Craigslist and Freecycle are great, but when it comes to finding used things in a way that I actually enjoy, I much prefer a Saturday afternoon spent casually touring antique stores. A lot of the time, I don’t buy anything. Wandering around, looking at strange objects of forgotten purposes and unknown stories, trying on silly vintage hats is its own reward. This weekend, I spent some time doing just that at two of my favorites in our town — the Old Mill Antique Mall and the Columbia Antique Mall.

I’ve made some great finds over the years — not the really fancy, ornate antique furniture, but the simpler, rustic kind that now gives our home a lot of its character. Other things I particularly like to keep an eye out for: large enamel pots useful for canning and dyeing purposes… antiques-7old wooden crates that we stack and use as bookshelves — and what one might find inside them…antiques-9cast iron cookware (we scored our Wagner cast iron pan from an antique store, several decades old but restored and ready to go)antiques-11more enamelware…antiques-2old technologies for our post-petroleum future, such as washing boards, real irons for clothes ironing, old-fashioned bathroom items (I’m only partially joking)…antiques-6antiquesantiques-10

and random treasures…antiques-5antiques-4antiques-3