How to Identify a Junk Addict


Market Scale

Sometimes I catch Mr. Old House Chic looking at me like he just doesn’t get the addiction of the antique, vintage, salvage and junk world. He is hugely supportive unless I ask him to do something dangerous/unrealistic or will piss off my Mama if I get hurt.

A good example would be the request of him slowing the car to 10 mph on the highway so that I can hang side saddle style out of the window of the car to grab what appeared to be a treasure not to be passed up in the center lane of the busy roadway.

We will peer at each other at this point each with a different look on our faces- his will be a look of surprise/wonderment/admiration that I must have creatively found my way out of a mental ward and have survived this long with great determination to fool those around me.

Oh, but he knows the secret: I am a full blown addict to the antique, vintage, salvage and junk world.

 The look on my face will be pity/empathy/amazement that he hasn’t given up and come to the junk side because at some point he will so he might as well wave the white flag and c’mon over.

So, with that in mind, I came up with a list for our loved ones so that they might better understand our addiction to the wonderful world of junk.

Toy Truck Pool Balls

1. We get more excited when you bring home an awesome free curbside find than if you were to bring home a bouquet of flowers- unless the flowers are antique rose bushes or old flowering bulbs salvaged from an old homestead.

2. My multiple mountain ranges of magazines, books and catalogues have names. Each range is called Flea Market Finds, Romantic Country, French Country, Flea Market Style, This Old House, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn- and is essential to my junk collecting.  You call the teeter tottering piles scary, I call it market research.  I’ll dig you out of the avalanche if the pile overtakes you.   In the meantime, turn on your avalanche beacon and start reading.

3. The car of our dreams is a giant box truck or cargo van not a Lamborghini. If you bring a two seater home, be prepared to get creative with the tie downs and be willing to have a free curbside dresser strapped to the top.

4. We can’t sleep the night before a fabulous flea market, even though we have to be up by 4am, because we are dreaming of the next best find that we know is just waiting for us there.

Little Red Wagon of Junk

5. We have a standing date with our doctors for a tetanus shot because our true love is rust.

6. We have a specific facial expression called “Fight Face” developed from years of 50% off Sale Day at the thrift shop. When we pull that face out, we are trusting that you will overachieve in your assignment of using the shopping cart as a battering ram when we signal the start of war with the code word of, “KILL!”

7. We refuse to wear a skirt/dress/or other apparel that will hinder our success in unearthing junk because we have had too many memories of picking our way across an overgrown field, in heels/dress clothes/or other ridiculous apparel that a man must have created for a woman, to check out an abandoned old home or junk pile.

8. If you see a strange glow in the middle of the night from our cell phones, we are looking, yet again, at the Antique, Furniture, Farm+Garden, Materials, Free…okay fine!  We haunt every For Sale section of CraigsList AND we have a running list of key words to type in which gives us the optimum chance of finding the good deals faster than anyone else.  By the way, can we pick up a few things from Craigslist tomorrow?

9. We have fine-tuned our skills of observation- this is why we can identify, in detail, an object we saw for a split second as we were driving to wherever we were supposed to be going and no, we aren’t drunk/suffering from a medical emergency that made us stand on the brakes of our cars so that we could go from 60 mph to park in order to get a closer look.

Market Display of Junk

10. No, that isn’t junk mail- we really did start a business out all of this craziness.  We suggest you jump aboard the USS Crazy Boat and grab an oar.  We are about to go on a wild ride.  Life jackets, anyone?

Bonus: You have ended a fight/argument, started by another addict that swore they saw it first, based only on you giving the “Fight Face” look…AND walked away victorious with the treasure clenched tightly in your fists, I want to meet you.

This list is far from being complete- Put your suggestions in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear from you as to what else should be added!



  1. Bettye
    October 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    You make me feel better about my addiction. I haven’t hung out of a car to grab something yet. But maybe the opportunity hasn’t come along. . .

    • bernadette
      October 7, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Just wait! You’ll see something that totally made the need to ride side saddle completely realistic and do-able- don’t we all have that skill within us just waiting to be used?! Please, please make sure to tell me about it when that special time comes for you 😉

  2. Diane
    October 7, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    HI Bernadette, You’ve hit the rusty nail right on the head with this post! I too am a “Junk Addict” & Thanks to Marian aka Miss Mustard Seed I have found you! birds of a feather will stick together 🙂 I look forward to following your blog

    • bernadette
      October 7, 2014 at 1:14 pm

      Hooray! Rusty kindred spirits will always find each other! Thanks so much for taking a look at my blog and for commenting! Keep in touch and let me know about your adventures, as well!

  3. Vikki
    October 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    I love this post about how much you love junking. I too love it and am married to the most wonderful man who loves it as much as I do. That makes for an interesting home to say the least, but at least we are on the same page. Just a question, what did you retreive out of the middle of the road riding side saddle out the window?

