WON Landing Page March 2022

Retro WON: Take Your Kids Junking This Weekend

My kids grew up in junk shops and flea markets and got dragged to jumble sales and garage sales and rummage sales, depending upon which part of the world we lived in at the time. They wore clothes from the thrift shop where I worked at Edwards Air Force Base, and loved coming over after school to “help.” The stash of M&M’s in the back enticed them to offer their free labor. And, of course they loved to shop the sales. That little thrift shop, run by the officers’ wives of the base, routinely acccrued thousands of dollars of sales per day and contributed all proceeds to worthy charitable causes. It also defrayed the clothing and toy budget for our growing family of 3 boys and 1 girl.

MIa-LG Take your kids junking and to garage sales

Mia & LG


So when Mia Anstine sent me this photo – of the Little Gal and her at an antiques shop this week – it brought back fond memories. In fact, my daughter and I love to go “junking,” and our Baby Boy and I poked around in a few shops in Louisiana during a visit last fall. In fact, I have an album on my personal Facebook page devoted to our unique “finds” afield.

A few weeks ago, my girl and I stumbled upon the “little shop of horrors” while entering what we deemed to be a run-of-the-mill antiques shop. It featured a medical section, with an old sweat cabinet, scalpels, teeth, prosthetics and other rather interesting items. The owner helped my daughter choose fixtures for a project she’s working on as a commercial interior designer, and also told us that true antiques shops are going away. Today’s shops have to fill their shelves with junk that looks old, but that stuff really isn’t old. He talked about overhead and it really opened my eyes to the world of antiques shops and the struggles to keep the doors open.



Case in point, prosthetics from days gone by created a heart-stopping display. (Barbara Baird photo)


Of course, junking can occur at all types of venues: flea markets, thrift shops, antiques shops, garage sales.



Here’s our Marti Davis, who tried to convince Julie Golob that she needed for us to buy her this pony for her kids while we were junking in Arkansas. (Barbara Baird photo)


Here’s why you should take your kids junking at your earliest convenience:

  • Talk about a history lesson. This is the perfect opportunity to talk about the types of gadgets you or your parents used. Remember the rotary dial telephone?
  • Continue the history lesson by looking at old postcards and photographs and talk about fashion and cars and presidents, whatever.
  • Your kids can get some hands-on experience with old gadgets.
  • Old toys fascinate children.
  • How much fun is it to rummage around in a bin with old doorknobs or buttons or coins? Loads of fun.
  • You can always find something for a dollar.
  • Also, if you’re into the outdoors, look for old creels, lures, gun accessories, ammunition posters, etc. You’ll find plenty. In fact, my friend sent me an old Remington recipe box for Christmas, full of wild game recipes, that she found in a junk shop. It means the world to me.

We stumbled upon this interesting coat rack while out junking a couple of weeks ago. (Barbara Baird photo)


I sometimes wondered whether my children appreciated the time junking, and imagine my surprise when Baby Boy said, “Yeah, a lot of my friends would be playing computer games or whatever and I had to go to a junk shop with you, and now, I have something to remember from being a kid – the trips out to places with  you, Mom.”



(J. Baird photo)

There, you have it. So, if you take your children out junking, please will you let me know what you find? Send a photo, we’d love to show the world your treasures!

This Retro WON first appeared January 7, 2015.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.


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