While you may be familiar with auctions, estate, and rummage sales, many people are unaware of the term junking, and what it is in reference too. Junking is practiced in the same locales as the previously mentioned auctions and sales; the search for items that the average sale attendee sees no potential use for.
A Keen Eye and Imagination
It takes a bit of a keen eye, along with an imagination to participate in junking, but once you begin, you will find yourself constantly drawn to sale after sale in search of that hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. While most sale participants are looking for useful and decorative items that are what they are, furniture, art, clothes, jewelry, etc., you will be looking for that one piece that everyone keeps walking past, as it clearly has outlived its purpose, at least to the casual observer.
Below the Table
Consider the sale table at your average rummage. It often contains an assortment of knick-knacks, jewelry, a few books. If you are lucky, it may also contain a baggy of assorted broken jewelry items. Take a closer look at it. Consider if there are any items worthy of reconstructing into a new piece. Look beneath the tables too. Sale throwers often place boxes down low that are free or for sale at rock bottom prices. Most often the items are what they are, junk, but browsing through them is necessary if you are to be a successful Junker, as again, you never know what you might find. Consider what the junk is often tossed into, as people will use containers they no longer want as a way to hold the assortment being offered for sale.
I once uncovered several old cigar boxes in this manner, scuffed obviously beyond what an antique dealer would want, but inside were old linens, small hankies and napkins, delicate doilies, and more. A few had stains on them, and the person throwing the sale had carried them out, intending to price them. She told me that after opening the boxes she realized many of them were stained, so she had tossed them beneath the table and forgot about them. If I wanted, I could take the whole lot, linens, and boxes, for one dollar. I not only came away with a few exquisite crocheted doilies and edged hankies, but the cigar boxes were not as scuffed as they originally appeared, and the smallest of them, a Robt Burns Cigarillo box is one of my favorite acquisitions.
More than Meets the Eye
Several of my other favorite finds have become abandoned drawers from antique bureaus. Often with very decorative drawer fronts, the bureaus they were once a part of have become discarded for various reasons. Yet someone thought to salvage a drawer here and there. Lined, they make lovely table gardens, or are perfect atop a corner table to hold magazines or your current yarn project. Do not overlook complete bureaus that are obviously being passed by because they are beyond use. If there is but one salvageable drawer, and the price of the complete bureau is rock bottom, as a Junker, you will be celebrating the dream buy.
Cut flower vases, bud jars, and container gardens are another popular item that becoming an expert Junker can help you acquire. Consider glass and metal containers that you come across whose original purpose was something else entirely, such as beakers. When our local school held a rummage sale to help raise funds for new sports equipment, the science department donated a case of old glass beakers that had never been used. Priced at ten cents each, I bought the whole case. I saved a few for my own personal use, and the next spring when I attended a flea market as a seller, I brought along the remaining beakers. I cut some flowers from my garden before heading off the first morning, and arranged a few on my table in the beakers, pricing them at five dollars each. Within an hour, I had sold the whole case.
Junking is successful when you learn to look at items outside their intended purpose. If I had walked by the case of beakers with the thought of anything science not being worth my time to look at, I would have missed some lovely additions to my dÃ?Â©cor and the quick hundred I made off them at the flea market. Not a bad markup from the original $2.40 I spent to acquire them.
If you are already an auction or sale attendee, give junking a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you discover when you look at things in a different light!