Sitting in my full-length faux fur-lined leather coat eating ramen noodles by myself, I decided my time window shopping at expensive shopping malls had sadly come to an end. (If you missed my previous post about the leather coat the Devil bought me, you can read it here.) Just as one doesn’t like to cut any enjoyable activity off cold turkey, I opted to step down to an alternate plan. Thus began my addiction with antique malls and flea markets. It was easy to get lost in the aisles of junk without the temptation of high dollar items. Of course, there was the occasional rabbit fur coat to temp the senses, but most items at flea markets are easier on the pocketbook.
Now that I’m a stay-at-home mom of two toddlers, I look back at the days of being young and single and laugh a little. Oh those days of being able to window shop for hours with no particular goal or object in mind. Wandering the aisles of countless antique malls and flea markets simply to pass the time. Some days I shopped with a friend, other times alone. The flea markets were the most fun. Wandering to the different booths and coming across the most curious objects wondering what kind of history they had. Where they came from, where they’d end up. Wishing I had a purpose for some, others for nothing more than conversation starters.
Knick-Knack Paddy Wack – Find This Thing a Home!
It’s funny to think of because I don’t like to consider myself a knick-knack person, yet ask anybody who has helped me move over the years, and they would probably vehemently disagree. Even looking around my home, I can’t claim it. No less than three useless objects greet my eye on my writing desk alone. I guess you could say I love the idea of being a knick-knack-free person – in love with the idea of minimalism, terrible at execution. Chalk it up to too many years of aimlessly wandering the flea market aisles.
Yet oh the entertainment value! Where else would you find a gem like this old gal? Perfect for a Halloween party, no? The rest of the year she could grace the front porch, watching out for the neighbor kids and deterring thieves.
Or how about this happy pig?
You see, the problem with me and flea markets, is if I stare at any object long enough, I could probably find a use for it. Hence why I never successfully “window shopped” at flea markets. I always came home with a few “prize” items. Albeit, I tried to stick to somewhat functional pieces, therefore, I passed on the old lady and the pig.
There was once a large glass-top coffee table I used all through college. It had a shelf on the bottom which was fantastic for collecting the dust on all those coffee table books I bought at my part time job at the book store. I mean, they gave me a 40% off discount on books, so how could I say no! Yet, I digress.
I also once found an antique vanity. It was one of those fantastic pieces with the giant round mirror that was almost as tall as me, and it was marked down to $50, so I had to have it. The problem with that vanity, well, one of them, I didn’t have $50 extra in disposable income to spend on an antique vanity I didn’t need, but simply had to have, yet I knew that vanity was going home with me. It had no bench, the mirror was fading in several places and it took up way too much space, but as I said, I had to have it, and I did love that vanity.
Buyer’s Remorse, or Merely Lack of Shelving?
My collection of various treasures thus continued for several years. It wasn’t that I was spending too much that stopped me. That should have been the case, but that wasn’t it. No. It was the lack of places to put my finds. I had an affinity for glassware. I loved to collect old glasses, vases, milk glass, etc. What I loved most about the milk glass was how it glowed when you’d light a candle inside it. I used to imagine one day using this milk glass as wedding centerpieces. Anyone who’s ever been to an antique mall or flea market can agree there is no shortage of glassware – or any myriad of other collections for that matter.
Of course, my wedding came and went, and I didn’t use the milk glass, yet I held onto it. Having high-level organizational skills made me adept at hiding things. When you looked at my house you wouldn’t know how much was hidden behind cabinet and closet doors. Rather than “a place for everything, and everything in its place,” I used to operate under my own modified philosophy, “If something doesn’t have a place, hide it until you can find a place for it.”
When I bought something I didn’t need, I made up a use for it (now or in the future)- a reason to justify the purchase. When an item had a purpose, it wasn’t just a knick-knack, and therefore, no remorse. Funny how we can trick ourselves into doing something we know we shouldn’t, huh. It’s amazing how easy this is to do at the craft stores! If you could have seen me in a craft store. A friend used to say I was like a kid in a candy store. Oh, the stashes of unfinished craft projects bought with good intentions. Hence why I no longer go to craft stores without a list and a specific project. We can talk more about that later, though.
That was how I kept up my dance with the Devil – two steps forward, three steps back. The dance was too much fun to give up just yet. The day would come eventually when it would catch up to me, but not yet, no not yet. I’ll tell you more in my next post.
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