THE chair and letting go

Marian ParsonsMiscellaneus50 Comments

If you followed my Lucketts preparations, you know that I made a last minute decision to sell THE chair.  Kristi, one of my readers and a shopper at Lucketts this year, was hoping the channel back chair I kept mentioning in my posts looked similar to THE chair.  When she saw it was upholstered in plain grain sacks, she mentioned being interested in a wing chair with blue, striped grain sacks similar to THE chair.  Hmmm…  That got my wheels turning. I didn’t have the time to find and upholster a chair before Lucketts.  Would I be okay with selling THE chair?  Not a similar one, but the actual one?

I walked into the living room and looked over THE chair.  I imagined not having it.  I imagined the thrill of finding something that worked just as well or even better in that space.  I imagined how neat it would be to sell the chair to someone who loved it as I have.  I realized I was totally okay with selling it.

As I loaded THE chair into my car a couple of days later, I did have that what-if twinge, but when I met Kristi, the new owner of THE chair, I was at peace.  Any what-ifs were silenced.  It was going to a good home and that made me really happy.


THE chair

 I will say…I’ve sold a lot of “my” things before, but the decision to sell THE chair was surprising to me.  It’s been a signature piece for me.  It’s on the cover of my book…


 …and was featured  in the BHG Christmas Ideas magazine photo shoot as well as a few other magazines.  I did some wheeling and dealing to get those grain sacks from a reader in Germany.  It was one of my first grain sack upholstery jobs.  I love that chair!  So, why am I okay with letting pieces like THE chair go?

  • I will state the obvious right off the bat…I do sell pieces to make money.  I would guess that I’ve been able to furnish most of my house for “free” by trading up and buying and selling things.  It involves a lot of elbow grease, but it sure beats shopping at a furniture store.
  • The longer I do this job as an antiques dealer/furniture refinisher, the more I realize that the world is filled with really cool stuff and I’ll always find something new that I’m excited about trying out in my home.   It is a part of the business and I view the constant merry-go-round of furniture one of the perks.  
  • I like to have new things to photograph and rearrange and ask my husband to help me scoot around the house.
  • I like change.  Blame it on my Army brat upbringing.
  • I have “lost dog syndrome” for furniture.  I don’t want to keep it all, but I love finding it, fixing it up and then finding it a good home.
  • It’s sort of liberating to let go of things and make room for new things.
  • If I keep everything I love I would a.) be broke and b.) be a hoarder.
  • The things that I love are just things.

All of that being said, there are things that I’m sentimental about or that are one-of-a-kind sort of things that I will probably never sell.  But I think being willing to sell the rest makes those pieces all the more special.

DSC_9865 (424x640)

…And, if I’m being honest, the channel back chair definitely did ease the blow and nicely filled the hole left by THE chair.  It’s much easier looking at that than an empty space.

And THE chair isn’t very far away and I’ve been told I can visit it any time.

THE chair and letting go

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50 Comments on “THE chair and letting go”

  1. I believe if I’d been able to make it to Lucketts that would have been just one of the many MMS pieces I would have loved to have!! But I know exactly what you mean by letting things go. After my husband dies a few years ago I sold our vacation home in Florida, and was silly enough to bring all our furniture back to Indians with me! Oh My!! I was busting at the seams. So I knew they were just pieces of furniture they needed to go. But boy did it help to know they were going to good homes. I gave away almost every piece plus some from my Indiana home. That also eased my heart a little. I’m sure the buyer of your chair will treasure it!!

  2. You just wrote from my own heart. I would only add, if something I had, that I was willing to give up, can make someone else giddy with happiness too, isn’t that awesome. Good for you!

  3. The new chair will look smashing on the cover of your next book…I loved the first!!
    God bless you.

  4. Marian! ive had a channel back chair sitting in my living room that i bought of craigslist as a project for almost 23 months now. Ive been bitten by your painting, blogging, and down right craftiness so its been collecting dust as I refinish other furniture pieces. I really hope you post a how to/step by step guide on how you finished it, and if possible where you got the fabric to upholster it. I have a ton of samples from Pottery barn and Restoration hardware and I was thinking of going with a cream belgian linen from resto, but I love the way yours turned out. oH puhleaseeeee make time out of your already busy life and give us a tutorial for dummies 🙂

    I internet stalk you and love everything you do 🙂 thank you for making the world a more beautiful place~

    1. PLEASE PLEASE!! I’m looking at my first piece to refinish. I STILL don’t know where to start, how to go after the paint is on! I want to see some darkness in the grooves of spindles?? Do I sand, do I paint. What is the hemp wax. Fdifferent from the beeswax and different from the ( is it called antiquing wax?? There r your tutorials on line, but I need something to read. If you want this look, do this… If you want certain parts like groves and flowers carved in the pieceHOW do you do that if its the same color as rest of piece. I’ve been searching, reading other blogs…. I need A-Z and can’t find it. I’m at point of tears or giving up. : (
      There HAS to be others like us!!

