DwellrunwaychefHome Decor

7 Tips for Vintage Shopping on eBay and Etsy

DwellrunwaychefHome Decor
7 Tips for Vintage Shopping on eBay and Etsy

I’ve been a longtime eBay and Etsy user.

Granted, it hasn’t always been the best experience. For example, when I was in college, I had a few things I was selling to make some additional money to help with college expenses. I don’t even remember which exact item it was that I had sold, but I will never forget that the buyer claimed the item was broken, got me “in trouble” with eBay, and sent me message full of words not appropriate for this site. So that was fun….

However, I definitely didn’t let my not-so-great shopping experience get in the way of my buying experiences. There are just way too many hidden gems to let one rotten apple ruin the whole bunch, know what I’m saying?

Recently, I did a bit of a makeover on my prop closet and since then, I have been spending some extra time on eBay and Etsy searching for new items to fill up the space. Of course, I’ve been sharing the items over on Instagram stories {because that’s just what I do} and, to my surprise, have received quite a response, as well as several questions. So, I figured, why not share more details right here, in one place? To make it even easier, and less overwhelming, I’ve also decided to break it down into a bit of a mini series, with four parts, starting with some of my favorite tips for searching for the best treasures and scoring the best deals..

vintag shopping on eBay and etsy

how to shop for vintage items on eBay and etsy


I like to keep a running tab going in my notes so that anytime I’m working on a project and I think of something that I need, I can just add it to the list. Of course, part of the fun of eBay and Etsy is searching for treasures with no specific agenda in mind, but a list is also necessary to keep you somewhat in check. Otherwise you can quickly find yourself down a black hole with nothing stopping you, and one second it’s light outside and you’re just doing a quick search, and the next second it’s evening, you’re hungry, you have to go to the bathroom, your legs are cramped, your vision is blurred and you realized you haven’t looked up from your computer screen in 5 hours {not that I’m speaking from experience or anything}.


Like I mentioned above, it’s very easy to find yourself down a black hole of treasures, and suddenly you’ll go from needing a cutting board to having an entirely new kitchen in your cart. I’m only sort of joking. But I’m definitely not joking when it comes to having a budget. Whether it’s per item, or a monthly amount {if you’re shopping more regularly}, know what you’re comfortable spending. Trust me, you will find what you want in your price range, you may just need to search a little harder or wait a little longer.


My Mom taught me from a young age to never pay full price, even when it comes to thrifted items. Hence why I almost never buy anything for the full listing price on eBay {even the “Buy it Now” items}. I ask for a lower price, but within reason. My typical rule of thumb is to ask for whatever the price is minus the shipping, so if they accept the new rate I’m basically getting shipping for free. To this day, I’ve never had anyone not accept my bids.


Finding specific items is a bit of a time commitment that requires lots of regularly scheduled searching. It’s very rare to hop on and immediately find what you’re looking for in one go. So plan accordingly.


No matter what your budget or time commitment is, remember to just be patient. Searching for treasures is a bit of a labor of love that definitely requires lots of patience.


In line with being patient, also remember to be flexible. Be ok with not being able to find the perfect mixing bowl for 6 months. Figure out if there’s a different color that works instead if the one you had hoped for just isn’t happening. See if you can find wiggle room in your budget {maybe you really want that bowl, but you can skip that extra set of forks}. Buy a whole set when all you really wanted was just one {you can always sell the remainder of the set}. Think outside the box. And remember that being flexible allows you to find some of the best treasures of all, the ones you never planned or hoped to find, the ones that are even more special because you found them when you least expected to or weren’t even trying to.


Most importantly, this shouldn’t be stressful. It truly is like a game, trying to search for treasure, score hidden gems, negotiating prices, and it definitely shouldn’t be anything but fun!

Are you an eBay and/or Etsy shopper? What are some of your favorite tips for scoring the best deals?