Tag Archives: antiques

Fear Factor: Ghosts from the Past

There you are with the best of intentions, starting to organize your space and suddenly a ghost pops out and scares you away from your project.

This ghost could be evidence of a forgotten task, a memory of a loved one who has passed, papers from a nasty legal battle, or even some article of clothing that has unpleasant memories attached to it. With the passage of time and consistent avoidant actions, our homes can start to feel like haunted houses.

Scary Organizing Challenges

Our clients are usually glad to have us there when these frights occur.

Here are some common ghouls to watch out for and ways to banish them:

  • Clothes in a size you wish you were. The hope of someday fitting back into those “skinny jeans” can be a very strong attachment. If you absolutely can’t bear to let the dream clothes go, at least make sure they aren’t taking up high value space in your closet or dresser. Put them in a tub, labeled, into a low-use space like basement/attic/garage.
    • Now, if you’ve encountered the tub again while clearing out one those spaces it’s time for a real heart-to-heart talk with yourself. If weight loss is a goal, keeping the clothes isn’t what is motivating you to take action. If you take action and meet your weight goal it will be a nice treat to update your wardrobe with some new items rather than pull out those jeans from a decade ago which likely won’t still be in style anyway.
  • Gifts you weren’t thrilled about.  What do you do with items you’ve been given, but just don’t have a use for or actually don’t match your taste? We’ve written a blog post about this topic, but the main thing to remember is that the giver cares about YOU and their best selves wouldn’t want you to hold onto something that didn’t make you happy. Let it go, pass it on, give it to a charity who can find a good home for it…but don’t let it collect dust in the darker reaches of your prime storage closet or spare room or attic.
  • Things you’ve inherited from family or friends who have passed. These items can sometimes feel heavy and burdensome. Like the unwanted gifts, they are attached to a person or past and can’t just be tossed in a cavalier manner. This is where taking time to process them will provide benefits.
    • Determine their value, their importance to you, what they represent and how best to preserve that memory, if that is what you choose.
    • If they have historical value, can they be donated to the local history society or museum?
    • If they have monetary value, can they be sold with the proceeds going to a coveted family cause?
    • Are they holding memories of a precious family experience? Is there a way to recreate the memory of the family experience without having to store a 2-ton piano that is too expensive to make useable or wouldn’t get played?
    • Sometimes inherited items are best dealt with in layers – focus on dispersing the items you and others have the least attachments to; this will at least make more room for the things you choose to keep.

So, if you have encountered some ghosts, take heart and get help if you need to. There is a way to process these frights, reclaim your past and take care of unfinished business.

 

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Filed under Closets, Decluttering, Garage, General Organizing, home organizing, Memorabilia, organizing, Perspective, Strategies

Cleaning Out Your Garage for Fun and Profit

Use the opportunity of a garage sale to purge your closet

Use the opportunity of a garage sale to purge your closet

Summer is a great time to consider clearing out the debris from your garage and making room!  A garage sale is a great way to make some extra cash and clear out lots of unneeded/unwanted items.

Pros

  • Clear out needed space & make some money!
  • Opportunity to connect and socialize with neighbors and your community
  • Feel good seeing your objects go directly to new owners

Cons

  • Several hours work to gather items, prepare and hang signs, hold the sale, clean up
  • May not make much money
  • Will likely have leftovers that you’ll have to donate or dispose

Preparation

  • Enlist friends and family to help out – they can add their items into the sale to make the sale more varied and appealing to buyers
  • For multi-family sales decide ahead of time how you’ll track who made what
  • Stock a fanny pack or cash box with at least $20 in small bills to make change for early shoppers
  • Make clear, simple signs (with arrows!) and post at major intersections near the sale
  • Post the sale online on www.Craigslist.com, www.WeekendTreasure.com, www.NextDoor.com or other local event listings, 1-2 days ahead of time—include pictures of what you have to sell, if you can.
  • Don’t bother trying to sell worn-out or dirty items, but you could have a “FREE” box for items that aren’t saleable.

Pricing Tips

  • When setting your prices be clear about your goal for the sale – maximize the $$ made or just move out stuff? Price accordingly!
  • Pre-pricing takes time but can save some effort during the sale and make things easier for customers
  • Save big expensive items for craigslist, people shopping garage sales are looking for deals and usually not carrying a lot of cash.

Curb Appeal

  • Place large items out front
  • Group like items together as much as possible
  • Use folding tables to make browsing easier
  • Hang shirts/dresses/jackets if possible
  • Create a container of small $.25 items and label it clearly – this can keep kids busy while parents shop

Deal With The Leftovers

  • Advertise on your local FreeCycle.com or Craigslist that everything past 3 pm on your last day of the sale will be free and sitting in the driveway or at the curb
  • Have some empty grocery bags or boxes ready for clean-up time to immediately create donation bags
  • Pre-schedule a donation pick-up from a local charity for the week following the sale (www.DonationTown.org)
Garage after the sale

Imagine the possibilities!

Does all this overwhelm you?  Hire an organizer or just call 1-800-Got-Junk!

