January 5, 2010

to purge or not to purge

That is the question.

I have a lot on my plate this coming year. More than I've had in a long time. It is all good and exciting stuff, but real life (laundry, dinner, groceries, garden, clutter) tends to get away from me pretty quickly without a lot of discipline of my time.

Before things get into full swing, I really want to get my house under control. For me, that means closets organized, every room deep cleaned - ceiling fans, blinds, cobwebs, light fixtures, etc. I live on a dirt road, and things can get pretty dusty. Lots of deep cleaning to be done.

My hope is to take one or two rooms each week, including closets, and gut, spruce, sort, and replace what I want to keep.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I never thought the bathroom would be my favorite thing to clean!

So, cleaning and organizing closets is not necessarily fun, but it's pretty standard fare.

The next part is where my dilemma lies.

I have boxes, drawers and cupboards full of stuff.

Good stuff.

Things that haven't really found a spot in my house, but I still love anyway.

Things that aren't doing anybody any good at all hidden in a closet.

I will never live in a house larger than this house. If there's no place for it here now, there probably never will be.

So, do I Ebay it all? Will I regret getting rid of it?

I'm kind of feeling that the time has come to purge.

Here is a sampling of what I've discovered hidden away.

I had great plans for the linens. Pillows, lampshades and such. It's not going to happen.

And don't get me started on vintage tablecloths. This post should have been titled binge and purge, as there was some serious over indulgence that took place here. Ridiculousness, wrapped in insanity. Granted this took years, and granted, I only buy them cheap, but still.

Keep in mind, I have many tablecloths that I use regularly, or display. These are some of the dark recess dwellers.

Have you ever visited the Etsy shop Vintage Home? I discovered her shop quite a while ago and loved the tablecloth pillows she made. So, I decided to collect tablecloths and make my own. Poor choice. I can sew, but not particularly well, and not without a certain amount of frustration. Her work is beautiful, and I would now have pillows for my front porch if I had just bought the ones I loved from her eons ago!

If you're impressed, I understand.

If you're appalled, I understand.

I am both at the same time.

Hankies....oh, the hankies.

Some framed and never put on the walls.

Some in a box never to see the light of day.

Wouldn't this one be so pretty for a bride to have as her "something blue". Perhaps one of my future daughters-in-law? See, I can rationalize saving almost anything.

This apron is a treasure from one of the few times I exercised restraint. My mother in law had access to boxes and boxes of linens from an estate. This was one of about twenty adorable aprons.

It's been in a box since last April when I got it.

By next week, I should have made it to the china buffet....lots of goodies there. And then the kitchen cupboards. Oh boy.

So, what's your hoard/purge philosophy?

And what if a potential purge item was a gift?

I think I'm finally convinced that my treasures will have a happier life at someone else's house. Someone who will let them see the light of day.

To be continued.....


  1. How familiar...I, too, have lots of hankies that I intended to frame and hang, and now that we have grandkids, perhaps hanging them in CampNanaPapa, their come-to-visit room, would be perfect! I have a friend who solved the problem of all the stuff given as gifts but no room to store: take pictures of the items to remember them and the giver and then donate!

  2. You speaketh my language. If you're the Queen of vintage hankies, then I am the Princess. And tablecloth. And fabric (when I don't even know how to sew...) and McCoy pottery, and milk glass, etc...

    I sold some of my stuff in a garage sale 2 years back, all the while knowing that if I found the exact same thing at someone else's sale, I would totally buy it! It's all about the hunt, huh?

    I'm nervous about purging, too. What if we miss our things? What if we want them, but they're long gone?

    Also - where did you find the square frames for the hankies? I looked for some a good while back, with no luck. And custom frames are $$$. The framed hankie thing would be cute on Rubester's walls...

  3. We are truly kindred spirits. I can echo everything you're saying. Seriously, I even collect the same things you do... with very good intentions.
    So what do we do? Mmm, gifting is a good option.
    I'm having a yard sale this Sat. to really weed out the junk... so i can finally enjoy my precious finds... finally get them out into the light of day. Then maybe I can justify keeping them for a while longer :)


  5. Well, here's the thing......I used to have a very vintage cottage decor and because of that I loved going to antique malls, garage/yard sales, estate sales because you could never have too much. However, it got to be just so overwhelming for me...because where do you stop....how do you stop...it overtook me and I was never satisfied, always looking for that next "FIND". So to answer your question, I am in favor of purging, keeping only your favorites (and not too much of any one thing) and selling the rest. That's what I did and I've never looked back. Every few months, I go through all my closets and drawers and make several trips to Goodwill.

