Christine Ishmael, an Eagle Mountain resident and mother of six, wiped a handful of dirt and dust from an old metal number at the Paris flea market-inspired antique store Abode, in Salt Lake City.
"The dirtier, the better," she said. "That's when you know it came from somewhere good."
She carefully handled old window frames and described how they could make a great centerpiece for a bare wall. She gushed at the detail and history of an old paint chipped door.
Ishmael stopped by Abode to drop off two white statuettes she sold to store owner Mariam Sabir.
After that she was off to go picking in other Salt Lake antique stores. And as always she keeps her eye out for any treasures on the curb. This is a typical day for Ishmael who gets up early to pick before clocking in with her at-home Jet Blue job.
In January Ishmael decided to organize and de-clutter her home so she started a group on Facebook called Vintage Yard-sale Utah to list items for sale.
“We just wanted to pay off some bills and get the house organized, and it’s just gone crazy,” she said.
The page serves as a host for collectors to buy and sell antique items and now has more than 2,200 members.
“(Any item listed) is bound to be somebody’s cup of tea,” she said. “There is a great need and desire for vintage in Utah.”
Within the group Ishmael said she noticed antique doors, Pyrex and old furniture “goes like crazy.”
Her advice for anyone trying to sell is to take good pictures of the pieces, and stage them well so people get an idea of how it could be used.
She said another good spring cleaning option is "upcycling," the term used to describe recycling and updating old items to use as decoration or sell.
“If you can get a good piece of furniture and update it to a modern look, you’ll have a good piece that will last another 20 or 30 years,” she said.
Ishmael said she loves upcycling, and by doing it and reselling pieces her family has been able to make money. She said if she works every day on selling she can make anywhere from $100 to $500 a week. She said one woman from the Facebook group upcycles furniture to feed her family.
"The potential to make a lot is there, but it's like a full-time job," she said. "If you want to just get a couple hundred dollars here or there, you can do it."
Ishmael brought a few of her best finds to Abode. She showed off her vintage glass Mr. Peanut jar she paid $3 for. The same jar can be seen on eBay for as much as $236. And a little Pinocchio figurine she paid $1 for is listed at $85 online.
“It has replaced other income from a job I used to have that I didn’t love,” she said.
The Rusty Ranch
Jeff Carter reinvents vintage items at his store Rusty Ranch and said repurposing is a good way to manage old items.
“There’s a market for people to do their own thing with what they have and a market for people like me to make things,” he said.
Carter owns Carter's Glass in Spanish Fork but has been reinventing vintage items since his five children were young.
"I used to make Star Wars guns for my boys," he said.
He said he likes to find old pieces he can put together to make something functional and also enjoys making junk art.
Carter said his grandfather-in-law had instructed his posterity not to throw away some of his old things. He and other family members weren’t sure what to do with the items, so Carter decided to turn them into a custom cowboy statue.
“Now it has sentimental value without it just sitting around,” he said.
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