
Sacramento, CA 95818

Thanks, Tara, for inviting me to be your guest! Happy thrifting, everyone!

Amy Cluck

3 Responses to Amy is the Party at SewTara

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