• Have a clear idea of what you’re looking for or what room you’re working on. Don’t be willy-nilly, even if junk shopping seems to invite that. Use a targeted approach and if you absolutely don’t love it, don’t buy it.
  • Look for junk in all the right places. Beyond flea markets and antique stores, you should consider checking out used restaurant or hospital supply outlets, business closings, city cleanups, building surplus outlets and army surplus stores. (We might add that your searches will be more fun and less environmentally taxing if you carpool.)

“All my life I’ve been amazed at what people throw out,’’ Whitney says, afcroquet-ball-candle-holder.JPGter signing books for her fans and junk afficionadoes, a cluster of enthused women who look eager to hit the road in their own quest for riff-raff to requisition.

She turned that wonder into a business nearly ten years ago. It fit with her family lifestyle – “Sundays were church and flea markets” – and it satisfied her desire to recycle and reuse. (See the croquet balls as cande holders, right.)

“I always thought the message was good on many levels,’’ she says. It was environmentally sound, a good family pursuit and economical. Later, after Country Home asked her and her partner to report regularly on their ideas, Whitney and Nassauer, assembled their first book and launched speaking engagements. They’ve appeared on several talk shows and at numerous home shows.