I used to be an avid blogger, writing about what I love most in the world: Thrifting. I thought I would bring some posts over from my old site and share them here. This one was written in 2011. My passion is still there and if anyone asks me why I run estate sales, my answer would still be about saving history, saving vintage.
Here you go. February 2011.
"Two weeks ago I did witness something that left me cold in regards to saving vintage. I was at a family run estate sale. I couldn't find anything to buy at all which is rare. When I was walking out of the house empty handed I spotted a small dumpster. I looked up and down the street and didn't see a soul so I lifted one side and took a peek. Vintage maps, Christmas decorations and suitcases looked up at me. My stomach dropped as I tried to figure out what to do. I walked back into the house and asked if I could just take a few things off the top of the dumpster. The woman looked at me quizzically and asked me why I would want anything in there. I mentioned that I'm a crafter and saw some old maps that I could use in my art. She looked at me skeptically this time but began to walk outside. She said I could have a few maps but to be quick. She claimed that if anyone else saw me everyone would want in the dumpster and chaos would break out.
I personally didn't think thrifters saving things from the dumpster sounded like a bad thing. Most people usually worry about being sued for injuries but maybe that's what she meant. As I was reaching for some maps I asked if I could have some of the Christmas items. I said that I love vintage items and that I'd gladly pay her for these things.
I made a mistake by mentioning that it seems such a shame to throw these vintage treasures away. She turned completely cold on me and suggested that I be going now.
I just couldn't shake the images of so many vintage items ending up in the landfill. Honestly it broke my heart. Of course I've been known to cry at the city dump so it wasn't a surprise to feel a tad emotional. In some silly ways I want to save everything. Well I still can't stomach 80's geese as I've mentioned a few times before. I still wouldn't throw them out knowing that someone might want them.
All of us here do our part every week in saving vintage. We scout at thrift stores, dumpsters, alley ways, estate sales, auction houses and Craigslist. We buy for ourselves and we buy to sell. I think that most of us here that sell have a lot of respect for what we do. Money is nice when we sell something but I don't think for most of us that it is the only goal.
I adore merely taking photos of something old. I use a lot of my photos over and over again for little banners and buttons because I so enjoy the art of photography and capturing the image of something vintage. It's like freezing a moment of a past time.
How can we prevent what I witnessed with the dumpster and the estate sale? The woman saw absolutely no value in mercury glass beads, crepe paper bells and paper maps from the 60's. Heck she didn't even appear to contemplate donating the items to a thrift store. She just threw them away.
I've run a few ads on Craigslist looking for vintage items. Not antiques, gold coins and jewelry but castoffs such as damaged books, old craft supplies and broken jewelry to take apart. I've had good response. I'd do better if I wasn't so shy about making phone calls.
Why am I drawn to vintage? It might be the graphics or fonts on the packaging or the simplicity of a children's crafts book of what seems like a calmer world. I've been dreaming lately about time travel and how I'd love to visit the Mad Men era. Sometimes this craving gets to be obsessive. Maybe I'll write a short story just to get it out of my system. I'm a very nostalgic person, like my parents. Sometimes when I pick up a vintage glass or paper napkin from the 60's I think of my Grandparents in San Francisco. I wish I knew them then. In fact when I do travel back in time, I should really look them up.
I think the more people that can respect the past, the less they would throw small keepsakes from a different time.
It would be lovely to create the Vintage Society, similar to The Ephemera Society which was created for conservation, study and preservation of printed and handwritten Ephemera. What if our Vintage Society preserved Ephemera plus cosmetics, glitter & sequins, typewriter paper, pens and old store boxes. I guess in a small way Etsy is doing that. It's taking every day functional vintage items and making them shine.
Next time I hope that I'm successful in saving vintage because I still wake up at night and think about that little dumpster. Maybe if I can tell enough people what I do, they might come to me and ask me to look through their unwanted things before throwing them away.
What ideas do you have about saving vintage items from ending up in the landfill?
What modern items do you save with thoughts about them eventually becoming vintage thirty years down the line?