    Hope that helps.

    P.S. And it is much easier to keep my house clean and cabinets organized.

  6. Are you living in my linen closet? That's one of my goals this year....out with the old and in with only things I am deeply and madly in love with. Yard sales, Freecycle and some regifting are ways I've been getting rid of gently and even some not so gently things in my home.
    Good luck!

  7. Oh, Teresa, this post sounded so much like me! My husband and I will be married 40 years in June and I have saved many too many treasures from every one of those years! We are beginning a huge project cleaning and organizing our basement. We may need to be rescued from the pits!

  8. I hear you. I need to go through some things too. On the other hand, I would like to offer my "ahem" storage services to you;>) No charge!

  9. Oh, those tablecloths and hankies are just gorgeous. We use hankies all the time and I love vintage tablecloths. If you know you will never use them, then it's probably time to get rid of them. You will be happier knowing that someone else is using and loving them. They are gorgeous, I'm always on the hunt for great hankies.

  10. Beautiful stuff!

  11. I completely understand...I begin my spring cleaning now, because when spring truly arrives, there's so much outdoor gardening to do, I'll never get the inside like I want it! It's hard to part with some things...especially if they're sentimental or just delightful to look at. Keep what you're truly in love with, share with dear friends those things you can part with.

  12. Oh I'm right there with you! I love seeing folded stacked vintage table cloths....in my closet...they bring me great joY! Hahaha...I wish I could help but I'm afraid I am guilty of the very same thing! I am working on cleaning, and getting rid of clutter....but I'm starting with things I DON'T LIKE....to make room for the things I do like.
    Perhaps you should start somewhere else FIRST then come back to the beautiful items....
    Your collection is beautiful!
    Come by for a visit when you take a break from cleaning! Big smile!

  13. Girl, I don't know what to tell you, other than my experience. I purged all my stuff years ago, and now I kick myself all the time. I just now have one sweet little pile of things that I have no place to put, and I've got to make a decision soon. Your home seems 'done', but if you are like me, you like to change things alot. I really have no advice! Do you want to ask Helen for you? I was actually going to post thing by thing on my blog and ask for advice....get rid of? keep? It's SO hard to make a decision! Now, ya know ifn' you go and eBay things, give us the heads up. I trust that you will make the right decision. You seem to have a head for knowing.

  14. I say...
    keep it all!!!

    just re-arrange it. You collected all this great vintage stuff cause you love it!! You'll be sorry!!
    lather, rinse, repeat...

  15. I'd be so happy to help you if you need somewhere to send them:)!!! Mandy

  16. Heck! How much do you want for them? I'm redoing my sitting room and I need the blues in those vintage tablecloths to make pillows out of...if you're interested in selling the lot, please contact me at christingishmael@gmail.com I just found your blog, A D O R A B L E !!!!

  17. Sorry! I'm posting twice! Just went to the Vintage Etsy site and now I want to make stockings too! So cute...thanks for sharing!

  18. I'm with Mary Engelbreit; the original "more is more" gal. But, if you must purge, you should give us a chance to feed our addictions- HA! Put them up for sale on your sidebar. I know I'd have to shop Meadowbrook Farm's Vintage Boutique!

  19. oh i love the apron! you have wonderful stuff.

  20. We recently went through our home, sorting out the necessary from the 'oh for pity sake why am I keeping this' items. We do this a couple times a year. Had a Junque Sale then what was left over we packed up and delivered to the American Cancer Society Thrift Store. Good stuff they'll do well to sell..for a wonderful cause. :o)

  21. As I started reading your post I'm thinking, "I know how you feel, girl! Too much SHTUFF in my collection too." But then as I scrolled down to see your linens my thinking slowly changed to "Oooo, I love that one and that one..." Then when I got to the TABLECLOTHS my heart started pounding and my thoughts changed to "send them to meeeee, how much would she charge? MUST see her eBay account.." By the time I made it to the apron and hankies I had to grab my inhaler and nitroglycerin. CrazyGrumpy Unk had to pull me away from kissing the screen and I must now Windex the whole unit.

    Suffice it to say, I will gladly add to my shtuff if you want to sell it right here on your site. sigh....

