Posted in Thrifting, Vintage Collecting

Managing Vintage Collections: My one rule

(Originally penned for the Metrolina Restore Blog…)

 In the short span of a few years I have gone from collecting nothing to collecting many things. Some of these collections were intentional, but a large number of them were accidental…as in, wow, I have 3 (or 5 or 15) of these…that’s a collection, right?! I have such a strong love for vintage but I realized in the last year especially that I have to be pickier about what I buy- because at some point you cross the line from collector to hoarder as my savvy and organized ReStore blogsister Jennifer Burnham from Pure and Simple Organizing often gently reminds me. How do you decide? It’s not easy, but  I think it’s much better to shop for vintage with intention, and this is a big part of it!

I am going to share the plan I instituted last year; it’s quite simple, really. My one main rule is this: if I cannot display it, I cannot buy it. This does two really good things for me. It forces me into some truly creative display and it also means I have to say no sometimes. As someone who adores all things vintage,  I’m sure you can guess which one is easier for me!

The creative display piece is fantastic- it means I get to come up with personal and meaningful displays and then add to them when appropriate. It means my walls and shelves are full of memories and this is what I truly enjoy. It means I get to scour and source magazines and Pinterest for clever display ideas and interpret them for vintage items- all things I love. Here are some examples:

Vintage Bar Trays, hung on wall:



Midcentury Bathroom Items in clusters on shelves:

Childhood Vacation spots:

Vintage Swans:

Saying no is harder. I have to say no to myself when I find a perfect object but know I have no space for it. I am also now approached quite often by people with vintage items to sell or even to give me. Saying no to someone who is trying to sell to me is definitely easier…the hardest thing of all is saying no to someone, a close friend or family member, perhaps, that offers me an item, or a group of items “because they know I like the 50s”.  Many people, myself included, just want an item to end up going to a home where it will be truly appreciated- so the intention here is always good and I understand that. And, don’t get me wrong, I have found many great items this way. But I can’t and shouldn’t have it all– some other people should be able to enjoy these nostalgic items too, right? Once I instituted my ‘must display’ philosophy this made saying no in these situations much clearer and actually a bit less painful.

Auntie Mame Mags and Books:

So far this is the plan that has worked for me. I allow myself one closet and some small storage areas inside my house- and that’s it. It holds me accountable to be sure I collect only the things I truly love and leave the others for someone else who will enjoy them even more than I would. And, I often swap out the décor inside my house, as I find new things or decide I will switch things around a bit  I know I can always donate items back so they will have a chance at another life with a new vintage collector that will appreciate it’s history or -best of all-have an actual nostalgic connection with the item.

How do you manage your collections and vintage hunting?



I am and actor and producer on the lookout for midcentury gold while furnishing my 1956 atomic ranch! Happily thrifting my way through life and sharing the info and tips as I go... I am a vintage dealer at Sleepy Poet Antique Mall in Charlotte, NC

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s