I am a fan of the TV show Hoarders. I also like American Pickers. I think watching them makes a good combination of collecting and selling. I find Hoarders fascinating and it always inspires me to clean out my closets. I have a lot of clothes. This isn’t surprising considering I’ve been in the vintage clothing business for 10 years and in general just love fashion. At work before seeing the TV show I would jokingly say I hoarded things. Which I did. But didn’t realize it until seeing the show and then coming across my very own favorite hoarder. I guess this blog is about collecting and the beauty of letting go.
In December of 2010 I got a call from some people claiming to have a bunch of unworn with original tags 1950s and 1960s stuff. In my head I thought “Ya Right” in truth that almost never happens. Maybe a piece or two but not a bunch. I set up an appointment with them expecting it to be miss dated items, everything new, or a bunch being 3 pieces. I was wrong. They brought in box after box of dresses, skirts, shirts, all ranging from 1958-1980 unworn with the original tags. The majority of the tags even had the date of purchase and the price paid for the item. This was not even half of the stuff they told me. And this was where I met my favorite OCD Hoarder.
Kate was her name. She was from the Northside of Chicago. She lived a good life and to the ripe old age of 92. Her sister was still alive and in her late 80s still smoking like a chimney. I kind of aspire to be her. Kate never married or had children. She liked to shop. Her sister had quite a few kids. In my head, she did all this shopping intended for them but then in typical hoarder fashion had trouble giving the items away. Her sister had no idea that Kate was such a clothes horse. Because it wasn’t until she passed away that they discovered that she had three storage spaces and an extra apartment for all of her clothing and accessories! There were 800 boxes filled with clothing, shoes, jewelry, purses, and scarves.
I spent almost a full year buying from them.For a vintage clothing store owner it was the mother load. Most hoarders hoard what we know as junk or trash they find it to be gold. Kate was not this kind of hoarder. Not only did she have fabulous taste and a wide range of sizes but she took great care of hoard. On almost every item there was the original tag with date of purchase and price paid. On the shoes she kept all of them in boxes with descriptions of what they were, where and when she wore them (if at all) and again price paid and date purchased.
After I began working with Kate’s family and helping them with cleaning out the hoard of clothes I began to think about my own closets. Yes I have more than one, I have four. One for coats, one for black tie dresses, one for skirts and day dresses, and then one for sweaters and vintage blouses. This was a little excessive especially because there was a lot of stuff I wasn’t wearing! It became very clear to me. I needed to part with some of it. I am lucky when it comes to clothes and collectibles that I have a shop where I can bring it in here and sell it. But if you have the time you can do etsy, ebay, or heck call me if you aren’t wear it, cash in pocket is better than nothing.
As I began to attack my closet, weeding out things that absolutely did not fit, that I hadn’t worn in two years, and things that were not my style I became a little anxious. I thought crap I am a hoarder I’m having emotional attachment to objects! But I plowed on and took a bunch of dresses to the store. I think I got over the emotional attachment when I had a girl buy one of my dresses. It was one that I did love but it just never looked right on me. I had even worn it a couple of times but hadn’t in two years. Which is now my rule. If I haven’t worn it in two years it’s out of the closet! But she loved it and looked fabulous in it. I realized that’s really what being a collector is about, you find something you love it and you pass it on for someone else to enjoy it.
That’s the only experience I’ve had with a true hoarder. I would have loved to have met her but I’m sure she’s glad that the clothing has been passed on. Because it’s the perfect case of you can’t take it with you when you go, so why not let someone else love it?
I am going to try to blog more hopefully I don’t get writers block! But if you ever need help making decisions or cleaning out hoard don’t hesitate to contact me through the shop! I’m glad to help.