Hoarding Woes: “Vintage” & “Mid Century”

When you are cleaning up a hoarder’s home, whether filthy, jammed or filthy & jammed (there are varying degrees of smells, disease, disgust, damage regardless of the quantities of stuff), you (at least I) tend to view things in terms of money previously spent/wasted/regained or lost. Was that the most convoluted passage I have ever constructed?!

A constant reminder…past the hundreds of pieces on the patio or thousands of pieces inside the house, visible through the window.

However, in the continuing mental struggle between ‘toss it’ ‘donate it’ ‘move it cheap’ and ‘this could be valuable’ you do learn a bit about tacky stuff that has those quaint marketing designations like ‘vintage’ and ‘mid Century’ (this one irritates the hell out of me…don’t know why).

So, I have fallen prey to the eBay, collectibles researching mode to make sure we are not ‘giving it away’. Often that ‘vintage’ item is worth at least $12.00 instead of $1.00. You do the math and suddenly you are in my Auntie’s and Mom’s mode of thinking. “Well do the math. If we have five thousand pieces to sell and we at least doubled what we are currently asking….well look what we stand to make with our ‘merchandise’!”  This a trap that brings you to a halt. Do we sell this for $1.00? Do we sell the eight of them for $1.00 or are we sitting on something special? The refrain is ‘move it down the driveway!’ We will be here for the next two years at this rate (mindful it took us a year and a half to clean up my mom’s disaster). Yes, a part of me thinks about the possible loss of money. Another part of me is very tired of juggling so many variables beyond my core life. Simplicity and stability are craved.

Here is an example of researching the ‘TV lamp’ so popular in that magnificent ‘mid Century’ period.



Water run off has been a real problem. I hate water problems! The water has run into our work areas on the driveway and back into the carport, garage and patio. I have spent this week digging three holes to about 3 feet deep and filled them with river rock and ground cloth. I still have another downspout to repair. It is raining right now, so we shall see if my concoctions worked. This was an example of trying to ‘rig something up’ given the time restraints and mess such work creates while the focus is on the bigger project. It will work for now.

11 thoughts on “Hoarding Woes: “Vintage” & “Mid Century”

  1. Tish

    Keeping things moving has a cost, and feeling like you are getting somewhere has a cost, and being done has a cost as well. These are just as important as the dollars. I think you are doing a good job of balancing the money you need to recoup to offset the costs of the dumpsters versus making sure that the stuff **goes away**. I am keeping my fingers crossed that you have good, productive sales. ~Tish

  2. Veronica in CA

    When people go to garage sales, they are looking for CHEAP. 25¢, 50¢ or a dollar. Your market niche is the thrift stores, not the antique shops. Visit a well-stocked Goodwill or Salvation Army store to compare similar merchandise and get an overall idea of pricing. Go on a Saturday. If there’s not a long line at the register, then you know their prices are still too high.

    If an item is going for $25 on ebay, try pricing it at $5 for a garage sale. You are looking to MOVE VOLUME here. High volume will offset your low, low prices.

    A way to visualize it: put 20 items on a table, look at the volume of stuff, and ask yourself: would I rather have this load of stuff, or would I rather have a cool crisp $20 bill?

  3. annietiques

    Been away for a few weeks, destroyed my laptop accidentally!!! “Keep it moving down the Driveway” You and your team have made significant progress!!! I again offer my resources for identifying fine china, would love to help! Anything “blue & white” especially……just send a photo of the front and most importantly the marks on the back.

    The photos of the muddy wet boxes were a great reminder of what you began with…………praying for great weather for your sales, and great movement of the “stuff” out!!! It still amazes me how much your dear sweet little Auntie was able to accumulate……

    Maybe not soon…….but this too will pass

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