Be Really Prepared

Finally, it’s time to go antiquing! IMG_3495

My sisters-in-law and I have been going to Renninger’s Extravaganzas together for at least 14 years.  Renninger’s has markets in Pennsylvania as well as in Florida; each market hosts a variety of fairs and special events in addition to its Extravaganzas, which include upward of 1000 dealers.  The Mount Dora Extravaganza is held three times a year—the weekend before Thanksgiving in November; Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend in January; and President’s Day weekend in February.  Throughout the year, the Antiques Center is open every Saturday and Sunday.  The Center features more than 100 permanent dealers, and is definitely worth an afternoon of shopping if you are visiting the Orlando area.

Above is an aerial photo of the vast Extravaganza.  Most of the cars are parked under the trees in the far right of the picture.  The permanent building is the E-shaped structure in the lower left.  There are also two open-air covered buildings, and the rest are tents!  For us, it’s an all-day event, and sometimes a two-day affair.

So, of course, we’ve done our homework and now it’s time to get down to business.   A few helpful tools are always with me when I go antiquing, and it’s smart to bring a few “comforts” along, too.


First, comfortable shoes are essential.  Next, a good tote bag.  This one has been my faithful companion for probably ten years now, and I bought it at Kmart, of all places!  This bag works well for me because of the outside zippered pocket, which is where I stash the cash.  I carry a few other things in an inside pocket, and I still have a lot of room to store any “smalls” (antique lingo for items that can be hand-carried).   Now, I have other, cuter totes, but I like this one for antiquing because of its utility and its generic appearance.  It’s not as easy to drive a hard bargain when you’re obviously carrying an expensive bag.


What’s in the bag? 

Flashlight, small but powerful.  I carry a tiny red Maglite, which is useful for reading marks on porcelain and silver as well as for examining plane marks and joints on old wood pieces.

Magnet.  Solid brass will not hold a magnet; pot metal plated with brass will.  If one knows the difference, one will not have to pay the difference.

Reading glasses and a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe.  Again, these are sometimes necessary to read marks on silver and porcelain.IMG_3500

Measuring tape and the measurement of any “spots” that I’m hoping to fill.  I don’t limit myself strictly to furniture placement.  It’s helpful to know things like the depth of  shelves or the distance between the top of the secretary and the ceiling.

Cold, hard cash.  Most dealers will accept checks and many are even equipped to take credit cards, but in a free-wheeling market like Renninger’s, cash is still king.  IMG_3497

In my “Antiques” notebook, I keep several running lists.  First is my “get list,” or what I hope to find on this particular trip.  There are some items I’m always looking for and next to those I’ll note the last price I paid.  This is also the place to record any booths I may want to return to later in the day (I’ve learned the hard way that I will not remember the location or number!)

Other necessities are hand sanitizer, Band-Aids, a bottle of water, sunscreen, and some lightweight snacks. 

My last bit of advice is that I if you love it, buy it.  I’ve made some buys that I regretted (and in time they all found new homes), but I still think about a few things I let get away.

Tomorrow I’ll post about this year’s finds and my celebrity sighting!  In the meantime, do you have any favorite finds—or ones that got away?

I’m linking up to Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence!


  1. This is it, its a how to when going antiquing! Great post...looks like you are armed and ready to do some serious shopping. Comfy shoes cannot be overstated enough, no show in the world will appeal to you if you are walking around feeling miserable becuase of sore feet...the worst feeling! Great post..happy shopping!

  2. Sounds like lots of fun - Looks like your prepared!!! Happy Hunting!

  3. Oh, how I wish I cold tag along! One of my most favorite ways to spend the day! Hope you find something wonderful!

  4. Awesome tips! I've never been antiquing before but now that we have our first house, it looks like I'll be planning my first trip this year! Looking forward to your next post!

  5. Those bars are my FAVORITE.

    Happy Hunting!

  6. Love how all your accoutrements in your bag are color coordinated!! Sounds like fun- can't wait to see what you find!!

  7. What fun to read about your antiquing trip and finds! I have that same "Antiques" notebook. Mine stays in the pocket on the driver's door to my Jeep...just in case I stop at some antique shop.


  8. You are a PRO, my friend! I love this post and how well prepared you are to go into "battle". LOL! What a fun trip to make and I loved hearing about your celebrity sighting in your other post!
    Thanks so much for linking up to Inspiration Friday~


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