Shopping Handmade

I'm not much of a shopper. I'm not sure whether it's because we live in a tiny home and thus don't need (or want) much stuff, or because it's just not in my nature. Either way, I rarely look forward to searching for and buying goods online or in brick-and-mortars. Having said that, I LOVE shopping handmade and vintage items via Etsy. (Loooooove.)

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Etsy has obviously been around for years, and yet so many people tell me that they don't know "how to shop" the site. They're overwhelmed by the diverse array of offerings, both in the vintage and handmade categories. But for me, Etsy is not only easy, it's fun. As such, I figured I'd share a few of my Etsy shopping habits here on the blog, since so many of the items from our Cottage were discovered via Etsy vendors and makers. (Please note that this isn't a step-by-step of how to use the site-- there are plenty of those online already. This is simply an overview of how I use the site to help make the Cottage look and feel the way it does.)

To visually demonstrate how I integrate vintage and handmade goods into our home, here are some miscellaneous items I found on Etsy that appear regularly in my Instagram feed and on my blog photos:

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First off, I only shop for pieces that I need. I don't just browse aimlessly, or on impulse. For me, the key is to search for the general function I need an item to serve, rather than search by a item's name directly. For example, when I need linens that can serve as towels, tablecloths, couch covers, and shoulder wraps, I just search for "linen throw" and explore the results from there, selecting a piece that appeals to my aesthetic, our home, and can serve these multiple functions at once. I don't search for and buy each of these items individually-- that would take four times as long, cost four times as much, and require four times the storage space in our home.

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Similarly, when I wanted to find an alternative to traditional, modern file boxes, I searched by function and material, rather than specifically for a "file box." By searching for "vintage" + "rattan" + "box", I realized that small picnic baskets could be upcycled into beautiful file storage solutions.

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I even found my wedding dress on Etsy. And because it was made for my measurements, it fit flawlessly upon arrival. (Even at 25 weeks pregnant!) Rather than going down the internet rabbit hole by searching for a "wedding dress," I browsed instead for "handmade" + "custom" + "white" + "dress". I found my dress within 1 hour, and never looked back. It was perfect for me.

By searching for items via detail and function, I discover creative and unique homewares, clothes, and toys that serve the purposes my family needs, in formats I might not have previously considered. This is one of the traits that makes our lil' home so personal and special to us!