Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I've been on a steady and determined pathway to becoming more organized in life. Those of you who buy for your antiques shops will laugh at this, because you all know the futility of trying to be neat and orderly when the very nature of our business is junque, junque-ing and accumulating more junque. There is a native wisdom that says, "never throw anything away, because you'll need it one of these days". We live by this adage! We collect old hardware, knobs, rusty nails, spigot handles, drawer pulls, buttons, pieces of wire and small chips of wood that we just KNOW came off of something we'll be repairing next week . . . Then there are the receipts . . . millions of tiny little receipts, and the notes to self about the things we purchased without receipts, at flea markets and yard sales, and traded from one another. (Or the things we scoffed from the junk pile, or out of the dumpster.) There are the maps and business cards and brochures and usually 4 or 5 napkins with undecipherable reminders about resources and estate sales and barn sales and seat caners and formulas for the best homemade wood restorers . I keep a great big envelope for paint colors I like, but I can never find it to add my latest 50 paint chips.
My motto has become:
We save phone numbers with no names and names with no phone numbers, and email addresses and blog spot addresses and info on antique mall dealers who have been out of business for 3 years.
Best of all,
(you know you do this . . . ),
we save magazines and magazine pages and photos clipped from magazine pages, for inspiration. We accumulate the nicest journals and photo albums in which to paste these magazine clippings. (If we could ever find the time, or the photo albums when we want them.) That's just the first layer. Then there are the sugar bowl lids missing sugar bowls, and the butter dishes for which we expect to locate lids, and the single pillowcases of which we're positive we bought a matched pair. There are glue guns without glue sticks, and the large cache of glue sticks which do not fit the glue gun we have in hand. (They no doubt fit the other glue gun - the one we thought was right in the tool drawer, but is missing at the moment . . . ) I DO attempt to organize in a cute way - just in case some antiques dealer friend might stop by and see my accumulation of important stuff. Tools of the trade, you know . . . There are antique show fliers that we keep, so we don't miss next year's show - and company names torn from product packaging so we can order from them, only we've no longer any idea why we wanted the product to begin with. There are books and how to manuals. Usually a hundred or so, mostly out of date and irrelevant at this point. There is a huge assortment of cute price tags and business cards we keep for inspiration. And trust me -they were a wonderful inspiration when we first saw them, and no doubt will be again, if we can put our hands on them. There is string and raffia and glue, (usually 5 different types of specialty glue), and felt pads and sliders to move big pieces of furniture. There are numerous types of gloves, each specific to some task. I save every piece of antique looking paper . . . . sheet music . . . . ledger paper . . . . etc.
I might need it some day - you know I might!
I'm into clock parts. Faces, gears, hands. They must be sorted and stored in antique blue Mason jars, according to size and type. I'm into buttons. They take hours to sort through. Especially when you buy in bulk. Brother Dearest once travelled with me on a buying trip, and helped me count out 5,000 white and cream and ivory antique buttons, from a whiskey barrel full of all different colored buttons. These were eventually washed, dried and sorted by age, packaged and labeled and priced. These things are important and take time. They also take up space for weeks, all over the little house, while they're being prepared for the shop. Honestly, no matter how hard I work at it, there will never be a truly organized system of running this type business from a small house. The important, (and easier thing), is to
only have friends who are also in the business,
so they will understand when they see your overabundance of important things and your particular style of disorganization, and not have you committed.
If you do choose to have friends who have never been addicted antiques dealers for 20 or 30 years, don't invite them over. Just take them
out to dinner,
and claim your house is being fumigated . . . or painted.
We know
that we're incredibly creative and busy people
who have more important things to do than fuss over
every little thing being in it's proper place.
We'd rather shop!

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