Here are some of the best things to buy at antique stores. Keep a lookout for these items that you can use in your everyday life during your next trip.
Useful Finds From Antique Stores
When you think of an antique store do you picture a store filled with dusty shelves of broken, old things that remind you that you are glad we have modern conveniences? Or do you picture a store full of useful treasures that are just waiting to be dug out?
A few years ago, me and the hubby really started to get into antique stores. We both loved all the treasures that could be found and I happen to be an avid collector of old jars (not Ball Jars unless they are over 100 years old, I collect Atlas, Mason, and other various unique brands). On our little road trips, we would make a point to stop at the most hole-in-the-wall antique stores we could find. It’s a fun little hobby that I don’t intend to give up!
After we started doing this, thinking that we could just find things to collect, I start getting more into digging around and spotting things I could actually use in our daily lives. You already know but many things produced many years ago were of much better quality than what you can find today. We are still very much regulars at antique stores and love to stop at each new one we spot to see what kind of treasures we will discover next. Here are some things that we’ve found in antique stores that are worth looking for and buying the next time you happen to stop by one.
Children’s Books and Toys
No surprise here but I don’t really like buying “modern” books for our son. I don’t care to have him read about crazy “heroes”, witches, monsters, and other similar things. I want him to read the good old fashioned books that I read when I was a kid. We always look for books like this at antique stores. I like the Little Golden Books in particular and am trying to grow a large collection for our family. I can usually pick these up for less than $1 per book. We also like to look for kids’ toys, mainly wooden items or unique things that stir the imagination. Our son is not quite 2 years old but he already knows that a die-cast car is much more fun to play with in the dirt than a plastic one.
–Make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself with great finds. Keep the good ones and learn How to Downsize Books and Simplify Your Collection.
Linens and Clothing
This one might be a surprise because generally, we think of antique clothing as something threadbare and not worth much. Most antique stores I’ve found have clothing priced too high because it’s “vintage” styles now. But occasionally I’ve found some that is a great deal and in seeing how modesty styles have changed drastically over the years, we can often find some really cute and modest skirts and dresses at antique stores. We’ve also bought some clothing for costumes to use during our annual 4th of July parade.
Another item we like to buy at antique stores is linens. I’ve found the most beautifully hand-sewn linens on some of those dusty shelves that were probably used only once or twice and very carefully preserved by the keeper of the home. I think these make very pretty and unique table decor. (Side note: antique stores can be a great place to grab nice cloth napkins for really cheap!)
I generally do not buy dishes at antique stores for everyday use because they tend to be somewhat thinner than what is on the market today (although I do buy them for photography props), but there are other dishes I love to buy. Large pyrex and crock style bowls are particular favorites for me to watch for. I very much dislike the plastic mixing bowls made today so I search out these heavy-duty large bowls for baking Nothing beats an excellent stoneware bowl that will probably last through your lifetime for only $15!
I also like to look for heirloom glassware as I happen to collect Fostoria Crystal ever since I was given part of a set by my grandma. Someday my wish is to be able to complete the collection that my grandma once had (pieces got broken during their moves) so I can pass along the entire set.
The majority of the other things we get from antique stores are pretty random. I like to buy old (usually cracked) small crocks for trash cans for various rooms in the house (they don’t move when you toss something in!). Sometimes we’ve found old games that are fun additions to our game collection. The Hubby has found tools he can use outside that you just can’t buy anymore. I’ve found some great old canning supplies like jars, and even a strainer in very good condition! We’ve even found fabric to sew with. You just never know what you might come across that can be useful in your daily life!
These are just some of our useful finds from antique stores. I’m glad we got into the habit of stopping at them because we almost always find something we can use for less than what we could buy the modern counterpart for at the store and it’s a fun experience looking through all the treasures of days gone by.
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What are some of your own favorite useful finds from antique stores?
What is the best thing you’ve ever bought from an antique store?
This post on the Best Things to Buy at Antique Stores was originally published on Little House Living in January 2014. It has been updated as of January 2020.