Maybe it's my "nesting instinct" kicking in or maybe I've just been watching too many home-improvement themed TV shows (I'm somewhat of a packrat but the piggish horders on programs like "Clean House" and "Neat" make me feel downright organized and minimalist by comparison)… Whatever the reason, I've had the urge to purge lately.
So my pal Michelle and I had a huge yard sale on Sunday at her place on Vermont Ave. in Los Feliz. For days before, I mercilessly scoured thru my stuff, much of it dusty and even unfamiliar, as it had been in storage long enough for me to forget about it. Like a visit with old friends, I was happy to see a lot of it: past Halloween costumes that might make a comeback, journals from my wild twentysomething years ( a book someday?) and stuff I'd like to pass on to my daughter (my doll collection featuring Cher, Charlie's Angels and the very glam "Superstar Barbie" complete with boa and diamond jewelry).
Still most of the stuff I unearthed just looked like trash to me and I wondered why I had held unto it for so long. I wanted the shit out of my life now.
I collect stuff with lips (it's a Warhol/Rolling Stones thing) and lions (I'm a Leo) mostly, but I've also got a hefty load of 70s swag (clothes and décor) and uh, purple stuff. Yeah I said purple stuff… as in anything purple: plastic boxes and doodads, fluffy faux fur and fabric, basically useless junk that I always thought I'd have use for some day, like when I got that big house with a "craft room."
Alas, I'm all about the here and now these days and my current place is too small, especially with a new addition on the way. I needed to make more room in my outdoor storage bins so it was time to ask myself some serious questions about the crap I had accumulated. Out went half of my lion collection (including lots o' Disney's Lion King items… that film was huge for me when it came out), any Rolling Stones things that I had two of (there was a lot) and clothes that I haven't worn in 2 years (the one year/6 month rule really isn't applicable to us pregnant gals).
You'd think it'd be painful to part with stuff I've been holding onto for so long, but with a few exceptions, it wasn't. As waves of Latino families, trendy teenyboppers and old ladies plowed thru my colorful items and took them away throughout the day, I felt lighter and lighter. Clothes that I had long ago rejected, gotten sick of or regretted ever purchasing were now going to gals who totally appreciated each piece and that felt good (even if they paid $2 and I paid $20 and sometimes $50-80). Toddlers carried away my fuzzy, well-cared for stuffed animals and toys, old men walked away with piles of books I planned to read but never did (many of which I got from the Weekly gratis) and at the end of the day one lucky fella got a giant box of CDs (some of them actually good) for $5... okay they were Amoeba rejects, but still.
There were a few overzealous bargainers who just got on my nerves, and my friend Michelle's. She had a load of pricey jeans (Frankie B, Seven, etc) that she was practically giving away at $5 each, and some people actually had the nerve to say "One dollar???" She promptly snagged them out of their arms and said forget it, opting to try her luck at a resale store like Buffalo Exchange instead. The same thing happened between me and and old bat over a mint condition purse from the 1960s, I wanted $8; she wanted to pay a buck. It came back home with me and I'm sure I will get at least $20 for it on Ebay.
My toughest sale of the day will probably sound like the strangest- that of my once beloved Ronald McDonald cloth doll.
I carried that damn thing everywhere as a kid and I loved it. I'll never forget the day I got it either. I was to meet the "real" Ronald McDonald at a Glendale Micky D's after begging my mom to take me, but when I got there and actually saw him in all his garish, red and yellow glory, I was terrified. I started crying and hiding but the persistent clown was determined to make me like him. Despite a long line of kiddies who wanted to meet him, he focused on me, talking slowly and patiently as my tiny, teary face peered thru my mother's knees (in retrospect, I think the dude had a crush on her- my mom was/is hot). Anyway, I really liked him after that and cherished the doll he gave me in his likeness. I later got the Hamburglar Doll too and though he was supposed to be a bad guy, I liked him just as much.
Both were dingy and tattered when I found them at the bottom of an old box recently, filled with years of tears and joyful moments, though their later years were spent in unlit garage exile as I went on to prettier baby dolls and plusher, cuter stuffed animals. I thought about keeping 'em but Hamburglar's head was water-damaged and Ronnie was downright brownish and a bit stale smelling. Still, I knew he'd sell, and sure enough some foreigner, French I think, wanted him.
A brutal bargaining bout ensued. I asked for $10, he offered $5. I offered to give him the Hamburglar too (really, I didn't want to separate them) if he'd just gimme the 10 spot, but the guy wasn't having Hammy's shredded head. "Six dollars," the Frenchman said, adding that Ron Don wasn't in the best condition himself. "Eight," I countered, telling him about my past with the thing. We had a deal.
By day's end, I made about 200 bucks and was able to pack all the unwanted stuff into three boxes. Though none of it came back home with me, I have to admit my place is still pretty crowded. I could definitely use another purge session, though sitting in the sun all day aint gonna happen anytime soon. I'll probably just go straight to Out of the Closet, where the remaining stuff from our yard sale is now available. By the way, if you happen to be thrift shopping and see Hamburglar, give him a kiss for me will ya?