  5. Hi Marian, what a great post! You always inspire me in some way. You get me thinking and it’s true, letting go of loved things is really hard, but I think also one of the most valuable lessons we get to learn. I’ve got that army brat upringing too, and even after I had nothing to do with the military life anymore, I’ve moved 8 times! So I’ve had to learn to let go of loved pieces along the way and it gets easier the older I get. How wonderful that a) you know that the pieces are going to someone who will really cherish them, b) you get the thrill of the hunt, rescuing them and living with them for awhile and last but not least c) you get paid for it!

    Those are inspiring thoughts and it lights a fire in my heart! You rock it girl!

  6. I love your philosophy, Marian. And I would say both chairs, for that matter any chair you would rework, would be THE chair. I am loving that channel back, but I guess the odds of me getting it are now slim to none – darn!

  7. Exactly. Its just stuff. What a great reminder you gave us, entertaining and as always, useful! love my MMS time!!

  8. I saw “the chair” being carried put of the gate and thought “now that is a big deal.” I am also starting to learn things are things. The creative outlet, discovery, vision, excitement of new pieces is so much more fun than having the same furniture for 25+yrs which is what I thought the norm was.

  9. Artists sometimes have a hard time letting go of beloved pieces. I’ve been telling myself I don’t need to keep my best works to prove I did them. And if I did it once, I can do it again.

  10. Do any of the people who have bought your treasures ever send you pictures of them?

    When the lady who sold me my china cupboard told me about how it had been her grandmother’s and that she was happy it was going to someone who seemed in love with it, I knew I had to send her a picture of it in its new home so she could see it was loved. She said she really appreciated that.

  11. Dear MMS, I wish I could let go so easily! You are wise to do so, it is your business, it is what you do. Love THE chair, love the new chair. Keep doing what you do that makes you the happiest. Hugs, Anne Boykin

  12. Marian, I loved your thought-provoking post today !
    You’re so right, it’s hard to let things go and not be a hoarder, especially when everything is so pretty and special to us. But for the lucky ones like you, creativity springs eternal.
    It’s that constant evolving that makes up our lives.
    You shared a lot of joy with the new owner of THE chair.

    Kelli Girsch –

  13. I rely needed this little lesson today. I have a hard time letting go of things, which is ridiculous, when you think about all the natural disasters we have seen in the last decade where people lose everything and start over.

  14. Can you tell me where you found your grain sacks? These are NOT the burlap bags I have purchased at Rural King, are they?

    Thanks, Farmerlady

    1. No, I bought these specific grain sacks from a reader who was stationed in Germany. I picked them out on Germany’s Ebay and she purchased them and shipped them to me. I’ve since found a wholesale source in Hungary.

  15. I think since THE chair made it to the cover of your book, it will always be yours.

    In order to let go of my favorite projects (two barstools that I reupholstered and painted in an unusual treatment), someone has to love them as much as I do. I really don’t need them now, but I can’t part with them yet. I had better reread this post a few more times.

    Visitation would help.

  16. Sigh….. what a wonderful way to look at that and let it go!!! I would LOVE to own a piece from you:)

  17. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom and reminder that even though we love our stuff at the end of the day it is stuff. And if we don’t let it go, we cannot find new stuff we love. Have a great weekend Marian 🙂

    xo, Tanya

  18. Not surprised one bit. Just recently purchased and read your book. Makes sense to me – and just say no to becoming a hoarder : )

  19. I can’t tell you how giddy and thankful I am you were able to give up this signature piece. I consider my self very blessed to have it in my home. Believe me, I will cherish it, as will my kids. And being a military family moving around a lot, it will certainly help in making all our houses a home. Thank you soooo much for being able to let go.

  20. I agree with all the comments about giving up “THE” chair, but am so thankful that you retained visitation rights! I had to give up 99% of my belongings to move into a small travel trailer and I had a really hard time. The pieces I was fortunate enough to rehome to people that I know will cherish them as much as I did (stuff back to my great grandparents) helps a lot. Some I will see in their homes, others no. But it did my heart good to see how appreciated they would be.

  21. Ummmmm I so need for you to rub off on me!….And as an antiques dealer I know you’re right. With very few exceptions you will find something even better than THE chair (over and over again). But I am a natural hoarder. I have sellers regret about 25% of the time *sighs* I still obsess over the ONES that got away ten years ago!……So I find your post very inspirational!……..Maybe I’ll grow up too?……Probably not right away, but maybe someday *winks* Vanna

  22. I love that story, I know I have traded styles over the years from primitive, to victorian and really love my painted furniture. The things I have kept are family pieces but now as I am downsizing they have gone to my girls. So much fun to find new things! You are inspirational to me. Thanks and oh would I love 2 chairs with.those grainsacks okay one would make me very happy. Di

  23. What a marvelous post! Life is not about stuff, it’s about folks, and sharing our faith with them. If I had a book…which I don’t…. and if my very favorite chair was on the cover…which it isn’t….. I hope I would have the same maturity and graciousness as you to sell it to someone who loved it as much as I did. There are many lessons in your post, and many levels of development for us to learn from. Thanks for sharing. Vicki in KY

  24. I really love this post Marian! It really sums up the way I’ve grown to feel about the things in my life. Because yes, absolutely 100%, at the end of the day … it’s all just stuff! It’s only the people we hold dear to our hearts that really matter! … But if we remember that, it’s okay to surround ourselves with stuff that makes us smile too!

