You know the scene. Shelves stacked with antique trinkets, dishware, books, anything you can imagine. Sometimes you’re in danger of tripping over an old painting or gas burner — but it sure is a gorgeous gas burner.
We’ve all been there. We have all experienced that overwhelming feeling, energy drop, fuzzy head and quickly glazing over of your eyes. It makes the strongest of us head for a bench and/or a strong cup of coffee. So the question is — how do you skip that feeling and also have a perfect antiquing trip?
Thankfully, you don’t need a map. Here’s what to do:
Step 1: Side step the shuffle loop
It can be really overwhelming to look at an antique store or estate sale and see how big it is. The best way to combat this is to choose specific areas to stay in and only move on when you are sure you are done there.
Most places will keep similar items together, so it’s easier to find exactly what you’re looking for. If you have no idea what you’re looking for, this technique helps narrow down your options and gives you specific areas to look at before moving onto the next thing.
The most important part, though — don’t keep going back! If you feel an urge to return to a section you’ve already been to, it’s okay to stay there longer. Going back and forth between sections will confuse and overwhelm.
Step 2: Have a Plan
You don’t always need to know exactly what you want out of an antique store, but you should have a general idea and at the very least a price point. Think about the projects you’re in the middle of before going inside.
If you’re planting a garden and need some unique outdoor furniture, go there first. You can always wander and explore later — that’s part of our love for antiquing! — but get what you need first. If you leave it behind, it’s likely to get snatched up quickly. Ask the attendants to guide you to a good section that might have what you need.
Pro-tip: Ask if your items can be held for you by the store or market. Some items just can’t be brought along with you through the store, so ask if it can be kept with an employee or at the register. If it can’t be held, buy it and immediately store it either in your car or at home. You can always come back for a good relaxing wander but losing out on a fantastic antique brings about a lot of regret.
Step 3: Support your body
What a lot of people fail to recognize is that your body is trained to tell you when it is overwhelmed. Too much input that hasn’t been able to be sorted by your brain triggers a lot of these feelings. So going in and being aware that your body is getting the wrong idea can help you fix that! First step – BREATHE. The moment you feel a little zoned out, remember to take a big breath. When focused on searching we tend to breath too shallowly and deprive ourselves from enough oxygen. Take a few deep belly breaths: 4 counts in hold for 4 counts, slow 4 count exhale. That oxygen will get you sharp and focused again in no time.
Another trick is to bring peppermints with you – that and be sure to keep drinking water. Preferably cold! These tricks will all be sure to keep you on your toes and not miss that treasure tucked away
Once you have your antiques that are absolutely necessary, give yourself time to just wander if you would like – you have tackled it like a trained athlete and deserve it. Antiquing can be stressful but ultimately, it’s just fun! Even if you can’t buy certain items, make notes and snap a photo of your favorites for the future. Let your imagination go while in these stores and you might just find something that becomes a staple in your home.