Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What Do You Do With It All?

Dear Helen Hartman,
Holly from 2911 Jeremiah Avenue asks:
I'm just curious, Mrs. Hartman...where do you store all this stuff?! Are you like me and you have a garage full of "someone else's treasures"? (Does the ? come before or after the quotation marks?)I knew it was bad the day the garage door was up and someone stopped and asked if this was where the garage sale was....

Dear Love To Have Some Room In The Garage One,
You know Helen is the type who wants to have it all.

And when she says all, she means ALL so if Helen is ever a guest in your home, pat her down before she leaves. 

An Oneida ad - apparently it was from a time before women understood how to use utensils.

That way Helen gets a thrill and you get to keep grandma’s silver and that tacky ashtray you stole from the Booze and Snooze Discount Dinner Theater Lounge and Luxury Motel.

The Booze and Snooze where their motto is: The acting and food may be bad but you probably won't remember them in the morning anyway.

But there comes a point for every collector when you gotta shake some things loose. Helen tried shaking her kids loose, but they must have hands like GI Joe with Kung Fu action grip because they keep hanging on. 
H-i-i-i-i-i-Yah! That'll teach you to ask when I'm moving out, Dad.

Anyway, anyone who has ever watched an episode of the many variation of Hoarders and suddenly felt all the eyes in the room staring right at you has heard that ‘you gotta get rid of some of this STUFF’ lecture – either from friends and family or just in your own head.
(Let’s face it, when the voices in your head are too crowded, it’s time to clear out some things)

Yeah, there ain't even room for a paperback romance cowboy hero to stretch his legs in here!


So I’ll spare you that and go directly...

Too Late. The tantrums have already begun.

… to the actual question. Where do you store stuff? First off, I store as much as I can in my camera where I can see it whenever I want. Or at least whenever I remember what file it's in!

Of course I have tons of plastic bins, and shelves stacked high with vintage goodies but I really do try to use my vintage finds and family hand me downs. It should come as no surprise that I am not of the ‘declutter then paint everything neutral’ school of decorating. 

Helen's actual living room - vintage and color everywhere.
If you are then… well… more stuff for me!

I’m not even sure how we came to that kind of thinking, it sure wasn’t the case in 1960 when this gem advised that a home should be comfortable and reflect the tastes of those who live there. 

I don't know if they were playing fast and loose with the numbers but they were pretty generous calling some of the things in this book 'ideas'. Maybe the word they meant were 'experiments' or 'nightmares',

In other words, your house should not look like just anyone could live there.

It's what the Realtor's call a "fixer upper"
In fact, to Helen’s way of thinking the more people who are scared off, the better!

In 1960, it seems as if no inch of space was safe from the newly inspired suburban housewife’s drive to decorate. 


Well, if this doesn't scare the you know what out of ya, I don't know what will.
"It IS clever dear, but isn't it a bit much for the Master Bedroom?" (Helen is having fun, she has NO IDEA what this room is supposed to be or what that man is doing but clearly that lady is LIKING IT)

This kind of decorating isn’t for everybody. 

Do you think she was wondering how to repurpose that 1946 'antique'? I would be, and I'd be dressed better, too. Oh, honey - that hat!
 If it was it would be impossible to find so much great stuff.
 
And yes, I know there will be those who think it’s too much. They will quote some TV show that says less is more. But take it from Helen, when has less EVER been more? Not in anything worth having more of! 

Less is more? Not with bourbon! Not with chocolate! Certainly not with FABULOUS HAIR!

They will judge and tut and shake their heads (and when that phone call from American Pickers comes wanting to know if the boys can ‘pick’ your junkyard of a house you know who to thank for that) But when someone like that asks where to put it, I have no hesitation telling them!



Helen handles storage - because my family forces me to keep it put away.   



"See, darling, if you study my diagram of the house you'll see there are still plenty of surfaces that aren't completely covered. Let's go shopping!"

PUT IT WHERE EVERYONE WHO MATTERS CAN ENJOY IT!

30 comments:

  1. Helen, I hoard things like fabric,ribbon,buttons,anything I can reuse. as for knick knacks I dont like to dust so the less the better:) I also live in an R.V. so makes hoarding hard, but I have a 12'X12' storage bin!!and every time I get close I put more "finds" in it.I love your posts! keep it up.

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    1. Thanks Amy! In an RV? Yowsers I am jealous. There is a joy to hoarding small things, though, isn't there? Vintage jewelry is divine.

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  2. I agree, if you have it show it and use it! Plenty of rubbermaid storage containers in my basement!

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    1. I love those storage bins so much my family has threatened to bury me in one. Okay by me but come around and burp it from time to time!