  25. Yup,…It’s stuff. And didn’t last weeks tragedy in Moore, Oklahoma help us see just how valuable our stuff is?

  26. Marian, thanks so very, very much for this inspirational post, which I really needed to hear . . . hope it rings over and over in my mind as I am beginning to downsize from 53 years of accumulating stuff. I may need to reread your post many times as I go through this process!
    God bless.

  27. As with so many of your commentors I have a hard time letting go of things I make to sell. I make them as I’d like them to be but then have hard time saying bye. Duh. You’re so right about letting go, I think I need to chant that to myself.
    After all we only have a small house, no room for any more. I need to thin out a few things as it is. Hubs is threatening to take several boxes stored in shed to thrift store, Oh no.
    Hope you’re having some fun this weekend.

  28. Great thoughts on parting with your SPECIAL chair. You are so right, about finding something else that is equally as special to fill that spot. you have to make room sometimes for those great finds and you have made someone so happy with the chair. I think it is so cool that she is willing to let you come visit it when needed. 🙂

    Have a great weekend.

  29. thanks for making my daughter-in-law, Kristi so happy! It’s truly the thrill of the hunt, for us collectors that keeps our blood pumping, as I knew when I found my first antique quilt at the Woman’s Exchange for $40.00 many, many years ago. I’m so glad that Kristi shares my love of the hunt and the creativity to make old, tired pieces of junk, look like shined up kids in tuxes by the time she’s finished with them. Can’t wait for her to come back to Florida and do my kitchen hutch to match the dry sink she did for me, over Christmas vacation! Clever Girl, that one!

    1. Aww shucks, Grandy. So sweet. Can’t wait to makeover your hutch. Wish I was coming home this summer to do it. And I wish I was there right now to hunt thru SAS’ s latest load of goodies. Sooo many cool pieces in right now.

  30. What a fabulous chair – I know what you mean about pieces that you really love but what better than to know it is going to someone who really loves it & will cherish it too … a new beginning & there is now a space to be filled! Very exciting!

  31. I feel the same way about things in my home, it’s the furniture rotation here as well! Once in awhile I feel a twinge about a piece I’ve sold in the past, but remind myself it’s just things and things can be replaced. On a totally different note, can you share with me the website of the artist that made your cow painting? I would like to mention her on my blog as well. I do not own one of her paintings yet (someday I will) but I’d like to share her art on my blog. You can email me at Thank you so much, Marian!

  32. Marian,
    That’s why I’m not a dealer. I could NEVER let go, especially if it was something I worked on. Kudos to you.
    Kathy Bailey

  33. There are always favorite pieces that are hard to let go of. I’m not always sure buyers/shoppers understand the time and care that goes into a restored piece of furniture. I’m amazed at the beautiful pieces I see for sale and the value represented. It’s hard to understand why anyone would ever shop in a new furniture store!
    Glad THE chair went to a good home!

  34. Hi Marian,
    Please email me regarding the bowl. I am very interested in it and would like to find out if you would like to send it unless you are headed to NC & I could meet you.

    Thank you!

  35. I love this post. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets attached to pieces of furniture. Things that belong to my Grandmother & Mother mean the most to me. The memories that go with them. Or an old mixer that my Gram used are some of my prize items.

  36. I love how you explained your reason,and so much truth in the details. I inherited many items,some are true family from one to the next,some are pieces my parents bought in their antiquing days…so have I been crazy in selling some of the items I have sold. I truly believe that in sharing these items,items that do not interest the next generations they are finding a home where they will be loved. I do try to tell the story of each item via my hang tag or personal conversations.

  37. I wish I could have bought the channel back chair! It’s gorgeous. I recently saw one in need of redoing at an online estate sale, and was tempted to buy it, but I’m sure my re-upholstery job would leave much to be desired.

  38. I was searching for tutorials on reupholstering wing back chairs and came across your website. It’s an answer to a prayer. I just purchased an identical wing back and your tutorial on slipcovers is perfect for me.

    On letting go of THE CHAIR…your heart is in the right place. Things are just things…some are a little more challenging to let go of but as yours was going to a “good home” it made the letting go easier.

    “Recycling” well made furniture from the past is so cathartic. You inspire me to begin a new venture in my life (at 65) that I dropped along the way.

    Keep the website and blog going…you are inspirational!

    God bless!

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