Well, I'm off to my favorite consignment shop today. I love this place. It’s in a not too cool suburb south of Boston. It gets great stuff, and offers the stuff at great prices. Dealers always check it out because the marked prices are reasonable enough to allow for markups. Also, the other shoppers, most of whom are NOT dealers, are usually there for newer stuff, so the competition is not overwhelming.
It’s the gold mine where I got my two alligator purses and tons of other stuff. I find it usually takes me about an hour and a half to to through the place. And often it is on the second round, when I find the good stuff I missed the first go-round.
Here is my RECIPE FOR SUCCESSFUL JUNKING:
1. Go into a shop loaded with stuff. You want a place that has a lot of turn over and a constant stream of stuff coming in every week. Look for a shop that has newer used goods, as well as old. Better for it NOT to be in an urban setting. You want the kind of place where Mr. and Mrs. We-like-new-stuff think of when they want to unload the contents of Grandma’s house, collect the money, and buy more new stuff.
2. Walk into a place like a hungry mother lion on the lookout for fresh meat for her cubs. You know--get that glint in your eye. Be real hungry. Lick your chops. Be alert for small objects. Look unstoppable. But be polite and don’t push. If you have that intense “directed” look, people will get out of your way without being pushed or shoved. You’ll look slightly crazed and they won’t want to get too close. ALWAYS SMILE. That makes you look REALLY NUTS and the other hunters and gatherers will smell danger and inch away.
3. On the first walk around, do a fast scan, but try to do a pretty complete scan. Obviously good stuff will pop out and you can begin to make a pile of your finds.
4. Then (MOST IMPORTANT) go in for the zoom shots. It’s the zoom shots that usually yield the great finds. Move things on shelves. Look under tables. Look up. Sometimes good stuff is hanging from the ceiling. I just got an 18th century single chair that was hanging from the ceiling. I tend to find my best stuff in the last 15 minutes I am shopping. Like: Lilac Fiesta ware, Wallace Nutting hand colored photos, hand blown glass art, alligator bags, great vintage cookie jars, old noise makers, old toys in original boxes, etc. I did pass on a decoupaged Elvis and I am still kicking myself. But I don’t think I was channeling his spirit back then.
5. Don’t shop alone. It is much more fun if you go with a buddy to do this. I take my MOM. She is my best shopping buddy. We egg each other on and have for years. It is very important to have a good junking buddy when you go junking. Good finds seem that much better when someone else says, “Oh! That’s great!” In fact it is SO important, I think I will blog about that next.
6. If your first instinct is to buy, look carefully. Make sure it does not have damage you can’t deal with. Make sure it IS What you think it is (not a repro) and then buy it. Someone else now has my decoupaged Elvis, that I picked up several times and then put back down. I still think about the good stuff I let get away over the last 30 years I have been junking.
Most of all: Have fun! It’s only junk. It's decorating on the cheap. As long as you are not spending grocery money to satisfy the fix, and your family is safe and warm, enjoy yourself. Life is too short to not do that.