Tips for Being an “American Picker” with Your Own Stuff

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American Pickers

If you’ve ever caught the show “American Pickers” on History Channel, then you’ve witnessed how Frank and Mike, the show’s “pickers”, sift through someone else’s piles of seeming junk and, ultimately, find real treasures. Many of the subjects on the show are passionate collectors, with rooms and rooms (and sometimes even extra buildings!) chock full of untouched items and antiques. While you may not have a collection of stuff that’s quite as overwhelming, there are still a few lessons you can take away from the show. Read on… we’ve rounded up a few tips for being an “American Picker” with your own stuff!

1. Think of Other Uses

One of the things the pickers are great at is coming up with innovative new uses for the pieces they find. They’ll turn an old sign or a vintage radio that’s no longer functional into beautiful pieces of decor. When sorting through your own stuff, try to think of new ways to use the things you love. Would that old watering can make a gorgeous planter? Could you frame a page from that old cookbook and hang it in your kitchen? Sure, you may not love the piece as it is now. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t breathe some new life into it and turn it into a treasured statement!

2. Don’t Hesitate to Get Things Checked Out

When you’re searching through the old items in your attic or basement, keep your eyes peeled for antiques or vintage finds that might be worth some money. If you’ve been housing your dad’s old baseball cards or your grandma’s tea set, don’t just write it all off as junk taking up space! Take a minute to assess the item and determine if you think there’s any value there. If you have even the slightest suspicion, take it to get checked out. You’d hate to toss it and then later find out it was worth a small fortune!

3. Search Every Nook and Cranny

If you’re digging through a particularly crowded storage area, make sure you thoroughly check every last nook and cranny of the space. Sometimes the pickers find treasures tucked in places you might not even notice. So, don’t be afraid of those dark, dusty corners or hard-to-reach places. Also, don’t forget to check pockets, pouches, drawers and other small compartments. There could be something great hiding in there!

4. Find an Audience

So, what do you do with all of the stuff that you don’t want to keep, but you also feel like you shouldn’t just toss? Do some research to see if there’s an audience for those items! Maybe you don’t want to keep your dad’s collection of vintage beer cans, but there are collectors for almost everything out there. Get online and see what collector information you can find. Or, pack up your items and bring them to a local antique store. Either way, you should be able to find a good home for your pieces, and maybe even make a little extra cash!

Maybe you won’t find a forgotten Picasso or the Hope Diamond hiding in your attic. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t find anything worth saving! Keep these tips in mind to be a successful “picker” in your own home. Now, go sort through your belongings and find those diamonds in the rough!

Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard is a Midwest-based freelance writer and blogger who loves lending her voice to a variety of publications and organizations. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she enjoys reading, babying her rescued terrier mutt and obsessively organizing her entire home.
Kat Boogaard
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About Kat Boogaard

Kat Boogaard is a Midwest-based freelance writer and blogger who loves lending her voice to a variety of publications and organizations. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she enjoys reading, babying her rescued terrier mutt and obsessively organizing her entire home.