BlogShop features and my own musings and inspirations
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen pictures of some of the really cool (and really weird) items I find when sorting through the boxes of vintage from the shop I purchased. I was able to get through a few boxes this weekend, and took some pictures of the process. I have already set aside bags that I know are just clothing or cloth (including linens), which left me with a lot of boxes of who-knows-what to look through. These are fun to dig through because I have absolutely no clue what’s in them, and each box is so different than the previous one. It takes me about 15-20 minutes per box/tub/suitcase/5-gallon bucket, and I think I only have about 70 boxes left to sort through! Phew!
Step 1: Pull aside a box, always outside so the spiders and silverfish and animal droppings (gross, but true) never make it into my house. Since everything gets cleaned before heading into the shop, I’m ok with it being on the porch floor.
(at this point I freaked out a bit at the sight of those shoes and that giant bag)
Step 2: Separate into piles: For the shop, trash, antiques/collectibles, and to donate (anything useable but not vintage, like lightbulbs and other weird miscellaneous items). Sometimes things make it into our house, like lace curtains or cool pictures we like.
Step 3: Sort the contents of the “keep” pile into their respective bins. All the jewelry goes into one of the many suitcases of jewelry I have, shoes go in a shoe tub to hopefully find its match, and items I absolutely can’t wait to clean and photograph make it onto my desk.
Step 4: Antiques and collectibles get separated into “keep to sell” and a pile for an antique dealer Josh knows to sort through.
Not every box is this exciting, but I do usually find a few things that will make it to the shop buried in the piles of randoms. I found an embroidered Art Deco piano shawl in a box of office supplies and an Edwardian dress bundled up with some ugly Christmas decorations!
At this point, I haven’t washed or processed the majority of the items I am keeping for the shop. They all go into tubs, and while I wish I could leisurely look through them, the main task is to sort through it all first! The thrill of buying out a business sight mostly unseen is digging through these boxes. The woman I bought the shop from had boxes she never even went through! We had to pack and take EVERYTHING in her shop, from old flyers for her shop down to boxes of what turned out to be recycling piles or kids crafts! So, there you have it!
Hi! I’m still alive, still digging through boxes of vintage! Thank you all for sharing the excitement of this new venture with me- I’m really excited to be working with vintage again. For the past few weeks, I’ve been knee deep in vintage, elbow deep in wash water, and neck deep in excitement. I have been working super hard to make sure that this endeavor is a blessing and not a nuisance for my family, so I’ve been only working while Jacob is sleeping or with family. Slowly but surely, things are falling into place and I’m gearing up to start selling clothing again!
We went up to Washington to pick up the lot and pack up the shop we bought from. With the help of my sister, Sarah and her family, and a whole lot of snacks, we braved the 108 degree (!!!!) weather and packed a 27ft U-Haul truck floor to ceiling! It was somewhat of a challenge with two little girls and a Jacob that had a vaccine the day before, but the kids were incredibly awesome! It took a day and a night to pack the shop, and about 50 man hours in one day to unload the truck- it was insane! We have 10′x20′ storage space jam packed and a room in our house with clothing, shoes, and accessories.
It has been an exhausting three weeks of unpacking bags and boxes only to repack them again once they are sorted: selling as a lot, by season, by style, etc. I have not felt this physically tired and sore since I was very very pregnant, but I am determined to get this fully organized and ready for business by the end of August! My plan is to continue to quickly sell off things I don’t plan on selling in my shop to make room and some quick money. I want to have a fully stocked shop ready to go when I re-launch my Etsy shop and have everything uniformly photographed.
Here are some more crappy phone pictures to show you what I’ve been up to (sorry, it’s the only thing I have time for these days.)
These bags and boxes were filled with clothing I hadn’t seen yet, the suitcases all full of jewelry and hats- so so so many hats. And yes, those are hoop skirts just hanging out on top of the boxes)
(The most organized mess you can imagine.)
