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How to Find Covetable Antiques and Collectibles in Yard Sales and Thrift Shops (and Other Unusual Places)

How to Find Covetable Antiques and Collectibles in Yard Sales and Thrift Shops (and Other Unusual Places)

The popularity of Antiques Roadshow on PBS speaks to one secret desire in many of us: the dream of finding a rare, valuable object in a house clearance or yard sale. True, the valuable part is mostly fantasy. Even experts struggle to make money in the antique business. But it’s certainly possible to discover delightful and beautiful pieces where others least expect to find them. Here’s how to get started.

1. Get to Know What You’re Looking for – and Looking At

If you’re serious about finding those covetable objects overlooked by everyone else, you’re going to need to develop an expert eye (or at least a semi-expert one). This means doing your homework.

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Because ‘antiques’ is a vast field covering everything from fireplaces and architectural salvage to jewelry and fine art, you’re also going to need to be selective. Pick an area you really love, and you’ll find that developing your expertise comes naturally and pleasurably.

There’s one caveat: good for you if 19th-century Russian silver is your thing, but you might not get to see too much of it in your neighborhood yard sales (though of course, that depends on your neighborhood!). It might be a better idea to specialize in 1970s dinner services, or ephemera – the type of antique you’ll encounter more frequently in your local setting.

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2. Browse the Marketplace

So you may not be in it for the money, but you’ll find it easier to nurture your expertise if you have a good idea of what’s hot and what’s not. This means getting up close and personal with the marketplace for your chosen specialty.

Visit auctions if you can. This is the very best way of finding out which antiques are the most covetable, and which might be the next big thing. Of course, checking out dealerships and eBay is also a reasonable way to gather market intelligence, as is consulting a range of current price guides.

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But don’t forget that the market is fickle. Just because tin toy cars are the collectible of the moment doesn’t mean they’ll be as desirable next year. With a little persistence and observation, you’ll get a feel for how the market in your specialty cycles.

3. Don’t Overlook It If It’s Not That Old

Collectors of a certain age, this one’s for you. I want to be delicate, so I’ll whisper it quietly: just because you owned an object in your childhood or teens, this doesn’t mean that it’s not covetable now.

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According to the US Customs Service, an object isn’t considered an antique unless it’s a century old. Granted, your old Rubik’s cube might not be an antique, but there may still be a market for it. There’s now a thriving trade in late 20th century collectibles, so if you owned some of these the first time around, you could have a substantial head start. After all, the tchotchkes of yesteryear are the collectibles of today and could be the antiques of tomorrow.

4. Hone Your Interpersonal Skills

If you’re looking for antiques at yard sales, especially when you’re still building your expertise, it can be helpful to hear the backstory behind particular pieces. This can give you clues to the provenance of items, and alert you when objects are more desirable than they seem at first glance.

So it’s always worth having a friendly conversation with the person holding the sale: that random tangle of wires and metal may turn out to be a valuable 1940s toaster, and only those in the know will ever find out. Besides that fact, honing your interpersonal skills will also help you connect well with the seller

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Lanre Onibalusi

Blogger, Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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