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Filed under Garage, General Organizing, home organizing, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies

Bringing Old Furniture Back to Life

Tools of the Trade

Tools of the Trade

Ever wondered what to do with that special but damaged furniture that has been handed down in your family?

Dana had a conversation with Bernice Rapoport, owner and primary restoration expert, at Geppetto’s Antique Restoration in Point Richmond. Bernice provided some valuable context and practical information.

When is it worth having furniture repaired?

When you love it enough to fix it. Depending on what current styles are popular, many antiques don’t have a lot of resale value so often the motivation to invest in a repair is far more about preserving the piece for sentimental value. Knowing you and your family will be able to use grandma’s favorite writing table for years to come can mean the world.

What alternatives are there to a full repair?

If the piece is useable, sometimes it makes more sense to just give them a clean up or have finishes touched-up to make them more presentable. An example would be a tabletop with some old gouges or scratches. Rather than sanding out the damage and refinishing, some touch-up of the finish over the damage is sufficient. The scratches are actually part of the character of the piece and add to its charm.

How can we best protect our furniture?

  • Don’t place items near heating vents. This accelerates the drying out of both the glues in a piece and the wood itself
  • Keep furniture out of direct sunlight; it bleaches the wood
  • Cane seating: twice a year (you can do it when the clocks change) use a water bottle to spray the underside of the cane seats with slightly warmer than warm (but not hot) water. Let air dry indoors at room temperature. This keeps the natural fiber supple and allows the fibers to tighten up.
  • Rotate area rugs and tables twice a year to allow for more even wear
  • Water rings occur when moisture gets between the wood and the finish. Finishes are slightly porous to allow the wood to move.

We’ve all seen the Antique Roadshows episodes where the appraiser tells the person how many thousands of dollars more their piece would be worth IF they hadn’t refinished it – how do you protect antiques without affecting their value?

It’s important to use period products and techniques when working on true antiques and to know when cleaning or touchup is advised over a full refinishing.

What’s the oldest piece you worked on?

A high back chair from the 2nd settlement to Jamestown from between 1608-1610. The chair had a natural reed rush seat. Really the only work it needed was a cleaning and waxing.

Bring Your Furniture Back to Life

Bring Your Furniture Back to Life

What about modern furniture?

There’s lots of decent enough solid furniture out there, even from places like Restoration Hardware. Overall though, design is compromised for the cost savings of mass production. Handcrafted furniture can last for so long, sometimes centuries, because of the detail that went into it’s construction and design.

Do you have furniture pieces you love but can’t fully use because they’re broken or fragile? Don’t let them languish in your home or garage just taking up space. Explore the resources available to bring them back to life!

 

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Filed under Bay Area Services, Guest Experts, Memorabilia, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse

Joy of Spring Cleaning

There's no room to do anything in here!

Does your garage look like this? Get organized and sell what you don’t want.

Spring is in the air! This time of year is always an inspiration to clean up and clear out. A garage sale is a great way to make some extra cash and clear out lots of unneeded/unwanted items.

Pros

  • Clear out needed space & make some money!
  • Opportunity to connect and socialize with neighbors and your community
  • Feel good seeing your objects go directly to new owners

Cons

  • Several hours work to gather items, prepare and hang signs, hold the sale, clean up
  • May not make much money
  • Will likely have leftovers that you’ll have to donate or dispose

Preparation

  • Enlist friends and family to help out – they can add their items into the sale to make the sale more varied and appealing to buyers
  • For multi-family sales decide ahead of time how you’ll track who made what
  • Stock a fanny pack or cash box with at least $20 in small bills to make change for early shoppers
  • Make clear, simple signs (with arrows!) and post at major intersections near the sale
  • Post the sale online on www.Craigslist.com, www.WeekendTreasure.com or other local event listings, 1-2 days ahead of time—include pictures of what you have to sell, if you can.
  • Don’t bother trying to sell worn-out or dirty items.

Pricing Tips

  • When setting your prices be clear about your goal for the sale – maximize the $$ made or just move out stuff? Price accordingly!
  • Pre-pricing takes time but can save some effort during the sale and make things easier for customers
  • Save big expensive items for craigslist, people shopping garage sales are looking for deals and usually not carrying a lot of cash.

Curb Appeal

  • Place large items out front
  • Group like items together as much as possible
  • Use folding tables to make browsing easier
  • Hang shirts/dresses/jackets if possible
  • Create a container of small $.25 items and label it clearly – this can keep kids busy while parents shop

Deal With The Leftovers

  • Advertise on your local FreeCycle.com or Craigslist that everything past 3 pm on your last day of the sale will be free and sitting in the driveway or at the curb.
  • Pre-schedule a donation pick-up from a local charity for the week following the sale (www.DonationTown.org)
  • Have some empty grocery bags or boxes ready for clean-up time to immediately create donation bags.
Garage after spring cleaning and after the sale.

Garage after spring cleaning and after the sale.

How can YOU benefit from a garage sale?

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Filed under General Organizing, Perspective, Reduce/Recyle/Reuse, Strategies, Time Management