(Just a lot of vintage, and a familiar backyard scene of air drying dresses)
(some beautiful mexican bracelets, suitcases of jewelry!)
(beauties that fell out of the plastic bags as we moved them! The poppy colored silk one fits me perfectly and has flaws…so it’s meant to be mine, right?)
I am so grateful to my family for helping me since this vintage has been in my possession! Having my mom or siblings take Jacob to the park or play with him so I can work in the day time is so incredibly helpful! I’ve only worked while he sleeps, so getting a few extra hours here and there is making a world of difference, and it’s extra awesome for Jacob! Also helpful is my mom and sister ironing pleated dresses, unpacking dingy boxes, and getting clothes on their hangers! Vanessa braved opening lots of plastic bags of surprises with me, which was very nice of her. ANOTHER MILLION THANK YOUs, FAMILY and FRIENDS!
…and I’m still pinching myself. Last week, this Vanessa and then this Vanessa came to my house, and I talked to them each about how I dream of one day finding one giant lot of vintage clothing so I could start my shop back up. My decision to quit selling vintage while Jacob was young was absolutely the best one for my family, but now that Jacob is older, actually naps, and I’m not a wuss about letting someone else watch him, I have been wanting to get back into the vintage game. Our house is mostly put back together, and Josh and I both felt that I could ease back into selling again. The thrift stores in Portland are so picked through that it takes weeks of hunting to find anything truly vintage, and that’s not just what I want to be doing with Jacob. I rarely make it to estate sales anymore, since it’s usually just me and Jacob on Friday and Saturday mornings, while Josh works. We knew that when I’d start selling again, it would have to depend on me finding a big lot of clothing. I had no idea it would be this big.
On Thursday, I saw an ad that a vintage clothing store four hours away from Portland was closing and selling everything. I talked to the kindest woman who was closing her business of 30+ years. That night Josh talked to her. We prayed and prayed. We figured out finances on Friday and picked out a shipping container to use for storage. Then we drove out to see it on Saturday and that night we shook hands on the porch of the owner’s house. We met up and signed a contract over breakfast on Sunday.
And so I am now the owner of a couple thousand pieces of vintage clothing and jewelry, 85% of them 1960s and older (and NO 80s-90s stuff!). There is the entire contents of a shop, many many many boxes and a room full of clothing at her house, and a 20′x10′ storage unit full of stuff! I am overwhelmed in the best way- overwhelmed by the task of driving back out with the biggest U-Haul we can get, packing up delicate breakables, packing old jewelry, carefully storing Edwardian-era hats…It’s a lot to take in. I am THRILLED and so excited to dig through boxes that haven’t been opened in years, to sort through buckets of bakelite (!!), and to discover what old things where passed on to me.
(excuse the crappy pictures, I was just snapping away with excitement. This is most of what I’m getting, minus the storage unit and a whole lot else not pictured).
We brought back a very small amount of things with us (what we could fit in my trunk), and even digging through just that had me freaking out a little bit. There are SO MANY crisp cotton dresses and skirts from the 50s, gorgeous rayon 40s dresses, a LADY AND THE TRAMP siamese cats skirt from the 50s, a perfect 40s/50s swimsuit I’m totally keeping…the list goes on. If you follow me on Instagram (thefriendlyfox), chances are you’re fed up with all the pictures I’m posting. It’s hard to contain myself.
For now, the plan is to go pick up the rest of the lot very soon and sort sort sort. I plan to sell a few pretty big lots of stuff wholesale right off the bat to get some storage fees paid off and such, so if you’re a vintage seller that’s interested, keep an eye out for that! I need to figure out what to do with the collectibles that aren’t clothing, the displays I’m also getting, and I am assuming it will take me a few weeks to get settled in to this, get clothing cleaned and processed, and photograph everything to sell!!
I’ll be updating you guys on how it goes- thanks for all your excitement! I’m sure I’ll keep posting pictures on Instagram and twitter, because I’m finding lots of cool stuff already!