Let us put by some hour of every day for holy things...

I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails.
I will believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil, worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
I trust in Thee.
--Ann Kimmel

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Wake Up Call: The STUFF

 "I gotta get out of this place...if it's the last thing I ever do!"

With apologies to the other "Animals": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUpBSvN1a50&list=RDLUpBSvN1a50#t=20

The above photo is a batch of just-cleaned vintage toys I snared at a recent estate sale for 10 cents apiece. If only the monkey's expression looked a bit more glazed and desperate, it would pretty much sum up my present predicament. 

Boy, did I have a wake-up call the other night!

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Decluttering... It's been my theme all summer, and for someone who loves vintage, collects vintage, and sells vintage, it's a tall order. Acquiring the stuff is so much more fun (and so much quicker and easier to do) than cleaning the stuff, photographing the stuff, editing the photos of the stuff, writing up descriptions of the stuff, estimating postage for shipping of the stuff, and finally listing the stuff--let alone the time spent answering questions about the stuff and eventually--hopefully--selling and shipping off the stuff, which is by no means guaranteed.

[Which lures me aside to air a particular peeve: going to garage sales where the seller has based his pricing by what the antique stores and online auctions are charging, and when you offer  less, he or she gets huffy and retorts, "I could sell it on eBay for more than that!"  

"Then jolly well go and do it!" is what I feel like answering. And do the work and pay the fees and percentages while you're at it, and then see what your profit is... if your item sells at all with their kazillions of buyers versus the relatively small sampling of random local folks who stumble across your sale while they're looking for a handful of plumbing parts or a pair of rain boots for their preschooler. 

Come on already! Ebay's "Buy It Now" prices aren't exactly the mean price one expects to pay at a garage sale where you have maybe $15 bucks cash in your wallet.

Okay, end of rant. Back to my tale of woe.]

As I began telling you, I've been attempting to restore some semblance of order to my Etsy chaos and the resultant overflow into my home. While my youngest was away at college last year, I took his bedroom over as my temporary storage area. 
My youngest kid

Did I say temporary? (Smirk, smirk.) Well, that was my original intention. But that specious bit of reasoning has been proved to be wishful thinking. Not only that, but my husband found that the vacant bedroom was a great place to putter around with his various ham radios in need of restoration and repair, so yet more flotsam and jetsam were added to the mix.

Here's Hubby with his latest prize--a B-29 Bomber plane radio transmitter, which he snared for $35 at a flea market. It should fetch over $300 once he's repaired/restored it.

Now, add to that I've been filling boxes with mounds of household items and clothes to donate to the Salvation Army, and the fact that I've been clearing out my kitchen cupboards of my excess but much beloved vintage melamine, stacking it on counters while I try to make the heartbreaking decision of what to keep and what to sell...

...include that afternoon a visiting granddaughter with a love of strewing about the various vintage toys I've amassed for her amusement...

...further complicate things with a week's worth of my husband's and son's dismantling our old back porch and pouring concrete...

...crown it all with the hot water heater they spent the day disconnecting, battling, and repositioning so that I didn't get the dishes washed that evening before we all hit the hay...

 (Are you getting a mental picture of the state of my house yet?) 

Now, transport yourself mentally to wee small hours of the morning, about 3:00 a.m., for the actual story I've been so tiresomely ambling toward.

I awoke from my beleaguered dreams (I'm never-endingly trying to find my high school locker and classrooms and feeling mortified that I haven't seemed to manage to graduate after all these decades) to the sound of my son fumbling open bedroom door, switching on the light, and leaning in to report anxiously, "Mom, my right arm is in agony and I feel really weird and dizzy... I think I've had a spider bite," and then promptly collapsing to the floor in a hazy near-faint. We managed to get him back to his bed and I phoned for an ambulance. (Today he referred to the incident as "the other night when my arm exploded".)

Ten minutes later five uniformed paramedics with their big black equipment cases came threading in past the stacks of Etsy detritus, boxes of cast-offs, lethally placed wheeled toys, and industrial strength radio parts and tested all of Wyatt's vital signs. By this time he was feeling somewhat recovered, though his arm was still tingling and aching. 

After thoroughly checking him out and monitoring for a while, the paramedics offered the possible explanation that the dizziness was from dehydration after all the heavy work Wyatt had done that day, and we surmised his arm pain might be nothing more than a bad muscle strain (maybe it was a pinched nerve?) The paramedics offered to take him to the hospital though the crisis seemed to be past, but we declined, dosed him with Advil, and I staggered back to bed, feeling none too well myself after having my gargantuan household mess laid open to the view of these serious, polite, and professionally poker-faced strangers. Horrors!! 

I can only imagine what they thought of the chaos. I can see the Dateline documentary now:  Hoarding: The Human Cost of Chaos... And Keith Morrison, in his slick folksy way, intoning,  

"He was only a young man, with his whole life before him...until Fate stepped in--and tripped over the cartons."


It was thoroughly MORTIFYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And I'm jolly well determined to do something about it. The time has come to get ruthless about jettisoning The Stuff. I will attempt to keep you posted about my progress.

I am a hoarder
But I can change
Because I have to
Or else.

My secondary goal is somehow to escape 
my perpetual high school nightmare.


If God loves me, Why can't I get my locker open?  First World Problems



  1. That's what I have been doing all summer long decluttering selling off some of my favorite vintage pieces and bits of my squeak collection..its so hard when your a lover of vintage because you find so many neat things

  2. You are SO right--it's positively painful, letting go of some of these beauties! I'm trying to console myself that they'll be going to support various good causes, but it's tough all the same. I can't see my own stuff objectively, either. What to keep? What to give away? What to sell? What to throw out? Good luck with your efforts!