Antiquing: The Art of Exploring Antique Stores

Searching for the perfect addition to your home decor can be challenging and fun,

and antique shopping is one of the best ways to find a unique item. Antiquing, or the process of exploring antique stores to locate a treasure, can be done nearly anywhere, as most communities in the U.S. have at least one antique or thrift store where you can uncover cool old stuff.

People have almost always collected older items, but the current round of antiquing was kicked off by popular T.V. shows where buyers had their finds analyzed and valued.

You may choose to go antiquing in a group, and hit some of the more popular towns in your area where antique stores are clustered. Or, you may go out on your own to see what you can unearth. You don’t need any special resources to go antiquing, but having a smartphone and internet connection can open up more information about the items you’re looking at, including their age and approximate value.

What’s the Difference Between an Antique and a Collectible?

True antiques are at least 100 years old, and each item usually has some historical background that makes it more interesting. Alternatively, collectible or vintage items are less than a century old and often come from a specific era (think 1950s poodle skirts or 1960s character lunch boxes). Either an antique or a collectible can have great value, or be essentially worthless, depending on condition and whether there is a demand for the item.

Where Should You Go Antiquing?

Nearly every state has stores that sell antiques, but there are certain areas in the U.S. that are better known for antiquing. The Northeast and the upper Midwest have clusters of well-known stores, and there are also some cities in the south, like Clinton, Tenn., or Charleston, S.C., that offer a good antiquing experience. Typically, the parts of the country that are the oldest also yield the best antique items.

The best part about antiquing is the hunt. Along the way, you can find jewels in the rough as well as fun places in the towns where you’re surveying antique stores. Antique shopping can be enjoyed nearly any time of year and can be a fun experience to pass the time or bond with friends and family members.