keeping & letting go

Marian ParsonsAntiques, buying & selling antiques, Running a Business, Shopping Tips28 Comments

I was going to go shopping for more antique goodies today as well as some supplies for building pieces, but instead I stayed home to get some “stress-relieving stuff” done – computer work, e-mail, paperwork, cleaning & tidying up the house, etc.  It was all much needed.

Unfortunately, in all of my tidying up on my computer, I somehow managed to remove all but 400 photos from my Lightroom software.  I would call it a disaster, but it’s not really a disaster in the grand scheme of things.  It’s an epic inconvenience, though.  I still have all of the photos, but they are in their RAW, unedited state, so if I need the photos, I need to edit them again.  All 8,000+ of them.  So, that stinks.

I suppose it will force me to go through the pictures and weed out ones I won’t ever use again.  I am a bit of a photo hoarder.


Anyway, I thought I would answer another reader question today.

In yesterday’s post about the old kitchen sink & cabinet I found, Kathleen asked,

“I think it’s really driving me crazy trying to figure out how you REALLY can part with some of these things! I mean, with simply EVERYONE out there now searching (you’ve been teaching us so well), don’t you EVER worry about the “well running dry?” I’m thinking about things like years ago–when I was a “regular” at Goodwill (before it was “in” and before Goodwill started saving all the good pieces and selling to dealers)–when you used to be able to get a “deal” on houses to fix up (now everyone’s doing it). I could go on, but eventually it would seem there would be very little to find. Do you ever feel anxious about that happening for you? It makes it all the more amazing that you share what you find and how you go about it!”

So, let’s talk about keeping things and letting things go.


Before I bought and sold furniture and antiques, I felt the same way.  I could never, ever get rid of fill-in-the-blank.  I’ll never find it again or never for a price that low!  

I loved antique and bargain shopping, so I made my regular rounds and squeezed my latest find in wherever it would fit.  I wasn’t intentionally decorating my home.  I was collecting.

When I started selling painted furniture and antiques, it was because we really needed the money.  That was a good incentive to sell things that I knew were worth a lot more than what I paid for them.  Even things I really liked and thought I would never, ever sell.

The process of letting go was exactly that – a process.  It took time for me to get used to selling things I loved and to learn that I will always find more things I love.

And my home is better for all of the things I don’t keep as much as it’s better for the things I do keep.

I still feel a twinge when I sell certain things…

Miss Mustard Seed-7264





…but my rule is that I have to have the perfect place for it and, if I don’t, I have to sell it.

I once asked Suzanne, the owner of the Lucketts Store, how she sells so many awesome things.  I loved her answer.  “This is a business.  If I don’t sell the things I buy, then it’s just shopping.”

I must admit that sometimes I still “shop”, but I *try* to be strategic about what I keep and make sure if something new comes in then at least something old goes out.  Usually I keep things for a while, love on them, take pictures of them, use them as props and then I’m ready to send them along to a good home.

And, I’ll pretty much sell anything if the price is right.

There are a few pieces I can’t see myself selling.  The antique shirt counter is one…


…and my ironstone cake pedestal…




…the primitive step-back hutch…


…and the “crusty counter”.


There are other things I’m not ready to sell, yet…


…but they are not on the off-limits list!

So, Kathleen, there is the long answer.

The short answer is that it’s my business to buy and sell things that I love.  If I only bought things that were “meh”, then I wouldn’t be very good at what I do.

If I want to keep everything, and I usually do, that’s a good indicator that I’m doing something right.


Speaking of amazing finds, I have decided to sell the baker’s rack I bought last year at Lucketts.  It’s such an awesome piece, but I’m really not using it to its full potential.  It deserves better than what I’m giving it!


I have all of the shelves to it.  It is a big piece, so you definitely need a pick-up truck to get it.  I’m located near Gettysburg, PA, if you’re interested.

(Sorry, but the rack is sold.)


keeping & letting go

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28 Comments on “keeping & letting go”

  1. Marian – this post could not have come at more perfect time. Planning, starting, and running a creative business involves adjustments in so many areas and parting with the found treasures can be hard at best. You have summarized the process of “letting go” to a tee and the words have especially resonated with me at this time. Deepest thanks!

  2. If I was closer I would totally buy that!!! And I’d use it as a rack for my artwork to dry on —ahhh to dream

  3. I still dream of owning the blue stoneware bowls in the first photo. You just have to send me info about their condition and prices…. just saying, “I am serious.” After all, my site is Botanic BLEU.


  4. My husband is the “photo hoarder”. I snap a ton of photos, trying to get that special one. He keeps all the rest of the “wastes-of-film” (although, they are digital) and won’t let me delete them after we upload them to our computer to look at. He always thinks that they can be saved (cropping, editing the color, etc.). Sometimes, he’s right. Sometimes, they’re just taking up computer real estate. There’s a difference between artsy and just plain junk.
    Speaking of junk…we are having a garage sale fundraiser at my church tomorrow. It’s been fun going through all the stuff and pricing all the “treasures”. Makes me feel as if I own a shop:-) Enjoy the weekend!

  5. Thank for your insights! I used to have a terrible time getting rid of just about anything! But once I realized that it’s just “stuff” and that this stuff sometimes outgrows its usefulness or loses its meaning, it was easy to let go. Now I create jewelry and I have found that even though I love each and every piece, I am always so happy when it finds a forever home, because then I can make more! The bed above is so gorgeous and reminds me so much of my native Bavaria!

