It was about a month ago when I wrote that the Staunton Antiques Center was joining the wave of temporary business closures in downtown Staunton and across the state (and the country) due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. But it seems like years ago — boy do I miss it, even if I support the reasons for temporarily shuttering.
And it was about two weeks ago that I wrote about how important it is to me that the many “micro-businesses” within my business — The Staunton Antiques Center — are supported during this time. That’s why we’re doing two “Items of the Day” on our Facebook page. This helps you to not only see the range of our content, but also to purchase items you see through curbside pickup.
I wanted to also figure out how to help you, our customers, to simply enjoy that antique and vintage feeling that is in the very blood of anyone who shops this way. You love nostalgia. You love preserving the old stuff out there, marveling at it, learning about it, showing it off.
So just for kicks today I thought I’d give you three quick ideas for keeping that vintage and antique spirit alive. This is more about fun than about buying — though of course I continue to hope you’ll follow our Items of the Day to help support our vendors.
#1 Organize Your Old Family Photos
Probably the #1 item on almost everyone’s must do (but never done) list is organizing the old family photos. But all of the sudden many of us have way more time on our hands what with no commutes, more online ordering, eating at home, and essentially going almost no where except a good walk.
So take the plunge of pulling down the attic cord, or trundling down to the basement, or digging into the back of that cluttered closet and get those photos out.
Whether you’ve got the sepia-toned photo stash that leads back to the 19th or early 20th centuries with the Gibson Girl hairdos and the large school class shots in their nice black and whites, or simply have an abundance of Polaroid shots from the 1970s with Uncle Joe in leisure suits and Auntie June in Diane Von Furstenburg dresses, these things are family treasures either way! They’re history and narrative and memories and such valuable resources.
Come up with a way to organize them initially, like a shoe box for each decade for example, and then decide how you’re going to present them. You could order old school photo albums (maybe even finding vintage ones on Etsy or Ebay), or simply make a file out of those shoe boxes, or contract one of those digital companies to get them all onto a disc to share with family and friends for the holidays.
But if ever there was a time for “no more excuses” on getting family photos done up right, it’s now. You’ll be glad you used this time wisely to finish up a project that’s worthy of the generations!
Cheat idea? We sell lots of old photographs if you need “instant ancestors!”
#2 Draw Up A “Best Of” 20th Century Film Festival and Watch ‘Em
Here’s a refrain after my heart: So many movies, such little time!
Well now with nothing but time on many of our hands, and an abundance of online resources at our disposal (or for many of us, far too many DVDs that we bought), it’s the perfect moment to draw up lists, lots of lists, and in those lists come up with fun ways to see you favorite movies or those ones that you haven’t yet gotten to see.
Everyone in the family can get their own festival with five picks. Then they get five nights to show their festival selection. That means being fair to everyone. So if Grandpa wants war movies and Grandma wants Jane Austen stories, and dad wants sports stories and mom wants travel, then please accept that Junior wants superhero movies and your darling daughter wants everyone to put on their specs to read subtitles from her foreign film passion.
Only rule? They all have to be pre 1980 movies. Bonus points for pre-1950. Make a bingo game out of directors and actors and composers or Oscar nods and wins. It’s a great way to have fun with the whole family and to remember that there was a time before the internet, before cell phones, before technicolor even! And those times had plenty of vintage fun built in! And talk about fodder for breakfast conversation for days to come. It’s a win-win!
Cheat idea? See the American Film Institute’s Best of the 20th Century list for ideas.
#3 Spring Clean With “New to You” In Mind
With a lot of time to spend in your home, all of the sudden you might be looking around and wondering, “Do I really need all this stuff?”
If the answer is no, it might be time to strategize about how to get rid of what you no longer want (keeping in mind that after this is over shops like mine may want to buy or consign vintage and antique items).
You also might be thinking that it’s time for an upgrade of certain furnishings, home accessories, textiles, or art and that you want to lend gravitas to your interior decor by purchasing vintage and antique items going forward (they’re greener AND have more history).
So dig in to the fine art of spring cleaning plus – that is, not just chasing away the dust bunnies and emptying out the junk drawers. But rather, taking a room-by-room assessment of what you’ve got, what you no longer want, and what you’d like instead.
Maybe you’re ready to bring on some Mid Century Modern pieces for your living or dining room. Or perhaps you want a classic touch a la Colonial Williamsburg in the form of a grand secretary desk, formal couch, tea set, or a silver setting? Or maybe you favor oak pieces in Mission styles, Victorian, or Arts & Crafts.
The key is to assess what you have, decide what no longer works, and figure out how to gift, donate, or sell what needs to go, and your budget for finding that old but “new to you” piece.
This exercise can go along way to giving a sense of hope to “the time after” as you plan for what’s next in your life. And we’re here to help — you can always call or contact us by Facebook to see if we have the kind of piece you’re looking for now. And curbside pickup makes it possible to still shop while in the shutdown. Or make an appointment with me for a specific need.
Until We Meet Again
In the meantime, stay safe and healthy, hold your loved ones near, keep your friends six feet apart but close to your heart, Zoom or Facetime with people to stay connected, and find how to keep your nostalgic antique and vintage passion alive in whatever way works for you.
— Ellen Boden, Proprietress, Staunton Antiques Center