Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Help! I am a Rummage Sale Junkie! (On Battling Materialism)

It's rummage season! The combination of my small-town sensibility, cheapness, and love for old shit make me a rummage sale addict. Wingback chairs are my crack.

 I’m still taking flak from last year’s summer-long bender when I bought a total of seven chairs, an ottoman, and a sofa. I soon realized that a.) when it comes to re-uholstery, I ain’t got skillz, b.) Victorian-era furniture is designed to look nice and keep clothes from wrinkling, not for comfort, and c.) my family and friends seem to appreciate comfort more than un-wrinkly clothes. Long story short, after a few re-arrangements, I ended up selling or gifting all but two of the chairs, which are now sadly sitting upstairs awaiting me to finish my first attempt at reupholstering.

So when this year’s city-wide rummage rolled around, I tried to stay on the wagon. I targeted the one sale where I knew I could purchase second-hand wardrobes for all of my kids. I didn’t even highlight the ads. Then my main dealer met up with me at church (of all places!) and let me know that she had some stuff that had my name all over it…

I’m going to put it right here on the record that it was not me, but my junkie husband who purchased nine chairs, a settee, and a stool (ok, the stool was me). That’s right; he surpassed my previous seating capacity record! ...and we might start a chair museum.

This chesterfield-style settee and chair are my favorite buys. They’ll find a home in our entry (or “foyer” if we’re feeling fancy). The seats will need re-upholstery, but I’m thinking the backs are ok. The holes in the leather seats reveal that they’re stuffed with straw. Cool!

These parlor chairs will also need re-upholstery. Nate wants to keep the salmonish-gold color, but I’d prefer black, green, or gray. Ticking stripe? Floral? Help us decide!

These babies have the same wood pattern as the others, but with arms, and one is a rocker. They appear to have been re-upholstered in 1970’s style polyester, so we’ll have them done the same as the others…seriously, help us decide!

These kitchen chairs are a bit sturdier and more our style than our current ones which we’ve been borrowing from my grandma. Nate wants to refinish them (sand, stain, varnish), but I think we should just give them a coat of black chalk paint to match the legs of our kitchen table and bench….we seem to have a pattern of disagreement here! (oh yeah, the kids got in on the action, too, with a kid chair. Start ‘em young!)

This stool will help little-ol’-me reach high things in the kitchen. And even though I’m not Norwegian, I sure love rosemaling!

I was just making an innocent trip to the post office when this trunk tempted me to another sale…what can I say, I can’t stop chasing that high...Nate’s not crazy about a trunk as a coffee table, but I think it’s so cool.

So there you have it. My name is Kayla, and I am an addict.

Obviously, I jest. I know that this strange “addiction” doesn’t really have a hold on my brain’s neurotransmitters, but purchasing does give a rush of dopamine, and that shit is dope! Buying second-hand can be financially, environmentally, and even spiritually savvy, but it can also be a gateway drug. After this weekend’s bender, I have to consciously stop myself from letting a few purchases lead me into the dark, dark underbelly of materialism. If wingbacks are my crack, Pinterest is my porn, and now I find myself jonesing for a leather chesterfield, a “writer’s” chair, wallpaper (yes, I’m serious), and a garage. It’s so easy for a “quick hit” to turn into a full-blown obsession.

I’ve learned a few strategies to get myself back on the wagon:
1. Turn Coveting into Gratitude

Rather than thinking about all of the things I would love to change about my home, I need to call to mind my favorite things about it (which incidentally don’t have to do with the house itself): the people who live here and gorgeous countryside surrounding us.
2. Find other Dope

What makes vices like materialism, substance abuse, and overeating so tempting? Dopamine. Thankfully, there are other ways to give our brains that rush without self-destructing. Crossing items off our to-do list, achieving flow in our work, exercise, goal pursuing, music, meditation, hugs, giving, and certain healthy foods are all virtuous ways to get high.
3. Die to Self (Transcend Desire)

The ultimate goal of a Christian is sanctification, to completely die to self so Christ can fully live through us. Buddhists would call this transcendence of desire enlightenment (which seems like a more positive term that better embodies the joy of self-denial, but who am I to question the Holy Spirit's and subsequent translator's choices of terminology...). Even mainstream secularists, through trends such as minimalism and mindfulness, have begun to embrace the ideal of eliminating distractions and focusing on what's important. I happen to believe that God’s grace is the only way to truly transcend desire, but there are certainly different ways of receiving that grace (prayer, fasting, almsgiving, sacraments, etc.).

So, now that I’ve regained control over my impulses, realized how f-ing weak I would be to fight a real addiction, and reclaimed the joy of the pure life, I can freely ask you: What do you think of our rummage purchases? Can you help us solve our differences of opinion on some of the items?


1 comment:

  1. Great finds, especially the Chesterfield set. Also, your staircase is gorgeous. I, too, am an addict... The last two Saturdays I got up at 6:30, despite a week of nightly sleep deprivation, just to hit up the local neighborhood-wide sales (we don't have city wide sales here). In Virginia the sales only go from 8 or 9 till 12 or 1 and are usually exclusive to Saturdays. They're also much smaller, so it only pays to go if you can hit several at once- but I've found some great bargains!


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