  6. I am definitely in “almost” hoarder mode. My garage is chockablock full of furniture and various vintage wares – many (most) bought with intent to sell and when I’m ready (hopefully soon says my family) I will get back to business and share my found treasures with others who love them as much as I do.

  7. Here in Ohio, to some degree, the well is running dry, which is why my daughter and I got out of the business. You can still find some pretty unique pieces, but they are at such high prices, you can’t resell them and make any money. We don’t find the kind of unique things that you do on a regular basis, but I also believe, the more historic and old your area of the country is, the more there is left to find. It is still fun to shop, and I have found over the years, you keep the pieces that speak to your heart, until they don’t any more. Then they go on to a show or on my Etsy shop. It really is a great excuse to buy, love, and sell, and I think must be the best of all jobs.

  8. I have trouble letting go of things also, but my attitude is starting to change a little bit since my grandmother passed away in January. Her home is full of all her things, some of which I gave her, and the old saying, “you can’t take it with you,” is taking on more meaning. I want my home to be a place of peace and comfort. A house filled with too much stuff usually doesn’t feel peaceful or comfortable.

  9. Such a great post! I have recently started to think of it in relation to giving and receiving. It’s like a pipe and there should be flow there. If we only keep or receive there is a back up. When we make sure giving and selling are in balance with receiving and keeping there are no blockages and there is harmony.

    So sorry for your pictures and way to look for the good in EVERYTHING. The pictures on this post were very sweet to my eyes. 🙂

  10. I’m in love with your tufted sofa(?). When are you going to sell. Could you possibly let me know and get in touch? Thanks do much. Just love your everything!!

  11. If you ever want to sell the cow painting in this photo, please, please let me know. It brings back happy childhood memories at my Grandpa’s dairy farm.

    1. If you are talking about Eulalie, the cow print in her dining room, you can buy a copy direct from the artist. for the life of me I can’t remember who it is, but I know Marian has talked about the artist of this blog somewhere,. If you’re talking about the one over the couch, I can’t help you with that one

      1. Thanks Sheila. I was talking about the one over the couch! I’m seriously in love with that painting. LOL

  12. Marian, do you back up your computer? If so, you could do a restore. Otherwise I would suggest storing things in the cloud. You can’t lose them there.

    Love, love, LOVE all your white wear. If I were closer…

    1. Yes, I do, but I was never backing up Lightroom, because I knew the pictures were backed up. I didn’t even think about the developing! So, I didn’t lose any pictures, but I lost the work I did on developing them.

  13. As a new reader of your blog, I am appreciating you helping me work through some of my hoarder tendencies. I see the potential and have a plan for items but have limited time, working full time as a nurse. I do rent a booth at a local antiques store and struggle with loving (and letting go of) what I put in to sell and feeling disappointed if no one loves it (and buys ) what I think is so wonderful. I struggle with letting my favorites go and I appreciate your comments about separating why I am buying and selling. As I work on being able to edit what I have in the house I hope to make room for other treasures.
    A comment about pictures. This fall, I dropped my computer and LOST 5 years of pictures other than what I had uploaded to a photo site for gifts and copies. 5 years of grandbabies, vacations, grandparents, reunions…… Sad…

  14. Thanks for all this information right now i don’t have a business but, i have retired and find some of my old pieces don’t work anymore,so now i have some thinking to do so i can decide. Thanks Marianne and have a great weekend.

  15. Dear Marian,

    Well said. It’s probably a good thing for me that I do not live close to you – I am in California – or I would be over there in a New York minute! I do not buy and sell things as you do; to make money, but I LOVE to shop and, have certainly committed more of my share of buyer’s remorse. I have found that with certain sentimental things I am happier passing them along to a special friend, or family member that will cherish them and/or make good use of them.

  16. Just as a post script – the hardest thing is finding out what to to with inherited things that family members and loved ones left you when they passed away. Things that your grew up with, have a sentimental value, and are painful to part with, or let go of.

  17. re: your deleted photos.. I know its a “no duh” question but….did you check your Recycle Bin? fingers crossed they are still there and you did not do the Empty the Recycle Bin??? Are You Sure ??? YES NO….

  18. Six months ago my mom and dad sold their condo in Florida, fully furnished. They took a few pieces with them but overall most of it stayed. I struggled with this, but understood the need to start over. Since then my parents have moved to NC, bought a house, and we have been filling it with great finds. Your blog was one of the first ones I started reading when we started this very large project. Your pieces have been an inspiration since day 1. There was always something about your pieces that I loved, even though they were not my style. I realized today (mind blown!!!) why this is the case. You live in Gettysburg, and my husband of 15 years grew up in Waynesboro. I love that town and we have seriously considered moving back north. The main reason I love the area is the history and the pride in workmanship. Maybe this is due to the Amish. But regardless, I now fully understand why your blog has a special place in my heart. Thank you for being a great influence to all of us out here that could only dream of having the courage to start our own business doing what we love.

  19. Such a timely post, as my family and I prepare to move this week. I have a thing for chairs like you have a thing for iron stone and have accumulated and rehabbed many. I have done other items of furniture and had some in various stages of decay waiting for attention but chairs are my favorite. With the move, i had to part with a bunch. Not even Craigslist, just curbside because the pod is full. We will be staying with family for a bit with limited space and we.don’t need seating for a herd. I know I and find more chairs and junk but there’s a bit of a twinge. Embarrassment? Disappointment that I didn’t get to some of them. Sadness that I can’t save them all. Does anyone relate?

  20. I wish I lived close enough. LOVE that baker’s rack!

    I have learned this to a certain extent as well, while I don’t have a decorating business (yet!) as a military wife it’s simply not possible to keep everything.

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