Do you love the thrill of the thrift store hunt? Love browsing yard sales and flea markets? Like picking up knick knacks and other collectibles? Allie from Broke 207 demonstrates that it’s OK! to be a “stuff” person, but to also be aware of when you may start accumulating too much stuff. She shares five tips that every thrift lover should pay attention to to ensure that your home is tastefully curated and not just storage space for your favorite finds.
Summer Series: The Art of Curated Collections
For 34 years I have tried to become a minimalist. I’ve spent hours daydreaming about clear dustless surfaces and nearly empty bookcases. White walls and clean lines. How amazingly easy and free my life would be if I just went home and got rid of everything but the absolute essentials. A life that could fit into a single extra large UHaul box or the trunk of a Ford Fiesta.
I go home all fired up to start disseminating my worldly possessions – but then I actually look at my stuff. And my stuff is AWESOME. I can’t possibly get rid of all my amazing, carefully curated, and deeply beloved things!
So, I have to leave my minimalist dreams in the dust and try to become one with the fact that I am a stuff person. I like things. I like collections and arrangements and knickknacks. And that’s OK.
But, there are RULES. Being a stuff person means living constantly on the edge of packrat, or worse, HOARDER. If I’m not careful, I could easily find myself crushed by the weight of my beloved stuff – especially in the summer, when the world is made of yard sales and flea markets.
I always keep these 5 rules in the front of my brain to keep me from slipping into stuff overload:
Amass Slowly:When it comes to collecting, there is not finish line, so why race? Getting too much stuff too quickly can feel good in the moment, but it eventually causes a landslide. Don’t settle for “it was on sale” or “it’s kinda cool” just to have MORE. Nobody wants to live a life surrounded by the merely ok. Taking your time to choose only the things that really move you.
Weed Frequently: Every stuff person knows that half of the fun is the thrill of the hunt. But in the season of frequent hunting, it’s important to take regular pit stops to assess the stuff that you have and make cuts. Every time I bring home something new to add to one of my collections, I also try to get rid of the thing that I like the least. That way, my collection isn’t necessarily increasing in size, but it is increasing in coolness.
Forget About the Money: Focus on things that you love, not things that you think are “worth something.” If you’re buying as an investment, you’ll also need to invest in a place to put all your stuff while you’re waiting/hoping for it to become valuable. Which (sorry Beanie Baby fans) could never happen.
Stay Focused: I have a few specific things that I collect: retro nurse fiction, vintage glass cookie jars, ceramic birds… whenever I see something outside of one of my collections that I want to buy, I ask myself whether or not I can just buy that one thing, or if I’m inviting a whole new collection into my life (and my apartment). 9 times out of 10, (ok, maybe 8 out of 10), I walk away.
Know When to Quit:There have been many collections that I’ve had over the years that I have outgrown. Just because you’ve had something for a long time, or put a lot of effort into amassing it, doesn’t mean you are beholden to keep it forever. When I can feel myself getting tired of a collection I’ve had for a while, I will box it up and put it in storage for a while to see whether or not I miss it. If I don’t, then I just bring the box on my next Goodwill drop.
The summer is ripe for garage saling, thrifting, swapping and flea marketing. It’s the perfect time to get some sun and hunt for treasures, so go to it! It’s totally ok to be a stuff person, just be careful to make sure you have enough space in your life for all of it to fit.