Why College Students Should Go 'Junking'

As college students, we’ve all been there. We try to be the trendiest or the coolest, yet we just don’t have any money.

I had these friends in high school who, my junior year, introduced me to the wonders of “junking.” Now, with lingo like that, it doesn’t seem too exciting, but what’s that Macklemore song say? “One man’s trash is another man’s come up?”


Whether you’re looking for the funniest white elephant present for a gift exchange, trying to find a vintage item for cheap or you just have some free time to kill, visiting an antique shop is the way to go. And quite frankly, I don’t think college kids give them enough credit.

Gainesville and the surrounding areas have a plethora of antique shops and flea markets that are perfect for finding the weirdest things. Arguably one of the best parts of antiquing is going with friends. Roaming around the seemingly always giant shops with your friends just to sift through archaic records and porcelain dolls is unbeatable. If you’re looking for a way to spend gamedays away from the swamp or you’re avoiding a history essay that you just don’t know how to write, antiquing is the perfect solution.

No matter what you want, or even if you aren’t looking for something at all, antique malls have what you’re looking for. Items can vary in range from awesome collectable books to weirdly stained hats to even paintings from someone else's grandmother.

As you walk in the door you immediately get hit with the musty smell of the poorly air conditioned store that I must admit never gets better. The owners, who are usually friendly elderly men and woman, will ask you to keep your bag in your car or leave it with them because let me tell you guys, these stores aren’t joking around. You find yourself walking through tight corners and barely-there walkways because these antique malls are overflowing with good (and bad) finds.

If you are actually looking for something specific, it is usually pretty easy to find it. Antique stores are usually broken up into different sections. There are sections for little trinkets, books, records, clothes and even large furniture. But beware, these stores aren’t like any department store. No matter how organized it may seem, there are always little things hiding around every corner.

These stores and shops honestly must be a part of The Twilight Zone because once inside, you will spend hours rummaging through tons of junk (hence the loving nickname “junking”) and not know anything that is happening outside in the real world. But one of the best parts of this whole adventure is finally finding it. The item that is calling your name and begging you to spend a minimal amount of money on it.

The best thing I ever found at an antique store was on my spring break senior year of high school. I bought three super cool rustic soup cans that were turned into hangers that I still use today. I love them so much that I made an intentional decision to bring them to college with me. And people still compliment me on them all the time.

College kids, boy are you missing out. There’s a whole world of shopping that you just might be overlooking. Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty because it just might lead you to a gem you’d never be able to find at a typical department store. “Junking” isn’t gross, boring or whatever preconceived notion you had in your head. Antiquing with your friends, and even sometimes yourself, is a great, fun and new adventure I hope all college kids go out and try once.