August 17, 2017 · 6:19 am
Donna and I first became close friends at work and later grew closer as antique buddies. We learned proficiency on the computer by eBaying on breaks and lunch. Donna often sent me late night emails to share new finds and of course, I was up shopping, too. Our boss called us “The eBabes.”
We also combed antique stores in several nearby counties on the weekends. Both smitten with art pottery and more, our collections grew. And grew. Until we both have come to that point where one either culls those collections…or opens an antique store.
We considered it. But happily retired, neither of us wants to run a store of any kind. These days, we are both doing the hard thing & letting go of collectibles we once prized. The beginning of the journey, especially Donna’s part, is highlighted in yesterday’s blog, Bye-Bye to Grandma’s Stuff, Part I: 6 Tips From an Amateur Decorator. In it, I share six ways to RE-feather your nest, with less.
This brings us to the next step. Now…what to do with all those old “antique-friends” painstakingly released to…well…where? Donna & I came up with these ideas for recycling collectables:
- Check with family first. I still have memories of several things my folks put in a yard sale without checking with us kids.
- QUESTION: How long does one carry a torch for an exquisite mantel clock from the old Hotel in Sisters, Oregon?
- ANSWER: A long time, apparently.
- See if one of your collector friends is interested. I now have a cool Wheatley vase that Donna fell out-of-love with…but that’s another article.
Lovely 1880s Wheatley pottery vase, a gift from Donna. Pray that I don’t start a collection.
- Sell stuff on eBay or Etsy. Years back, I put a special antique find up for bid on eBay and the profit paid for a fourth of my daughter’s wedding. Oh, yeah.
- Rent a space in an antique shop & display your items for sale. You may have to work one or two days a month as part of your rent agreement. Still, it could be enjoyable, if you don’t do too much shopping. (Wink)
- Offer to trade some of your out-of-favor things for something you actually WANT in an antique store. No money exchanged. I know someone who does this regularly. She usually offers more than the desired item is worth, thus sweetening the deal and getting rid of more items. And dealers benefit from having new stock to lure buyers.
- Donate items to a local auction to benefit a good cause. This is my favorite choice because it is a heart offering. I don’t even care what I paid for a piece. Much more important – the sum it will earn to help someone in need. To make your collectible more enticing to bidders, type out its history and description on a card to accompany the item.
I’m proud of my friend’s progress, ridding her home of collectibles that overstayed their welcome. After our visit today, I carried away the aforementioned Wheatley vase, a pink-slag-serving dish, a stout Weller vase (why didn’t Donna want that?), and a cool glass-topped jar. She’s doing so great.
But I think I’m regressing.
A couple bags of goodies from Donna…oh-oh.
August 15, 2017 · 7:30 pm
Recently, my friend and I spoke about an online article that claimed nobody wants your old, inherited stuff. Amen to that. My daughter’s home is lovely and filled with what she and her husband prefer. Okay, maybe a few cherished items from yesteryear, but not myriad collections. Nor are Donna’s children interested in her old bits and pieces. Only one granddaughter shares my friend’s passion. Without the passion part.
Donna’s 1880s Wheatley Oil Lamp relocated to the fireplace mantel. This cool lamp has four sides, each painted with a different flower. It’s pretty special. And now, everyone can enjoy it.
I’d come to see Donna’s newly acquired Wheatley Pottery oil lamp, but couldn’t get a good look because it sat on a shelf crammed with other antiques. Then I noticed her fireplace mantel seemed very crowded, as well. More Wheatley and other pottery, pictures of her children and grands in modern frames, and various treasured whatnots. Plus a plant or two. Why wasn’t the lovely oil lamp on the mantel with the other Wheatley cache?
Boldly, I suggested some minor reshuffling. Indulging me, Donna played along. Soon, the pictures were on the shelf and the Wheatley was on the mantle. After a little creative reorganization, we had achieved something of a designer look. For ten feet or so.
The redesigned mantel featuring: the Wheatley oil lamp, a small Wheatley Vase, a curved vase (also by Wheatley), a stoneware, Roseville fruit jar, one more Wheatley, & an American Belleek vase w/winter scene. The age of the pieces. colors, & primitive nature makes them go together.
Since then, Donna has made more changes. “The living room refresh inspired me to dig into my curio cabinets and pare down my collections. But…those are hard decisions.”
Are they ever! I’m trying to do the same, but it’s not easy. Here are some of the things we agree help us to let go and make our nests the best:
- First, have a trusted “someone” take a look at your room with new eyes. As Donna said, “Things are just there and you don’t see them anymore.” When I noticed a less-than-lovely-basket filled with dried flowers, ready for retirement, Donna agreed. She freshened the display with different fronds in a favorite Roseville vase. Now she smiles every time she passes by that corner.
A Roseville Bittersweet vase from Donna’s curio replaces an old basket. The foliage has been freshened & the arrangement shines atop this charming wicker table.
- Only surround yourself with items you actually like/love. One often displays an object out of respect for the former owner, but it gives no pleasure. It can go.
- Think “lots of white space.” As an author, I notice when big blocks of text make me want to close the page. If every space on every wall is covered, the eye has no place to rest. Look for things to delete from your décor.
- Lower pictures to eye level. We’ve all seen pictures floating near the ceiling. When asked why it hangs there, the answer is always, “There was a nail in that spot.” Go ahead & patch that old nail hole. Bring that picture down and it will become a member of a vignette family.
- Remember to group items in odd numbers: one or three or five, etc. My mother, an artist, taught me that principle long ago. It is more pleasing to the eye. Thinking odd numbers of items grouped together will help you choose only your favorites. The others? Bye, now.
- And of course, the old “less is more” adage. I believe in it, even if I don’t always adhere. It promotes white space and the choicest selections.
- A final point, things don’t have to match, but they should go together. Do you want your room to look like a hotel or furniture store? Or a home, reflecting your taste, lifestyle and memories? If decorated with what you like best, chances are good that things will “go together.”
Coming tomorrow – six more tips on how to recycle your unwanted collectibles….