I haven't been around as much as I'd like lately because I've been really busy. I got it in my head that I wanted to go through every closet, drawer and cabinet in the house and get rid of all of the unused or underused items taking up space. It's been quite an undertaking, but I feel really good about it.
I went into this project telling myself to make decisions logically, not emotionally, but I still found it hard to part with some things. I'm not really a pack rat by nature, but I am sentimental. In the end, logic won out. I reminded myself that stuff is just stuff. Keeping items that remind me of when my kids were babies won't bring those days back. On the flip side, parting with them won't erase cherished memories.
I still have a few cabinets to go through, and I didn't even start on the basement, but we donated more than 18 bags of toys, clothes and household items to charity. If that's not worthwhile, I don't know what is.
On our way back from a trip to drop off some of our charitable donations, Mr. Willoughby and I decided to stop at a little store we had passed regularly but never been in. From the outside, I thought it was a typical resale shop with the standard assortment of trash and treasures. Once we were inside the door, I saw I had been wrong.
This shop was filled with gorgeous vintage and antique furniture, glassware and home accessories. There was holiday music playing and the whole store was decorated for Christmas. Each vignette looked like a room in someone's home, all decked out and waiting for company to arrive. From the Duncan Phyfe dining table with it's vintage bone china and delicate wine glasses to the tufted antique settee and inlay end tables, we were quite taken with this place.
We decided right away that this might be the perfect place to do some Christmas shopping. Most of the adults on our list have similar taste to ours, so we were confindent that we could find a great gift. When I looked at the price tags, however, I changed my mind a little. This place was expensive! They had a nice set of glass bar decanters labeled for Scotch, Whiskey, Gin and Rum that we liked, but they were priced at $55 dollars per bottle. At least I think they were.
The price tags were incredibly difficult to read. Many of the items in the store are on consignment, so each tag had multiple numbers to identify the vendor, the item, various dates and multiple prices. We could only assume that the lowest price on each tag applied, but it wasn't clear. An antique sideboard, for example, was labeled $1350, $1275 and $1250.
When we passed from one room of the store to the other, we came across a woman setting out new merchandise. She asked if we were looking for anything in particular, but when I told her we were just browsing, she abruptly turned away. I started to tell her that we had passed the store many times, but that this was our first time coming in. She cut me off in mid sentence to chat with a coworker. I was hoping to ask her how the pricing worked, but she clearly didn't have time for "browsers". The man running the cash register was no better. He was talking with a woman who had brought in some items for consignment and never looked up.
This store is in a small town about 15 miles away from our town. It's not an affluent area, so you would expect fabulous personal service if they are going to charge prices that are double what the local antique stores charge. We would have been happy to have simply been treated as anything but annoying distractions. One of our favorite sayings is "Vote with your feet" and that's exactly what we did. We walked out without buying a thing. And we won't be back anytime soon.