  22. Oh, how those hankies would make the most adorable quilt! Pair them with some sashing from Anna Maria Horner's new line (like the dobby dots or the beautiful cotton voiles) and it would be divine. :)

  23. So many kindred spirits here! I also have way too many collections that I can't seem to part with. I had so many ideas of what I wanted to do with them, but never got beyond the idea stage! We are moving this year and will be downsizing. I don't know if I can do it, but I'm going to have to try. It will be a struggle.

  24. I'm all for purging! This last weekend I managed to whittle about 8 boxes labeled "home decor" down to 2. Yep, just 2!!! It was liberating. The main thing for me though was that I've owned these items and looked at them for several years now and truthfully, I'm just tired of them...ready for a change in color scheme and style. I'll be shopping at yard sales and thrift stores this spring to decorate our new home, but you can bet I'll be much more selective about what I bring home. I'm so tired of cleaning and storing things that I don't LOVE, things I just sort of like. From now on, it only makes it in the door if I LOVE it, if it sings.

  25. Oh my....I'm doing the very same thing this week. We're in the process of moving to a new home and I'm trying to sort/clean/purge everything before moving it. There's a large pile of goods in the basement that has been labeled "not going to be moved." But what about my vintage tablecloths, the mid-century pottery I've collected for years, or all those books that have accumulated in my bookshelves? If I look at the item closely and it doesn't speak to me in a clear, firm voice, then I'm ready to part with it. And if I keep it, then it's going to be used in some way. Yes, often the item is beautiful and valuable, but it's not doing anybody any good if it's stuck back in a neglected drawer and never sees the light of day. This morning I pulled a lovely wool blanket out of the closet and found some insect damage on it. No more! Either it gets used and appreciated or it's time to let someone else care for it.

  26. Just found you through Farm Chicks, and I'm so happy I did. Thank you for sharing your lovely photos - you're inspiration for me, for sure! Can't wait to see what's up next . . .!

  27. Hey there, this is your "O-So-Good-Friend" Tamsen just writing to say that before you make that haul to the Goodwill with all your FABULOUS stuff, I want to go shopping at your house so I can fill my own abode with "must-haves"! I'm pretty sure Chris won't find out since I have so much stuff of my own and he's pretty much given up on questioning why I need ANOTHER vintage(read: old) apron or tablecloth for my kitchen. Just a thought...:)!

  28. You are so lucky, as here in the Great White North of Canada, we rarely see such beautiful vintage collectables. I would be truly honoured if some of you goodies would like to come live here, where this morning I was baking muffins for my son and his new wife-to-be. In the -34C, with a wind chill factor. Just another thought!!! deeshelt@hotmail.com aka Darla

  29. Okay. Well, I think you should sell the tablecloths on the very left in the 2nd and 3rd rows to me. That would help, right? I think you should purge. I'm all about use it or lose it. Just do it.

  30. Hi there! I just found your blog, I'm in Montana too! We bought some acreage a few years ago and are going to start building this spring. I found your blog through the remodel posts you did and my hubby and I were so inspired! Your place is amazing!! My hubby said, "wow, she's just like you!" I think he thought us junk collectors were few and far between. Anyway, I'd love to buy those table cloths for to make pillows/curtains, etc for my new house if your interested in selling! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  31. I'm certainly not appalled...in fact, if you offered to give me ALL of your castaways I would probably say "absolutely"...sight unseen! I certainly share similar obsessions. I just love it all...anything vintage.
    Here's a link that will show you some fun ideas for many of the things that you've shown.
    I love working my vintage 'finds' into aprons. It's quite simple - ...maybe you can gain enough inspiration to hang on to your treasures! ;-)
    I can always talk myself out of getting rid of my 'finds'! ;0) My hubby is looking into therapy for me...

  32. You would think it was me writing this blog!! I have some of the items you mention and many more (like old quilts and since I buy cheap as well you can imagine the condition they are in!!!) I know I would feel great getting rid of all the excess....I really, really would and we are planning a big move soon so I know I should....but....what if.....

  33. I just found your blog....oh my. Deep cleaning? two rooms a week??? My New Years Resolution for 2009 was "a drawer a day". By February when I gave up I had cleaned out 3 drawers......I used to cleect vintage linens but have gotten to the age that I question, who needs all this stuff???

  34. Another thought...I think you can sell vintage items on Etsy so you know they'd go to loving homes! And I'm certain that buyers would snap up those lovelies very quickly. If you decide to sell on etsy (or ebay or anywhere) you should definitely let us all know, though...we'd be first in line customers!

