Picking is in. The recent success of shows like “American Pickers”, “Antiques Road Show” and “Storage Wars” indicates a renewed interest in found treasures. Wouldn’t we love to come across a trinket in Grandma’s attic and find out that it’s worth thousands of dollars? Well the reality is that these treasures are valuable because they are rare, and the fact that they are so rare makes it highly unlikely that any of us will find anything that is priceless. But don’t give up on picking already – there are many wonderful and useful items that can be found in your local thrift store or resale shop that can bring style and character to your home décor. And it is the ultimate in green living – reuse instead of buying new.
Start with plates, bowls, and serving platters. There is nothing more boring than a complete matching set of china. Mix things up and create an interesting table setting with antique salad plates or a unique serving bowl. Small depression glass desert bowls will complete your dinner with pizzazz. Many of these great serving pieces can be picked up for a couple dollars. You may have to do a little digging, and check the pieces for chips or cracks, but sometimes a little chip just proves that it was well loved by someone else.
A good way to create a memorable evening is to serve your favorite cocktails and beverages in retro vintage glasses. The styles will remind your guests of times spent with their parents or grandparents. A bonus would be a vintage martini shaker, or better yet, a retro ice bucket. These small touches go a long way to make your evening special. They will also help break the ice (no pun intended) and create conversations as your guests reminisce.
Now your picking shouldn’t be limited to the dining room. You can find many great home accents for everyday use. Interesting candle holders, vases, lamps, and even framed pictures can be found at ridiculously low prices. Use your imagination. Repurpose. Make a lamp out of an old surveyor’s tripod. Use an old factory cart for a coffee table. An old wash stand as a wet bar. Make a coat rack out of vintage door knobs. The possibilities are endless.
The key to picking is patience and frequency. You will not find a car full of treasures in one trip. There is a lot of “rough” to go through to find that “diamond”. I find that the time I spend picking seems to relax me a little bit and if I come away with something special, so much the better. And I’ll give you a picker’s secret – stores like Goodwill put their donations out on the sales floor within 24hrs of receiving the items. Most people drop off their donations on Saturday, so stop by on Sunday afternoon for a good selection.
Our memories have a powerful hold over our emotions. And all picked items have a history. We brought a simple plate of cheese & crackers over to a friend’s house served on a vintage platter. The hostess had a tear in her eye when she realized that the pattern on the plate was the same one that her mother used to have. The wonderful memories of her deceased mother washed over her, and we made a very special connection with her that evening.
So get out there and see what you can find. Many thrift stores also support local charities. Not only will you find a treasure, you will be helping others, and you will keep another item out of a landfill. It’s a win, win, win proposition.