Friday, May 23, 2014

The Great Sortout continues… and moves to Etsy!

A couple of weeks ago I opened a couple of Pandora's Boxes - namely a large camphor wood chest and a smaller one. They were full of clothing Mum had kept for whatever reason:

  • Some were mine from my babyhood and toddler days, lovely quality stuff
  • Some were hers from the 40s and 50s
  • Some were mine from my adulthood and I confess I was responsible for putting them there

I sighed. It was a sigh of nostalgia and a sigh of frustration, as it meant more sorting out and deciding what to do with stuff. Yes, I could leave it there. It wasn't hurting anyone. But living here I feel a bit stifled and overcome by STUFF from time to time. I don't need all of it. I don't need half of it.

So I sorted and got five piles:

  • Back in the camphor wood. This included some of Mum's old 40s and 50s lovelies, as well as some clothing she'd made for me in the 80s, which was of a superb standard and - bugger it - doesn't fit over my bum anymore. However, I love the clothes and know how much love, frustration and pricked fingers went into making them.
  • In the bin. Some of the toddler clothes were simply buggered. They had been good once but obviously I was hard on clothes as a kid. Mum must have kept them for sentimental reasons but they were my clothes after all and I can decide what goes. There was also some very holey woollen underwear. Nuff said.
  • For my granddaughter - or step-granddaughter. There were several very good items, classic in look or unique enough not to look dated - which I've parcelled off to her. Sadly that only got rid of about six items.
  • For charity. This was a small pile as a lot of the stuff is dated but I managed to find some items which wouldn't sell on the internet but were suitable for charity, in good condition and quite classic in style.
  • On sale. eBay is my weapon of choice but with so much vintage stuff on hand I decided to start an Etsy shop. I'm delighted I got the name KeepCalmNBuyVintage… anything with the Keep Calm… theme is highly popular. One little pink day dress in particular is beautiful and pristine. Fit for a princess. I hope it sells and goes to a good home. I have no reason to keep it; I can't remember wearing it but I suspect I was posed in it for a birthday photo, possibly my third. It must have been very expensive at the time. The label shows no signs of repeated washing. Knowing me I would have yelled that I'd rather be wearing shorts or trousers, the tomboy that I was.
You won't be surprised to hear that the camphor wood chests are both still quite full even after all that. I'll have to do another purge in six months. The first run-through was rather emotional for me. There were things I just couldn't part with right now; it's only been a few months since I lost Mum.  Half the time I was sorting I was missing her dreadfully - the other half I was expecting her to walk into the room saying, "You can't throw that good thing away!"

So my sales continue. I've had a run on my babyhood/early childhood toys. Mum had kept nearly all of them and I threw most of the stuffed toys away as they were no good for charity. Too old and manky. I kept Ted and Kitty though!! Lovely Ted, my best friend until I started school, and Kitty, a cat who used to meow and has been loved so hard her fur and ears have disappeared. 

I had some great wooden pull along toys and early Fisher Price toys which sold on eBay, many of them not for the prices I'd hoped for, sadly. However, a Tonka truck I had got three figures, which was just champion!  

Now all the toys have been sold and I'm onto odd homewares. I can't understand why a Wedgwood dish as new and still in its box isn't getting bids. A film splicer and a pair of scratched opera glasses sold on eBay though, as did an orange cow money box and other mid-century goodies.

There's another box high up in one of the cupboards which I packed for eBay etc earlier this year, and once I've cleared the current crop of sales I'll get started on that one.  

Then when they're all sold I'll go through the house again and work out what else can go. My office has a bookcase of books from the 40s and 50s and I really don't know who'll take them as they aren't first editions. Some of them I'll keep and I'm trying to read my way through them to see if there are any more I want to hang onto. I may have to bring an antiquarian book person in. 

There are also some lovely anthologies from the 20s and 30s for children, particularly girls, and I won't part with them for anything. "The Big Book of School Stories for Girls", for example. The relevance of English boarding schools to Australian girls has to be pondered, but Mum said books such as this were her Christmas or birthday present, to be treasured unconditionally. I suspect they were second-hand when she received them, too; it was the Depression and my grandparents wouldn't have been able to afford brand new books. And you know what? I'm truly enjoying the stories! A lovely diversion when I want to get away from the computer for a bit.

I'd like to say that I'm saving everything I make from selling my childhood and other items, but I'm not. Everything I've made has been spent on day to day living. Wish I could unearth a Picasso in a cupboard but Mum hated his work!

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