How to Start Collecting Vintage: 8 Tips for Beginners

collection of books on brown wooden crate

If you are new to collecting, it can seem overwhelming. Here is everything you need to know to get started in collecting as a beginner in your journey as a collector.

1. Choose your focus

What are you interested in collecting? There are many different things that people collect. Narrowing down your focus will help you as you start to build your collection.

There are so many different types of collections out there and there really is no such thing as a “bad thing” to collect! You can choose to collect based on a favorite theme, a favorite item, or even a broader general category.

Think about what you are into and what kinds of things you are interested in collecting. This will help to make sure that you don’t waste your time and money on things that you are not really interested in.

See our article on How to Decide What to Collect

2. Do Your Research

Before you start collecting anything, it is important to do your research and learn as much as you can about your chosen collection area. This will help you avoid making costly mistakes and will also give you a better understanding of what you are looking for as you start to build your collection.

There are a lot of ways to learn about your area of interest. Doing a search online about the thing you want to collect can be helpful, but I’ve often found some of the best ways to learn about a particular item is through books. Many libraries have books available to help you learn as much as you can to get started in collecting something.

It might seem tedious at first, but doing a little bit of research early on will help ensure that you make smart decisions as you move forward.

3. Decide How You Will Store + Care For Your Collection

Before you start collecting, it is very good to find a way to store and care for the things you want to collect. This is especially important if you are planning on acquiring collectible items that are valuable or fragile. Collectible items are always more valuable when they are in good condition!

Having a plan in place for how you will store and care for your collection before you start acquiring items will help make sure that your collection is well-protected and will last for many years to come.

Knowing in advance how you will store, organize and care for your collection will also make it a lot easier for you to know what types of items you have room for, especially if you are collecting larger pieces such as furniture.

4. Set a Budget

It is important to set a budget for your collection and stick to it. This will help you avoid overspending and will also help you focus your collecting efforts so that you are only investing in pieces you really enjoy and want.

You don’t need to have a huge budget to start collecting, even if you are interested in collecting high-end items. There are many ways to find affordable items for your collection, such as shopping at garage sales, estate sales, and online auctions. See our tips on How to Start a Collection on a Budget.

5. Start Slow and Build Your Collection Over Time

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was an amazing collection. You don’t need to go out and buy a bunch of things all at once to start your collection. It is almost always better to start small and build your collection gradually over time, especially when you are new to collecting something.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so take it slow at first. Start with just a few pieces that you really love, and then build from there.

6. Join a Club or Community

Another great way to learn more about collecting and to meet other like-minded collectors is to join a club or community related to your chosen collection focus. This can be a great way to make friends, learn from others, and even find new pieces for your collection.

There are almost always clubs or groups dedicated to specific types of collections – even those who collect strange and unusual things!

While local groups that meet in person are fantastic, there are also many online groups, communities and forums for you to connect with to learn more about collecting.

7. Keep Track of Your Collection

Another thing you will want to do as a beginner is to find a way to keep track of what you have in your collection and what it’s estimated value you might be.

Keeping records of everything in your collection has a lot of great benefits:

  • Document Your Collection for Insurance Purposes
  • Keep records of when something was purchased or sold
  • Track prices and current values
  • Take notes about different items.

This can be as simple as a spreadsheet of what things you have, or you can explore using an app or a creating a database of everything you have.

Another option is to keep track of your collection with a service such as the vault feature of WorthPoint. While it is subscription based, it’s a great way to keep track of everything all in one place and get current values on items.

8. Have Fun!

Remember, collecting is supposed to be fun! So make sure that you are only investing in pieces that you really enjoy and that fit your budget and storage limitations.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have the “perfect” collection – just relax and enjoy the process. Over time, your collection will become more amazing and uniquely yours.


It’s always exciting to begin collecting something, and I hope these tips will help you get started on your collecting journey! Whether you are a new collector with questions or an experienced collector with some tips to share, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

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