Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Ways to Sort Your Ancient Clutter

Are you still waiting for your collectibles to return? Remove the dust and modify your antiques collection – your wardrobe will thank you

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Whether it’s Great Aunt Muriel’s collection of chipped teapots or that taxidermized porcupine in the garage, what to do with “ancient clutter” can be a real puzzle.


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But don’t worry, dealing with your collectibles is easier than you might think.

To start? “Take them out of the box and enjoy them,” advises Craig Ruttle, co-owner of Antique Alley, located on historic Front Street in New Westminster.

If you’re not able to use an item, Ruttle adds, someone else will.

Antiques don’t just have sentimental value – knick-knacks and knick-knacks can add to your vacation fund, if paired with the right buyer. And in Vancouver’s fashionable film industry, period pieces can find new life on screen.

Ruttle and his wife have seen many trends come and go over the past 30 years, with growing appetites for different collectibles. For example, old records and photographic equipment are in great demand now, whereas a few years ago they were difficult to move. The same goes for kitchen appliances and vintage lighting.


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At the same time, once prized items like blue porcelain, carnival glass, porcelain figurines and silverware are no longer in high demand.

“It’s a generational affair,” observes Hugh Bulmer of Maynards Auctions in Richmond. “The times have changed.”

That said, there are always surprises. For example, a 12-inch bronze statue from an antique store in Victoria turned out to be worth a little more than the $ 70 the seller had previously offered, Bulmer says. It turned out to be a 16th-century Italian sculpture depicting two Bacchantes – or disciples of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. The find fetched $ 95,000 at auction.

And while these cases are rare, it’s certainly worth taking a look at what you’ve stored in attics, garages, and storage lockers.


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“You just might have a ‘sleeper’ in the closet,” says Bulmer, who has worked with antiques for 40 years and also participated in the Antiquities Roadshow.

“There are still things out there,” Bulmer says. “They are harder and harder to find, but we always find them. “

Inspired to start clearing your clutter?

Here are three easy steps to help you hunt for treasure – or at the very least, free up some popular storage space.

Antiques can fetch a good price when paired with the right buyer. GETTY IMAGES

To sell

That soft porcelain that lives in layers of newspaper, locked in a box in the basement? The costume jewelry that you never wear? Your grandmother’s mink stole smiling at you in the back of the closet?

There are many ways to turn your collectibles into cash.

Online marketplaces allow you to access niche buyers around the world, while local listings can lower shipping costs and offer faster turnaround times. Local antique shops are also helpful resources, and some even offer door-to-door pickup services. And, if you think you own something rare or of great value, ask for a professional appraisal before deciding to sell.


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Donate again and reuse

Antiques and older items are unique and loaded with meaning, a great way to give green gifts and save money.

Another option?

Be smart and turn your old stuff into something new. Sometimes all it takes to revive an object, like a dining table or chair, is a coat of paint. Look for inspiration online on Etsy or Pinterest. For example, old silver spoons can become custom hooks with a bit of molding, while an old porcelain mug can be made into a charming bird feeder.


Once you’ve altered your antiques, make a commitment to keeping the dust away. Make sure to listen to those old records creating a space to enjoy them, then ride Elvis and Aretha and invite your friends over.

Frame old photographs and hang them or scan them with a photo book, and if you can, educate yourself on what to include in the caption.

Arrange precious trinkets like hunting decoys and vintage typewriters on open shelves – mix things up and have fun! – but remember, less is more. And when it comes to antiques, the best way to give them new life is to enjoy them every day.

The story was created by Content Works, the commercial content division of Postmedia.


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