Where to Shop for Brilliant Ideas
To unlock creativity, you have to be a collector of experiences and ideas
I love estate sales.
I’ve been going to estate sales since I was 15. If ever I have a weekend free of social commitments, I can most certainly be found poking through used junk at an antiques shop, flea market, or other type of sale. I love the treasure hunt aspect. I love that it’s far and away the most interesting way to shop for anything, from clothing to soup ladles. I love when I find objects that completely elude identification and all good sense. I have purchased everything from garden furniture to taxidermy to maps of Mars—usually because I have a place for it, but sometimes not.
When eBay came along, a lot of people like me were really terrified: Would selling everything now suddenly happen online, and go to the highest bidder? Would we lose our weekend treasure hunts, our access to inexpensive and bizarre impulse purchases? Would we all be reduced to basement-dwelling internet foragers, our faces lit by vertically scrolling rows of vintage glassware and WWII ammo boxes?
For coming up with Brilliant Ideas, you need something other than the internet. You need to find a thing you don’t know you need. And that takes a different kind of searching.
Reader’s Digest circa May 2007 (that’s a guess) told us exactly why that wouldn’t happen with a roundup of “Quotable Quotes” my stepmom and I laughed about for hours. I remember my favorite one nearly verbatim:
The internet is where you go to find things you need. Estate sales are where you go to find things you didn’t know you needed.
As a flea market junkie, I find this statement to be humorously truthful. As a creative, I find this statement to be completely invaluable. Yes, the internet is a GREAT place to go when you know what you need. It can find you books, recipes, meditation techniques, and even that word or song or that guy’s name you can’t think of.
But the problem with the internet is that it needs input from you to find things. You have to drive, and you have to know where you’re going…