A Treasured Day

Antique bracelet

Dale and I have always loved to go “junking,” that is to antique stores and flea markets. I’ve always loved vintage stuff.

Since we moved to Our Little House, of course, we don’t buy a lot because of space issues.

But when we need or want something, we always ask ourselves if we can get something old and give it a new life.

I’ve always loved history; I had the most fascinating history teachers in college that I chose it as my minor.

I not only like having my mother’s antiques, many of which bring back fond memories of my childhood – or even the day my parents scored the item at an auction – antiques serve an environmental purpose as well.

They allow us to recycle and reuse, giving a home and new purpose to something that doesn’t require more materials, draining the earth’s resources of more energy and creating more greenhouse gasses in packaging and shipping (typically from China).

Last month, when my friend and Living Large reader Kathleen Winn visited, I took her to one of our favorite antique malls here, of which there are many.

True, we are in a recreational area and sometimes the prices are higher than can be found online or at stores in other areas, but this mall has such a great selection, we can usually find something we would like to take home (although we confine our purchases to what we need and is functional in our small space).

We found a couple of our cast iron cookware pieces at this store, as well as my vintage red and white wooden handled cooking utensils.

When I was with Kathleen, I fell in love with a vintage antique bracelet. During our next visit, when Dale was with me and we took his parents while they were visiting, I pointed out the bracelet.

It ended up being my anniversary present. I know nothing about it, although I’m pretty sure it is costume jewelry, I have no idea how old it is or where it came from. That’s part of the fun, imagining who had it first and if it was once before given as a special birthday, holiday or anniversary gift.

When we went to get it out of lay-away a couple of weeks ago, it was one of the very few rainy Saturdays we had this summer, so we spent a couple of hours going up and down the aisles, checking out the new stock in everyone’s booths.

Dale found a Made in USA potato peeler and a wood tool for his new woodworking hobby. I’m so glad he enjoys this as much as I do.

A treasured day indeed.

Do you buy second hand? Do you have a favorite store?

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18 Responses

  1. I love second hand goods. No new packaging to end up in the landfill and you can usually get higher quality second hand items than you could buy with the same amount of money buying new.

    • Kerri says:

      My husband is always on the lookout for little kitchen gadgets and not only do we usually find something of higher quality for the same cost or cheaper than new, it is usually also always made in the USA!

  2. Merr says:

    I’ve discovered that the older the community, the better the wealth of goodies to find at these shops (and garage sales)…on average anyway. It can be so much fun, too.

    • Kerri says:

      In addition to being a recreational area, it is also a community with a large number of retirees, so maybe that is why the picking is good!

  3. Irene says:

    So nice that you found that lovely bracelet! Part of the joy is finding the thing you want amongst everything else. I love browsing antique shops, too!

  4. Heather L. says:

    I’ve never been able to get into antiqueing. I don’t know why. I prefer shiny and new but I think there’s room for both kinds of shoppers on the planet.

  5. Vida says:

    Hi Kerri, this is what I miss, living in the countryside in Greece. In Madrid we used to love going to the “Rastro” a huge flea market on Sundays. We furnished our apartment with Rastro finds very cheaply before the trend caught on. Our apartment was unique and funky. We also used to get tons of stuff from construction dumpsters, people would throw out amazing things when renovating their apartments. Now I have huge difficulty obtaining original looking details for our house: lighting fixtures, cookware, dishes, storage tins etc. SOOOO miss second handing!

    • Kerri says:

      Oh, I would miss it if we didn’t have someplace to go. Whenever we travel, we also look for the vintage stores!

  6. Sheryl says:

    I love going antique shopping, but stay away from it now, since we are trying to downsize. But is is lots of fun!

  7. Alexandra says:

    I love to go vintage shopping. Fortunately, my hubby does, too. It’s so much more fun to do thrift shops with a friend. The best time to go here on Cape Cod is late spring, before the crowds.

    • Kerri says:

      Since we live in a tourist area, that’s a good time for us too. Actually, early spring, when the spring fishing tournaments start.

  8. There is a great little shop we visit a couple of times a year like this – different booths owned by different people. I’ve bought some really neat things there. I inherited a lot of my grandmother’s things and what I really like doing is finding a way to use her vintage costume jewelry in unique ways. I have a necklace that is a double strand choker, that I wear as a single strand necklace. I have a small pin I wear as a barrette.

    • Kerri says:

      I do love vintage jewelry, Brette! I have a necklace made from an earring that belonged to my great grandmother.

  9. Kerri says:

    That’s a good policy, Laura. We do the same. Right now, we have a bunch of athletic shoes that we no longer wear. They are worn and I’m sure not in good condition for the thrift store. I wonder what to do with the? I just hate throwing them in the trash.

  10. Laura says:

    I absolutely purchase second hand, and I’m not opposed to picking up something from a neighbor’s Friday trash pile, when we’re at our suburban townhome vs. the cottage. There’s so much that is thrown away, and we make sure that anything that we no longer use (that is useable) goes back to my favorite thrift store (our suburban Salvation Army).