As my half of our 2 car garage gets increasingly more packed with junk and Ryan’s side stays pristine and organized, I find myself asking how did this happen? Not Dana and Ryan per say but my love affair with junk. Again, I rewind back to college or even high school I suppose. I was a self-proclaimed Shopaholic. I even gave an informative speech of my diagnosis in Speech class in college and got an A.
As a teenager, I spent every weekend at the mall buying whatever my paper route income could afford…clothes from 5-7-9 and Joyce Leslie, accessories from Claire’s and penny candy by the pound. I also had a trendy pager incase I needed to be alerted to any breaking sales happening at Strawbridge’s. Yup, that was me in high school.
Then college came and the serious shoe obsession began. Macy’s was my big supplier back then. I often hid the stash in my trunk or passed new shoes off as “Oh these? I’ve had them forev-ER!” In retrospect, some of the shoes weren’t even cute or necessarily quite my size but if they were a deal, I got them! I NEEDED them.
Then onto the big league. The real world. Shopping for business casual clothes was a whole new rush for me. There were suits, pencil skirts, button downs, kitten heels, scarves, a variety of belts, just an entirely new wardrobe that I never had. Or knew I couldn’t live without. And also an apartment all to myself where I could admire my new acquisitions and not deny any of them the right to their own space in the closet. My main supplier in those days was Nordstrom Rack. The concept of a high-end department store heavily discounted just blew me away.
For me it was always the thrill of the hunt. Finding the perfect shoes (or whatever) that I couldn’t live without. And most importantly, at the lowest price ever. But once I mastered being a Shopaholic, what more was there? Other than limited, remaining closet space.
Insert antiques and vintage into my life. I started fading weekend trips to department stores out and co-op antique stores in. There is an exhilirating rush when you find a unique treasure that does not have an identical one behind it. Wait, the display doesn’t have a dozen of the thing I love but don’t need? Yes, please. That just ups the need factor! And antique vendors are almost always willing to negotiate their price. That quenches my thirst for discount shopping!
I came to this realization about myself just the other day when I was driving to work and, as usual, passed the second largest mall in America. I thought, when was the last time I was in there? Christmas maybe? Last summer? I couldn’t tell you. It was once one of my main sources to feed my habit. Now, nothing. Just doesn’t do it for me. I’d rather be sweating it out in the hot sun rooting through boxes for the perfect treasure at a flea market, doing drive bys at yard sales in old folks communities, and do I dare say, trash picking! That’s right. The curb is the ultimate clearance rack.
Fortunately, I’ve also taken to selling my vintage and repurposed junk so I no longer need to “store” things in my trunk to hide their existence. It also occurred to me that the reading material on my night stand changed from the Shopaholic series and Glamour mag to Flea Market Style mag and books like Killer Stuff and Tons of Money. American Pickers is my favorite show and although the garage is full, the clothes in my closet can now breathe freely.
That’s my story of how a once commercial Shopaholic became a full on vintage Junkaholic. So either I’ve got serious issues and, after reading this, my mother will be calling with the number to a shrink or I’m totally awesome and should have some kind of reality show (not of the Hoarders variety). I’m open to opinions. I can take it.