  35. If you sell them, you must let us know. Your findings are beautiful!!!

  36. OMGosh! You are my new favorite blog. I just found out about you today and I love it. Your house it to die for, totally the way I would love my house to look someday.
    Don't ever stop blogging.
    Kelly O

  37. Yes and I echo every comment left here. Seriously...if you want to sell any of this beautiful stuff...let all of us blog readers know..I am collecting stuff to sell at an antique show this summer...I would gladly buy a big box of your lovlies and than my husband would have to pry it out of my hands to resell....

  38. I am in the midst of "the purge" as well. I have only been married twelve years, but have amassed a ridiculous amount of stuff during that time. My house is teeny, and though I may one day have a larger one, I have too many things, and not enough room. It's tough, because I am very sentimental, but I think purging is the way to go. I love all your treasures though! Good luck :)

  39. Isn't it interesting how every year at this time we get hit with the need to purge???? I hear you all too well, and I don't want to think about being where you are! But I think Ebay or Etsy is your answer....you are right, it makes no sense to have them put away and never enjoyed. But how do you do that if you truly love every one of them? My SIL says you keep what you absolutely love and give or gift the rest.....easy for her, she is not a "collector" ! LOL Tought choices, but I still think someone should have them to love and put out.... :)

  40. Okay, I'll confess to buying damask tablecloths and napkins. And knowing full well that most of the tablecloths will not fit my table, but they are too pretty to pass up! Linens and hankies are another weakness, along with glassware. I, too, am running out of spots to stick my treasures, but still love to pick them up at garage sales and thrift stores. I tell myself that there are worst addictions.

  41. My sister and I had the same problem. So we rented a space in a local antique store. After merchandising all of the things we could stand to part with, we realized that we needed more stuff to have a really nice display. Off to the thrift stores and estate sales we trotted. Now we have a space in an antique store (packed with stuff) and ten times the stuff at home in boxes, waiting to be cleaned, ticketed, and taken to the shop! LOL. But, we are having fun!

  42. Honestly...saving and collecting great vintage goodies made my life hell until I stuck to the rule that says if youve had it over a year and havent used it by now you never will. I purge anything over 18 months.....except pets and children,
    Darlie of
    the Redneck Junkers

  43. Seriously, there is not a thing in these pics that isn't a really great treasure, and should be kept intact as long as possible!

    But, should you ever want to really purge and get rid of them, I'd be glad to take them off your hands, lol!


  44. Hey Teresa, before you get rid of your vintage hankies, check out this Etsy shop. LOVE her hankie banners! Looks so easy to make too.
    linda t

  45. I am sure it has been said....I would be happy to help you purge...just send them my way :-) XOXO Courtney

  46. I like the binge part ... but not the purge part! Those are just too precious to part with.

    Smiles, Lea

  47. A collection after my own heart! I too have felt the sting of letting go and purging, but I always find my life simpler afterwards. So nice to know that what some may have thought of as insanity on may part was just the "norm" when among the right company. Ditto on the letting us know if you sell them on Etsy or Ebay.

  48. Not sure how I am going to attack the problem I have with all the collecting, or should I say hoarding that I myself have done, but I think some trades and some encouragement to create with the stuff will help. I started a ning group for folks like us to meet for the challenge.
    The link for craftanonymous is on my blog.

  49. Oh my! I was just noodling around the internet this evening and came across your blog -- saw the pics of your tablecloths before I saw the link to my etsy shop!! Thank you so much for all of your kind words. I'd like to mention that I am green with envy (in the good way!) about your vintage linens. -amy

  50. Hi!! You can see from all the posts that we all love vintage linens!! A quote from somewhere - "Don't let what you own, own you". If you are fretting over it and have to find a place to keep it, it owns you! Pass it on. Having said that...I am with everyone else, one woman's "too much" is anothers "must have"!
    Being a bit of a conservator and also actually using antique pillow cases on my bed, I have decided to chair the "Vintage Linen Rescue" mission. We accept all donations and promise to find a loving home for them!! (Put them on ebay but let us know when you do it)

  51. I really enjoyed your post! I came to your blog via Amy's (Vintage Home) and I couldn't agree with you more on how lovely her creations are. I've been a follower of her since her first days on eBay and have treated myself to many of her fabulous creations over the years.

    You have quite a sweet collection of linens!!

    Becky :)