03 January 2013

Vintage Shopping - How to Plan Your Own Awesome Road Trip

vintage shopping via homeologymodernvintage.com
Yay!!!  Thursday I'm headed on a two-day shopping excursion as I travel with Mr {H}.  Shopping trips are a real highlight of the business and are get-aways we look forward to {you can check out our road trip finds from last summer here}.  I mean, what's better than hitting the open road with your best friend while scouring numerous markets, thrift stores, and the homes of unknown strangers along the way? The only thing I can think of  might be getting to keep all the finds for myself.  But, alas, that isn't practical and would be a tad selfish of me!

But a good buying trip takes a little planning beforehand.  Having a plan and a box of necessary items makes the trip so much more productive, cost-effective, and infinitely less stressful.

If you're in the market for some character pieces for yourself and are ready to take a road trip of your own, I've put together a list of items I've found to be imperative for your buying trip to be as stress-free & productive as it possibly can.  This list will come in handy whether you have an entire home to fill or just a few pieces for that room redesign you're working on.

This is your perfect opportunity to go on a buying trip where you'll find amazing things - things you wont find in your local big box furniture store.  It's an exciting adventure & one which you're sure to find unique & one-of-a-kind treasures!

Map out your Trip

As much fun as it may sound to "free-style," I find it much more productive to have a map of the route you plan to take and a list of the shops along that route.  This sounds easy enough, but for me it's often the most difficult because it takes planning {ugggh!}.  Then I get frustrated because 90% of the shops I found using an online site have closed down - a huge waste of time!  But, since my goal here is to take away the shopping stress, I'm sharing my two favorite on-line sites with you, my peeps.  Check out Antiques Malls Online and Antique Week for an on-line listing of shops in any particular area.  I've found them to be the best resources for reliablity.

And once you've gotten yourself into a local shop, look for brochures advertising other local shops {they often like to promote each other and will be very current}.  After that, you can always ask the staff for nearby recommendations.  However, I find it only polite to reserve this "favor" for shops where I've actually made a purchase.  It just seems rude otherwise.

Lists aren't just for the Novice

Seriously, don't leave home without the list of items you plan to shop for.  Trust me when I say it's easy to get distracted by all the beautiful!!!  The list can be absolute {as when the hub's asks for a roll top desk} or inspirational {as in "a pretty table to sit under the window"} - either way, don't leave home without a list!

Also, have with you the measurements of the walls in the rooms.  And if you're shopping for a piece of artwork, measure the particular architectural details on the designated wall {such as the fireplace and/or the wall size surrounding the fireplace}.

There is usually a no-return policy in vintage stores, so don't make the mistake of purchasing an hugely ornate Empire secretary when a low-profile mid-century design would have been a much better size.  No matter how much you love it, it has to fit when you get it home!

A Tool Box is a Girl's Best Friend

I carry with me a small tool box containing the following:
  • a measure tape
  • dust wipes {i.e., Pledge wipes} to show the true patina underneath those years of grime
  • a camera
  • a level {trust me, before you make the purchase you want to be sure it's the floor that's not level & not the piece of furniture that has rotted legs}
  • pen & paper so you can note that potential item at a particular store {you'll never remember where it was later}
  • a magnet for determining solid brass & sterling {neither are magnetic}
  • swatches & color chips of the room(s) your buying for.

Gain Bargaining Power with the Power of Cash!

And last, but not least, carry cash!  Antiques markets are more likely to offer a discount if you're willing to pay with cash or check, so take advantage of this bargaining power.  Credit cards come with a host of fees which have to be absorbed by the seller.  If you can eliminate those fees, the seller is 90% more likely to reduce the price by 10% or more.  That can add up to quite a bit and is definitely worth it!

As I became more experienced in the glorious adventure of buying trips, I honed my buying finesse along the way.  By having a few absolutes on hand, my shopping experience has become a perfectly executed dance.  I suppose I could do my vintage shopping online, but the thrill isn't the same.  And when you're buying a bulk of vintage online shopping isn't very practical.  I find the old-school version much more to my liking.  You'll meet some very interesting characters, and perhaps even a few new friends along the way!

If you'd like to follow along with us on our road trip, connect with us on any of our social media sites at GooglePlus, Facebook, and Instagram.  We'd love to have you along for the ride!



  1. This is an awesome guide Sarah! I would love to one day have an online store or boutique that I would to take sourcing trips for, what fun! Those tool box tips are excellent! I would have never thought to bring a level or a magnet!


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