Sometimes I daydream that I have a real fairy godmother, and she shows up in my kitchen one night while I’m cooking, a big poof of turqoise tulle and glitter. She may or may not be wearing a Homer Laughlin Orange Tree Bowl as a hat. She waves a wand around and says, “My determined and faithful thrifter. I’m going to gift you $10 for every thrifting hour you’ve spent in an antique shop or thrift store in your lifetime.”
I daydream about this because that would mean some serious cheddar. Like “you get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car” level cheddar. I love Goodwill and rambling through the booths in an antique store. Just ask anyone who has grown old and gray while waiting for me.
Planters, jardinieres, thrifted paintings, curbside furniture, toleware sconces, vintage chandeliers, mismatched china, architectural pieces like old gingerbread from a Victorian house… these things make my heart go pitter patter.
But even though I love them, like everyone else, my tastes change over time. And the advantage of collecting vintage over new is that the resell market is usually always there. But as I was sitting and scanning photos of my old house, I realized that I have sold a LOT of things over the years. And I’m not necessarily happy about it.
I used to be insane about Pyrex. Couldn’t get enough of it. Then, after a few years I focused my love on pottery bowls instead. So I sold the Pyrex. I haven’t regretted it (and the proceeds allowed me to buy a few of the pottery bowls I had grown to love). I’ve collected little vintage animal planters. I loved those. But after a while I sold them and that was fine too.
But some items I’ve sold into the great beyond make me smack myself on the forehead. Like a McCoy planter in the prettiest cornflower blue. Or a vintage black rug with little birds embroidered on it (that still brings me almost physical level pain). I gave up some excellent curtain rods for a song. And I still remember my turquoise vintage phone. Granted, I sold it for about $20 more than I originally paid, but I still feel a little sniffly when I see this picture (and that little tiny phone nook in the hallway of my old house).
So my question is… what’s the solution? For those of us who love vintage and thrifted items, but every so often resell things, how can we avoid sellers-remorse? Do any of you have any tips for how you make these judgement calls?
6 thoughts on “Sell In a Haste, Repent In Leisure: Buying and Selling Vintage Finds”
Hi, Liz – I’ve had the same experience as you – sellers remorse. The only solution I can think of is to be a hoarder, and we don’t want to be that. If you have the storage space, you could set aside pieces when you are redecorating…and give yourself a deadline for selling them if you don’t miss them.
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That’s excellent advice. I go through phases of collecting, and then I get in a slash-and-sell mood. I need to find a happy medium. But I like the idea of setting a deadline.
I usually put them away somewhere for a while. When I come across them again, if I don’t feel the urge to put them back out, then it’s probably time to let go. Although, if they go in the get rid of pile and I have the tiniest voice in my head head that says not yet, they get a reprieve and put back away. The majority of stuff goes!
Yes! The idea of setting it aside somewhere for a period of time is great!
This happens to me all the time. ALL the time. The toddler is taking up a lot of space and last week I sold the vintage Pooley radio cabinet that my husband and I bought six years ago, before we were even married, and stuffed into the back of our Toyota Corolla with its legs sticking out. It had a WOODEN speaker bell inside it. I nearly cried as I watched it being carried out of my house, except that said toddler suddenly indicated that she had a stomach bug, and if I hadn’t spent the rest of my evening cleaning up I’m sure there would have been tears.
Knick-knacks are nice and I do tend to hoard art, but it’s the furniture I love the best. I still think about that orange corduroy love seat. And the spinet desk I painted fire-engine red. The brass campaign dresser — the sheet metal was starting to lift at the corners like peeling veneer, but where will I ever see anything like that dresser again?
I just sold my pyrex for a good bit more than I bought it and I turned around and bought handmade pottery, lol. There have been some things I’ve regretted selling and I do hunt for them to turn up again (one is a set of chairs I sold and I found a single the other day so I am considering seeing if they’ll bargain) but the last few years I’ve gotten into the decluttering/minimalist trend, not that I’ll ever be the true ‘modern’ minimalist, lol. Though I will say, even with the regrets, it’s been rather cathartic ‘curating’ my treasures and I’ve discovered the things that I really really do love and realized how much of it was just stuff. I’m no longer waiting till I win the lottery to have a room in a too big house dedicated to a vintage toy collection; I have a set of Popeye, Olive Oyl, and Sweet Pea vintage felt dolls on our mantel. Our cabinets are filling up with practical pottery pieces like the collection I once drooled over that belonged to a lady I once cleaned house for. Vintage rugs and original art are my other two weaknesses but I’m currently holding off on more art till I get my absolute favorite family photos blown up for a new enlarged gallery wall in our entry.