The New Year is a Rooster

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I am on hand to herald in the day,

and to announce its exit.

I thrive by clockwork and precision.

In my unending quest for perfection

all things will be restored to their rightful place.

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This little ceramic holder and measuring spoon set could once be found in a Dime Store.  My mother remembers the Dime Stores well, and I do too.  There was one in Dinkytown where I grew up. Items of all sorts of convenience and household decoration could be found and very low prices.  Today we have the Dollar Store.  Dime Store items can still be found at a sale, though very few people probably remember the Dime Stores of yesteryear.

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Don’t let this image scare you.  Kovels’ listed 8 types of collectors in the February issue of their newsletter:

Memorabilia collectors usually want things they remember from their childhood years.

“Squirrels” describe the people who search for the best sources and buy a variety of stuff for later.  They may become serious collectors and maybe eventually later they become dealers and prune their collections.

“In the genes” are the collectors who buy for special collections for display and usually inherit their collecting habits from their parents or other family members.

“Historians”  stay focused on time and period

Decorators style their homes from magazines and the homes of famous people.  They search for less expensive look a-likes or the real thing when they’re lucky.

“Social Climbers”  search for family heirlooms.

The secretive collector looks for ways to hide money from tax collectors and ex-spouses by investing in antiques and such that can be sold later.

Then then there’s the unfortunate hoarder who just can’t part with anything.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading about hoarders lately because I have thoughts of going into the business of cleaning out houses.  It can be extremely expensive to clean out a hoarder house and often the workers wear hazmat suits to do so when there’s one that is really messy.  I used to believe that to deal with a hoarder is to get them out of the house for a period of time while a crew went in to clean it out.  I’ve learned that can be the worst thing to do to a hoarder.  They are very attached to their stuff and just taking it away like that would be like ripping their  hearts out.  It’s very delicate work and takes a long time.  If done the way I used to believe, the hoarder just hoards all over again.

The Collyer brothers of New York were the first to be acknowledged as hoarders.  They were wealthy lawyers and lived in the Bronx family mansion during the 1940’s.  Andy Warhol was known to be a hoarder and Sothby’s auction house made millions on his collections.  A film was made of Jackie Kennedy’s cousins. “Grey Gardens”  who lived in a mansion in the elite East Hampton and were eventually raided by the health department.  These three famous hoarders were all from wealthy families.

Another myth about hoarders is that they came from survivors of the Great Depression and learned to save everything.  Again not true.  Hoarders are often from the wealthy and have somehow become disconnected with people and became connected to things.  Out of the 3 hoarders mentioned above, Andy’s collections was the only one that profited.  I used to believe that people kept all that stuff because they thought they had a gold mine in their homes but after the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to clean out a hoarder house there really is no profit.  About $2000 worth of stuff that could be sold was found in the Collyer brother’s home.

So, if you have any fears of becoming a hoarder maybe you’re not  beyond a bit of self-help.  It’s good to enjoy what life offers while still alive and that includes collections as well as just having nice things you like.  However, sometimes it’s good to prune your attachments and pass them onto another custodian to enjoy.  Lately I have sold a number of my favorite things with that thought in mind and have gained a bit of money to buy more.  The World Wide Web offers lots of opportunities to become hobby buyers and sellers so the joy of going to Estate Sales and Yard Sales can continue well throughout our lives.

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MAY YOU ALL HAVE A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR

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