    • bernadette
      October 7, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      Nothing! I never got to do it! He was and is too scared of my Mama and having to explain how he was Clyde to my Bonnie in that type of fiasco! It was an example of the types of extremes a junk lover would go to if our loved ones didn’t save us in the nick of time 🙂

  4. Rick S.
    Rick S.Reply
    October 7, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Just came over from Miss Mustard Seed and am loving your site.

    I am rick and I am an addict too. My wife says it is a wonder I have not hit anything yet because I have an eye on the curb all the time. When a B & B went out of business they had “Craig” tell us what was at the curb. I was so excited to find a walnut “very French” chair waiting for me. I had to figure out how to get it into my 4 dr Optima. It fit. I was told there had been a 3 seat settee to match. That would have meant Mrs R would have to leave work early with her van Bessie while I sat on the find. She would have too, bless her. She may not be an addict herself but is an willing enabler.
    She enjoys the unique way things inhabit our home and is the quiet voice of reason when I want another “great chair”, that there is not a place for, or is the 3rd one that needs reupholstery to make it usable.

    • bernadette
      October 7, 2014 at 11:14 pm

      I loved the intro you included of yourself- it sounded like you were standing up among your junk addict peers and taking the first step of acknowledgement. I love your story and what a special person you found in Mrs. Willing Enabler coming to the rescue along with Bessie. My very favorite part of your comment is two word explanation- “It fit.” I know there is a whole other story in those two words…but isn’t there always?

  5. Lindsay Eidahl
    October 7, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    I just found your site and love it! I love your list. I am a true junk addict. It is so much fun!

    • bernadette
      October 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm

      Thanks so much for checking out my blog! I hope you stick around for so many more adventures in junk!

  6. Anne Boykin
    Anne BoykinReply
    October 7, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    I’m over visiting from Miss Mustard Seed’s blog. You are so sweet to have given her such a lovely gift! I’ll be following your adventures too now.

    • bernadette
      October 7, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      I am a firm believer that us creative business owners have to stick together. This is all I have ever seen from Marian aka Miss Mustard Seed. She has been so giving of her time and expertise and those of us that are just catching momentum with our businesses are grateful for all that she has shared. It is such a small gift for all I have received from her.

  7. Scribbler Unfocused
    October 7, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Hi! I am visiting from Miss Mustard Seed. I love your blog, and read all the way back to your beginning. We lived in Arlington a few years, too!

    I will be reading this regularly to see what you do next!

    • bernadette
      October 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm

      Thanks so much for checking my blog out and sitting down for what I hope was a good read! I am having such good time writing the posts and meeting kindred junk spirits in my readers!

  8. lynnatthevintagenest
    October 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    loved and have done all that you listed…..great blog tickled to have found you. I used to drive a little sports car and my husband was always amazed at what old piece of furniture I managed to bring home in it. 🙂

    • bernadette
      October 7, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      I, too, had a little two door sports car and knew, even at 18 years of age, what a mistake it was when I chose it. My very next car was an SUV and I never looked back. Now I’m thinking an American Picker type van will be next car…my cars just keep getting bigger!

      Thanks for taking the time to secure your spot among your fellow kindred junk spirits! Welcome!

  9. Lori
    October 8, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Let’s see now, number 1 on your list. Yep, that fits me to a tee. Number two? Check! Three? Absolutely. (My husband actually had a big box van, and he sold it before I could ask him to let me have it.) number four, five, six and seven? Check. 8? Oh my, I laughed so hard at this one. My husband is asleep beside me in our bed. He’s been sleeping for the past two hours while I’ve been looking at Craig’s list. It’s almost midnight by the way, and I have work in the morning. I guess you have correctly nailed my symptoms, and I must confess to being a Junk Addict. Love your blog. I’ll be following you here on out!

    • bernadette
      October 8, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      I love it! I have to laugh at all these comments because everyone sounds like they took the first step in the Junk Anonymous program…Hi. My name is Bernadette and I am a Junk Addict.

      I’m so glad you found a group that can give the support you need to successfully live with your addiction 😉

      So glad you found my blog and I can’t wait to hear from you again!

  10. jane
    October 9, 2014 at 12:08 am

    Hi from Down under, I too am an addict, think my addiction broke up my marriage (No boundaries now), my children just sigh but have come to terms with it now when I hand them their revised list of junk to look out for. It’s an offence to dumpster dive, or pick up stuff from hard rubbish collections here in OZ so you have to be quick and have your heart meds handy for when you get caught, so many times I have been yelled at. I have only dreamt of leaning out the car door Cossack style to do a pick, (but haven’t perfected it in my mind yet, being the only driver) I would hope we all have a tool box just in case something is to big and “wont fit”. You have made my day and thank goodness I am not alone in my quest for junk.

    • bernadette
      October 9, 2014 at 1:59 am

      I am sorry about your marriage and I am glad you found yourself among kindred junk spirits here. I hope that you are having the best time finding junk and keep on with your dumpster diving and curb checks as we call it here. I will say, though, that I will never use the word “side saddle” again because I like your terminology of “Cossack” style so much better- plus the YouTube videos that came up when I typed in Cossack style were amazing! Hope to hear from you often- you’ll never be alone with your junk here 😉

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