Vintage Feature – My 5-Step Plan to Sort, Organize & Let Go

Southern Vintage Table has now been in business for about a year and a half but I have been collecting vintage things for almost two. As I reflect on these past two years, I can hardly believe how much I have learned! When I started this company I knew almost nothing about vintage anything. Really. I don’t think I even knew the name of one china pattern and I can’t remember ever ironing a napkin or polishing anything silver. As I gleefully embraced my new-found enterprise, I collected in a frenzy. I probably went hunting at least 5 days a week and, as you can imagine, have amassed quite a collection for our rental business.

Now, however, as hard as I know it will be,  it’s time to sort, organize and let go of a few things. As I begin this arduous task, I have come up with a plan – as my friend, Mary would say – and here it is in 5 steps!


Step 1: Pull out my least favorite china patterns.
The operative phrase here is “least favorite” because frankly, I haven’t seen a pattern I haven’t liked.  But there are a few in our collection that kinda disappear on the table. Admittedly, these were some of the first pieces I picked up and if I were to find them today, I don’t think they would become part of our inventory.

 Step 2: Reduce the numbers of the same pattern.  
When I first started my collection, I couldn’t help myself – if I came upon 20 plates in one pattern, I’d buy every one. Today I am a bit more savvy and, if it’s a new pattern, I’ll buy no more than 5. With our philosophy, “a little of a lot”, I want to have lots of many different patterns rather than multiples of the same. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule; I have a few patterns that are just extraordinarily beautiful and I cherish each and every plate in that same pattern.

Step 3: Coordinate a visit to a reseller.   
Fortunately, I live close to a huge china reseller and can easily sell my extras to them.  The trick is to find out what they are buying and that’s pretty easy. I called and asked for a quote in the patterns I wanted to sell.  They sent me one via email and now I know their offer and what to pack up.  I made an appointment and I’m headed there next week.

Step 4: Sell via a yard sale or Craigslist.
I’m still working on the details of this but I’m considering joining a parking lot sale a local antique business is sponsoring. For $25, you get 4 spaces to sell your wares. Sounds pretty easy. But then again, I may just skip this step and go straight to Step 5.

Step 5: Donate to a local thrift store.
The only hard part to this step is deciding which one. We have many in our area that support a host of different causes and that’s a good problem to have!  I think most of my things are headed to a no-kill animal shelter re-sale store, one of my favorite places to find things for Southern Vintage Table.

With my plan in place, I am now at step 3. By next weekend, hopefully I will have reduced our inventory to our best offerings, ready for your next event! Of course, letting go also means more room for the new, like this vintage cake plate I picked up this week. Don’t you love the manufacturer’s mark on the back?

~ On a side note, the graphics for this post were created using one of my favorite iPad apps, Camera360 (thank you, Caitlin, for sharing!) and BorderFX, a free plug-in for Apple’s Aperture.  I had fun creating them!

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Southern Vintage Table Vintage China Rental NC



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