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  3. What a perfect way to start the morning...my coffee and reading this post!! Just too funny! My mother is my junking partner in crime and we're always comparing garages; mine wins hands down for becoming dangerously close to being featured on a Hoarders episode. I'm still safe just as long as none of it ever enters the house. My family is happy that "antique show season" is upon us again and my hoard will finally start to move out.
    I'm sure the clown bathroom and bedroom is an effort to get the kids to move out.

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  4. LOL - brilliant idea - scare the kids early so they won't hang around! Boundaries are a key factor in keeping in all under control. My real dream is to build a tiny guest cottage behind our house that's all vintage... and all mine.

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  5. Oh Helen i adored this post! You are a girl after my own heart -im not a paint it plain sort. I love your living room!!! I also laughed hard at the getting rid of the kids haha :o) Scarlett x

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    1. Thank you Scarlett! So happy that you came by to say hello and figure out how to get rid of kids when the time comes ;)

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  6. That clown bathroom carpet was TERRIFYING! lol. Currently I am gathering up all the odds & sods I am no longer head over heels in love with... all thrifted over the past year that I am kicking out of the house... but only so I can make room for more even better finds. ;-)

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    1. Danielle - that's the way - out with the old In with the, um, also old.

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  7. "Put it where the people who matter can use it." I may have to embroider this on something.

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    1. Years ago when I first started collecting tablecloths we collectors treated them so delicately then an older lady laughed and said - honey, don't you know we used to BOIL those things to get them clean? Relax.
      Why have them if you can't enjoy them?

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  8. My overflow now goes to our warehouse/Etsy store...although I will admit to having had a change of heart a time or two and taking things off Etsy and putting them back in my cabinets. :)

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    1. I can imagine. Sometimes things are so hard to let go. Then some things, one day you just think 'I've had this long enough. Someone else will want it now."

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  9. As long as it's used and enjoyed it's worth the space it takes up:@)

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    1. A great way to look at it! Going to tell that to my hubby - he'll be relieved because he'll think I mean HIM.

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  10. Oh my gosh!! I was featured on Dear Helen Hartman!!! Helen, thank you so much for helping reaffirm that less is NOT more! I so agree! And, for that fixer upper...I see the potential in it - I really do!..that would explain the unusual "collection" in my garage and basement. It's kind of like an orphaned item...you just kind of feel sorry for it and know that it has potential for something!
    Thanks for making me laugh (again) and for making my day!!
    xo
    Holly

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    1. Thanks Holly - for asking the question! I really needed a reason to show off my neatly stacked magazine cabinet before it gets chaotic again! Love your blog and hope people drop by to visit and see why!

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  11. Your house is fab. Anytime you share a sneak peek makes me happy. I've got three plastic bins sitting in my living room just waiting to be packed up with Easter decor. The furance room is stacked to the ceiling with bins. Glad to know I'm not the only one.

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    1. Plastic bins are the bomb. My family steers me from that part of store so I won't buy more 'just in case'.

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  12. Oh, Helen, this was just the fun I needed! BTW ~ that photo 3rd from the bottom ~ is that a Beautiful Breck Girl?...cause those ads used to make feel feel oh-so-imperfect...:^)
    Great blog, and I'm a new follower...♥♥
    So nice to meet you!
    Best,
    Anne

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    1. Yes, I think it is a Breck girl! They really are something but that hair, it scares me!

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  13. Snort, giggle! NOT attractive as I read this post and almost choke on my coffee! Your Oneida caption ~ hahahaha! Love the green walls:)

    ~Cindy

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    1. Thanks! Apparently in the 60s women had a real love affair with their silver patterns. I just don't feel the same way about the plastic stuff I steal from Wendys.

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  14. oh my that CLOWN bathroom...eeeeeek!!!! THAT is the scariest thing I've ever seen ~ how funny & terrifying at the same time :) I keep it all stashed...I mean organized in my basement....but I think it's time to head on down and "re-purpose" things...and soon!!
    Have a great day Annie!

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    1. Isn't it fun to go 'shopping' in your own stash-o-stuff? That clown rug really would keep kids from staying too long in the bathroom.

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  15. oh man i'm obsessed with the knitted duck family on that tub! i need LOTS of knits in my bathroom for ultimate fecal contamination.

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  16. You've brought a smile to my face tonight...Breck hair and a quote to keep: PUT IT WHERE EVERYONE WHO MATTERS CAN ENJOY IT! Thank you, Helen - Happy Friday!

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  17. It's hard for me to watch any of those Hoarders shows without hyperventilating. But I think the actual stars of those shows are the people who live with (and put up with) the hoarders!!

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