Sometimes folks who read my blog or hear my junking stories ask me, "How do you junk?"

It's a funny question to me because as you know, junk is my life.  But I have been promising to write this for months, so here goes!

The Shiny Red Houses Guide to Finding Great Junk

1. Find places where there might be good junk.

Let's say that you live in Durham, NC and you want to do some junking. The first thing you can do is turn to your good friend google and search "Durham, NC thrift stores". When I tried this google search I came up with quite a few!

Rescued Treasures Gift Shoppe
Everything But Grannies Panties (This might be the best name for a junk shop ever!)
Salvation Army
Faith Thrift Store
Another Man's Treasure

These are just a few- I found this map of about a gajillion million shops. It makes me want to take a road trip!

2. Once you've decided where to go make sure you have your supplies. Chocolate (to prevent junk fatigue), coffee, water, a tape measure and CASH! I emphasize CASH because some junk places won't accept plastic and you do not want the heartbreak of not being able to purchase your treasures because you didn't bring any CASH.

3. Do not take your kids. Seriously, especially if you are a novice and especially if you have boys. I take my girls junking because they can appreciate the fun of clothes shopping, if with a limited attention span. I have yet to meet a boy who will junk without being convinced that the junk shop will kill him dead on the spot. So just don't bring them. You can bring a friend, though sometimes a friend can be a distraction. You will have to decide if you can chat and junk at the same time.

4. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes that can be easily removed. Trying on shoes when you have to keep lacing and unlacing sneakers will kill the junk joy. Clogs and flip-flops are ideal. Not every junk shop has a dressing room. Wearing a skirt will enable you to try things on underneath it. Wear a cami top under your shirt or sweater so that you can try things on over it without having to get completely naked.

5. Try not to have a specific item in mind. Junk is all about serendipity. Maybe you'll find a bag full of the best quilt fabric you've ever seen, but more likely you'll find an ottoman you didn't know you wanted but is perfect for the living room. See what the junk gods have put before you and look for the hidden treasures.

6. Take a deep breath, throw your shoulders back and enter the shop. Get a cart so you don't get shoppers arm. I find that the best way for me to take in a store is by examining one area at a time. In other words, I don't look at the store as a whole. I get overwhelmed. I start with housewares, and row by row I work my way through.

7. Have fun with color, texture and style. This is where junking is a complete blast. It allows you to try different looks and styles without making a huge commitment. Think you might like some turquoise in your kitchen? Grab that turquoise vase for 1.99. Put it in your kitchen and see if you like seeing turquoise there every day. Want to see if you can pull off skinny jeans? Get them at Goodwill for 3.99 and take them out for a spin. The point here is to stretch yourself a bit. Creep outside your comfort zone. Keep an open mind. See what your eye is most attracted to. Fill up your cart. Don't worry if it doesn't seem to make sense. In the immortal words of the Talking Heads, "Stop Making Sense."

9. Come home and demand that your family admire your junk. Try on the clothes. Make them guess how much everything cost. Laugh at them when they guess wrong.

10. Blog your finds so that I can see too! I will absolutely cheer you on!

11. Get in the habit of trolling some shops. Junking really does require a bit of practice. You'll develop your sense of what you like and what you don't. You'll get to know which shops to go to for clothes and which to go for to find housewares.

I hope this helps spread the joy of junk to junkie newbies!