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Picker’s Paradise

Whether you're looking to recapture memories, indulge in a yesteryear want, or shop for sustainable, handmade goods and furniture, Green Country inspires with a plethora of opportunities.

Jennifer Zehnder
Jennifer Zehnder
April 28, 2019

Twelve years ago, Kayla Hanson’s inner picker was awakened with the purchase of a blue butter dish. Today, the Cookson, Oklahoma, resident has added more than 50 butter dishes, butter churns, butter molds, gallon-quart jars, and advertising items to her various collections — and has opened Lawley House Antiques, a brick and mortar expression of her now full-time picking obsession.

Hanson and lifelong friend, Patricia Harris of Park Hill, Oklahoma, have found, collected, bought, repurposed and sold countless treasures over the years from glassware, pottery, and furniture to books, estate jewelry, toys and more. For them, the shared hobby is more than just a creative outlet and source of additional income — it’s been the foundation for countless friendships over the years.

“Most of the people who love junking and picking are some of the nicest folks you’ll ever meet,” Hanson contends.

Items that speak to a person’s youth, sustainability goals or heart are more accessible than ever. (Photo: Jennifer Zehnder)
Items that speak to a person’s youth, sustainability goals or heart are more accessible than ever. (Photo: Jennifer Zehnder)

Harris agrees and has found that folks gravitate toward picking, antiquing and junking for a variety of reasons.

“Some are recapturing their past — something that reminds them of their childhood, their upbringing. Older people are looking for something perhaps they couldn’t afford growing up — specific toys, fishing lures. Younger folks are searching for items to repurpose and use, drawn to utility and craftsmanship — record players, clothing, furniture. And then you have folks like me, old hippies, who are hunting for unique things.”

For Jay and Brenda Alred of Vian, Oklahoma, it’s the thrill of the hunt that drives them to collect. The duo admittedly has a house full of items they have hand-picked over the years. These cherished items aren’t put away for safekeeping, Jay shares; they’re used — from the antique jars that reside in their vintage Hoosier cabinet to their Tiffany and Aladdin lamps.

“We don’t sell. Our treasures are for our children to inherit,” Jay shares. “And, if the children don’t want them, we’ve talked about selling it all and retiring. But we’d probably start all over again.”

Items that speak to a person’s youth, sustainability goals or heart are more accessible than ever. Online platforms, including eBay, shopgoodwill.com, Etsy, Craigslist, Let it Go and Facebook Marketplace, as well as more traditional picking haunts like auctions, antique stores, thrift stores, flea markets, yard and estate sales, and pawn shops offer abundant opportunities to lose oneself amongst things of the past.

Categories of collectible items, especially antiques, are exhaustive and can include glassware, pottery, coins, lamps, cast iron, clothing, military, photographs, books, ethnic/indigenous, electronics — radios, blenders, mixers, record players — furniture, artwork, jewelry, linens, fabric, quilts, uniques and more.

For those looking to dabble in the picking arts as a side gig, Hanson has some advice.

“Pick something you love because if you love it, you can turn it. If you don’t like it, you won’t ever sell it,” she explains. “It’s not an easy job [selling antiques]. You have to do a lot of research, have a good eye, a gut instinct and a strong back.”  

Oklahoma Antique Vendors

Family Treasures Antique Mall | Broken Arrow
Downtown Antique Mall | Checotah
Union Antiques | Checotah
Junk and Disorderly | Chouteau
Our Vintage Treasures | Chouteau
The Back Porch | Chouteau
Coleman Antiques | Claremore
Sailor Antiques & Collectibles | Claremore
Robey’s Antiques and Fine Art | Collinsville
Lawley House Antiques | Cookson
Off the Beaten Path | Coweta
Linger Longer Antiques & Soda Fountain | Dewey
The Market in Dewey | Dewey
Antiques N More | Drumright
Poor Cliff’s Antiques | Fairland
Ms. M’s Mercantile | Heavener
Miss McGillicutty’s Antiques | Jenks
The Pink Lily | Jenks
Needful Things Market | Owasso
Antique Depot | Skiatook
Briar Patch Market | Tahlequah
The Grapevine Consignment Mall | Tahlequah
Unique Vintiques Market | Tahlequah
360Home | Tulsa
Antique Restorations | Tulsa
I-44 Antique & Collectibles Mall | Tulsa
Just Stuff Plus | Tulsa
L and J Treasures | Tulsa
Next Generation Vintage Market | Tulsa
The Vintage Jewel | Tulsa
Tulsa Antiques | Tulsa
Magnolia House Antiques | Vian
Gene’s Collectibles | Vinita
Vinita Antique Mall | Vinita
Crossroad Treasures | Wagoner