Thrift, Vintage, Antique: Discover the Difference for More Informed Shopping

Dec 28, 2022

When it comes to terms like "antique" and "vintage," you've likely heard that the main difference is in the age of the products. And that's definitely part of it, but we think it gives an incomplete picture.

While it's highly likely that you've seen these terms used interchangeably, they do refer to different activities and product categories. Some people prefer to specialize, while others incorporate all three into decor, shopping, or reselling. In this article, we want to give a more complete picture of the difference between thrifting, antiquing and vintage shopping.

What is Thrifting

As the name implies, thrifting or thrift shopping is most often done in...thrift stores! These treasure piles are typically loosely organized (if they're organized at all), and you can find just about anything. As a bonus, many thrift shops support charities, so your money will go to a good cause. Really, it would be unethical NOT to buy all that Pyrex.

Depending on your shopping style, you might love or hate thrift stores. These shops don't typically specialize in any type of good and are stocked via donations. If you're a focused shopper looking for particular pieces, thrifting can be somewhat frustrating. On the other hand, if you love the thrill of the hunt, it's hard to beat the rush you'll get when you find a valuable item hiding among more everyday pieces.

What is Vintage Shopping?

Vintage shopping is an excellent middle ground between the potential chaos of thrifting and the more closely regulated antique industry. While there's no hard and fast definition, items between about 30 and 99 years old are generally considered vintage. So yes, most of the furniture you remember from your childhood!

Vintage shops work differently from thrift stores. You'll find the merchandise is more curated and may focus on a specific type of item. Some stores specialize in everything from home decor to comics and video games.

Because of this specialization, you'll often pay a higher price at these boutiques than at thrift stores. Rather than relying on donations, these shops have buyers who take the time to seek out items they can sell at a profit. These buyers are highly knowledgeable in identifying and pricing the items they purchase.

What is Antiquing?

Finally, we have antiquing. The main difference between antiques and vintage is that an item is only considered an antique once it's 100 years old. As you've likely guessed, this means higher prices than you'll see when thrifting or vintage shopping.

Despite the relative rarity of some of these pieces, you have a decent variety of options for where you do your shopping. You'll find plenty of antique shops you can scour that offer a targeted shopping experience. There are shops dedicated to particular styles and eras where you know exactly what you'll find.

If you prefer to cast a wider net, you can't go wrong with an antique mall. These malls are typically divided into "booths" rented by antique dealers. Each space can have a unique look and feel, making antique malls a joy to wander through.

Wrapping Up

Whatever type of secondhand shopping you choose, it's worth investigating. Buying used is better for the environment, helps small businesses, and (we might be biased here) we think it's much more fun.

It's worth noting that many antique and vintage sellers have also begun selling online. So don't despair if you live in an area where these shops are few and far between. Have a look at some of our top sellers on Chattic, or open a shop of your own.

Dec 28, 2022

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