For much of our lives, we’ve heard the following about love:
If you love something, set it free;
If it comes back, it’s yours;
If it doesn’t, it never was.
– Author Disputed
But, when we are talking about something much less human, such as a great piece of thrifted furniture, I generally follow my own advice:
If you love something, snatch it up;
If you come back, it could be gone;
And you will spend months obsessing about what never was.
Y’all can quote me on that, if you’d like. I know it’s really deep.
Recently, a new furniture consignment store opened in my little town. We had a consignment store here previously, but it was more like 5% consignments and 95% new furniture that the owner bragged to me just came in from Thailand. Nothing against Thailand or new furniture, but that’s not really what I go into a consignment store looking to find.
I had my doubts about our newest shop, but stopped in a few weeks ago when my son had an appointment in the medical building next door. I was initially disappointed because inside the front doors I basically saw nothing but new pieces. But, the owner told me that he had two warehouses full of consignments in the back. What looked like a small store was really about 8,000 square feet of space.
There was nothing that I particularly needed, but I was like a kid in a candy store. I viewed each piece with the same amount of delight…until I saw two pieces that stopped me in my tracks. One was a long, deep stereo cabinet and the other was a matching hutch and console. I immediately recognized them as being pieces from the 1960s (too much Mad Men watching?), and my brain went into hyperdrive trying to find a place to put them. I didn’t really have the space. I then tried to figure out where to put them in friends’ homes. It’s a bad sign when you try to mentally decorate your own friends’ homes without them asking you to do so!
Did I mention that each piece was only $80? Yeah, you’d have been searching for a place, too.
That day, I couldn’t justify buying either of the pieces since I couldn’t find a place for them, so I had to walk away. It was hard. I obsessed about where I could put them or how I could refinish them. I told Tom about them. I told my best friend about them. I told all of the mothers in the waiting room at Zack’s appointment about them. I was a woman possessed by the thought of owning one of those pieces.
As the week went on, I decided that I did in fact have the perfect place for the stereo cabinet. I had a piece I was already planning on refinishing for that space, but I loved this one so much more. I told myself that if it was still there 7 days later, it was destined to be mine. I had dreams (literally) about what color I would paint it. I was all prepared to store my kids’ wooden puzzles in its wooden slats that originally held records. I didn’t follow my “if you love it, snatch it up immediately” advice, and I knew that I was taking a risk.
Those seven days crawled by, but eventually the day arrived. Emma and I went into the store and made a beeline back to the warehouse where it originally was. Would it still be there? Would it have a ‘sold’ tag on it just to taunt me? If I ran (even though no one else was in the store), would that help my chances of finding it?
Yes. No. And probably not, but it didn’t hurt to try.
She was there. The owner told me that the consignor’s dad had purchased it new in 1964. The daughter-in-law hated it and wanted it out of her house. Obviously, she didn’t see it for all of it’s awesome potential. Do you?
This piece is currently in my dining room, drawers out and doors off. She underwent a major transformation this weekend, and I have a few finishing touches to put on her before I can show her off. Any guesses as to what color her faded, green-tinted self is now? She’s now a little Don Draper meets Living With Lindsay.
Which of the thrift store love tenets do you follow – Set It Free or Snatch it Up Immediately?