History; that’s what Load of Rubbish sifts through every time we go to a job. Oftentimes the items we collect have little value beyond the raw materials taken from them—like precious metals, plastics, and glass harvested from old electronics. Other times, we come across vintage pieces that hearken back to days long ago. Just because something is old though, does that immediately give it heritage status or make it a vintage find worth preserving? Not necessarily, and sometimes those old things are more trouble than they are worth. So what is the difference between vintage vs antiquated items?

Vintage vs Antiquated

For some, antique door hardware adds beauty and functionality to a building

In our line of business, we come across plenty of old things. Old books, furniture, clothes, dishes, electronics, and so much more. We do our best to recycle as much as we can and are very much aware that many collectors would happily lay their hands on our finds from the road. Where is the line between vintage and antiquated though?

Vintage – of high quality and lasting value, or showing the best and most typical characteristics of a particular type of thing, especially from the past
~ Cambridge Dictionary

Antiquated – outmoded or discredited by reason of age old and no longer useful, popular, or accepted
~ Merriam Webster

These single pane windows might be unique, but are less efficient at filtering out noise or reducing the effects of seasonal temperatures

Going by these dictionary definitions, it would seem quality and usefulness are the prime difference between vintage versus antiquated. An item may be old, but if it is still useful, then the value remains and sometimes becomes even higher. Such is the case with antique furniture, vintage clothing, or good quality collectibles.

As a general rule, antiques are 100 years old or older, and vintage items earn that status at 20 years old

Sometimes the distinction between valuable antique and antiquated relic lies in the eye of the beholder though. Where someone might clamour over a vintage find in an antique store, others might poo-poo the dated item in favour of a modern piece. For example, a large desktop computer from 1995 retains very little value beside today’s modern laptops, tablets, or even smartphones. In fact, overall technology usually doesn’t date well. While vinyl collectors might beg to differ, ask a 5-year-old to use a rotary dial phone and you’ll see how fast technology gets left behind.

Where Load of Rubbish Draws the Line Between Vintage vs Antiquated

Load of Rubbish inspects all items we collect to determine usefulness before deciding what to do with them

At Load of Rubbish, we do our best to salvage whatever we can. In large estate cleanups, auction houses often come in before us to clear out the most valuable antiques. Plenty is still left behind though. Once customers take whatever last mementos they cherish, we then go in and empty out the rest of the possessions. We inspect everything, looking to spot the difference between antiques, vintage items, antiquated pieces, reusable things, and the remaining detritus. Just because one person doesn’t value an item, doesn’t mean we should relegate it to the trash.

Ultimately, whether an item is vintage or antiquated, its value remains for someone. Yes, some items find their way to Green Valley Recycling, but 90% of what we collect still holds value. Hence our attention to detail and focus on recycling. It all comes down to sorting. We push the fine line between vintage vs antiquated. Because age and popularity don’t always mean everything.