Thursday, May 11, 2006

what's in your attic?

There is a lot of stuff in my attic. For one, we have a ton of flattened moving boxes. Why did we keep the boxes? I guess to avoid going out to find more boxes when we inevitably move again.

There's also a cat up there. Jackie is pretty reclusive, and spends a lot of her time lounging on a pile of - you guessed it! - flattened moving boxes.

Then you've got the Christmas decorations, HWWLLB's recently established quilting studio, and a few boxes of random stuff like photos, old dishes from Granny Pea, camping stuff, and art supplies.

And then we have the antique store. Well, it could be an antique store. It's actually Bugheart's corner storage space in my attic, but as I opened storage box after train case after hatbox on Sunday trying to photograph everything that was up there, I realized that I could have been making a tidy profit off all this stuff all along. But I didn't because I'm not that kind of friend. Also, I had never gone snooping to see what all was up there.

So what all is up there? Enough to fill a photo set on Flickr, I'll tell you. Vintage cameras, vintage shoes, vintage typewriters, vintage housewares, vintage plastic bags full of unidentifiable vintage items... it's amazing. I'm sure you'll be seeing some of the goodies coming up some time soon on the Great Monday Give-Away, so if you like vintage what-nots, as Bugheart (and I) obviously do, you'll be in heaven.

See, Miss Bugheart is a collector. She collects mostly stuff from the fifties, like traincases, cameras, furniture, and containers of any kind. She loves clothes from the sixties though (the colors suit her amazingly well), like Vested Gentress wrap skirts and cardigans with huge buttons. I love her collections, and I never cease to marvel at how varied they are, and how much use she gets out of them. So three years ago when she moved from a spacious co-op house in Chapel Hill to a tiny (and I mean TINY) apartment in Our Nation's Capitol, she had to store some stuff. As she already has a small army of storage spaces containing various vintage items dotting this great nation's landscape, it only seemed right to offer her a corner of our roomy attic. Thus the antique store was born.

I myself am not a collector. I like to joke that my hobby is throwing away other people's collections. It has always bothered me when people assume that because I like cats, I would like a cat-related dust-catcher to display on my bookshelf, or because I have a Hello Kitty pencil sharpener, of course I will want a Hello Kitty stuffed doll/purse to carry my... um... business cards?

Every year at Christmas, my aunt generously gives me a piece of Christmas-themed Lenox. She has even passed this tradition on to her son and daughter, my cousins, who now also give me (and my lucky sister, also a minimalist), Lenox items. For those of you who have never experienced such opulence, Lenox is a maker of china, I guess, and their products include all sorts of very useful items like candy dishes, teapots, curios, whosits and whatsits. In case you're curious, among my treasures I have this, this and a Santa & Rudolph teapot that I only wish they had up on the website. Well, okay, so I don't have them anymore. This spring I unloaded my Lenox "collection" at a charity yard sale. I'll say this: they fetched a nice sum for the benefiting organization. People will pay a lot of money for collectibles.

Do I feel a little guilty for ditching all my Christmas presents? Um... maybe a little. But I mostly feel good, and lighter, for having rid myself of a "collection." Is this one of those hugely-human categorizable personality traits, like lumpers and splitters? Collectors and throwers-away? Maybe that's why I love Bugheart so much - opposites attract, right? Or maybe I just wish I looked as good as she does in sixties cardigans with giant buttons.


  1. I'm not a collector. Neither am I a thrower-away. Me? I'm totally a sell-it-on-ebay girl. It never ceases to amaze me what people actually buy.

    Of course, once again, your charity-mindedness gives my profit-mindedness a decidedly bad name.

  2. first of all
    you look
    in my clothes
    (usually better in my opinion
    because you have better hair)...
    i think collecting
    is a nature
    with a strong component
    of nurture.
    my dad is a collector
    my mom is a throw-awayer...
    my dad collects
    crystals and minerals
    and scientific junk
    that is not that useful to me...
    but my mom threw away
    all the things
    i wished someone
    had saved...
    so i hold onto things
    i value that past
    my mom never saved...
    most of what i collect
    are things my mom
    once threw away,
    e.g. her wrap skirts,
    old photographs,
    i swear
    i am trying
    to temper
    some of
    my collecting
    with giving away!
    read the great quote
    my brother left
    on my last
    collection collective.
    sorry for babbling.

  3. Hubbie has a "thing" for cardboard boxes too. And old car parts. And old computers and computer parts. And tools. And old clothes that I have NEVER seen on his body in the 13 years that we have been together. Paper he likes too.And books. There are now 3 reel to reel projectors with in 20 feet of me. And thousands of feet of old engineering movies just in case we wanted a "movie night". I collect yarn and fabric and the covers off of concentrated juice containers. The yarns and fabric I use regularly. Not the fabrics so much right now. I need to knit, not sew. And when he periodically asks me WHY I am collecting juice container lids...I give him the same answer that he give me when asked the same question. They might be useful some day.

    Bugheart, not that you don't have a valid point, but I REALLY understand where your mom is/was comming from. It all has to do with not being able to find the "useful" thing when the need for it arrives. That and having stuff fall on you.


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