Let’s start the year out right – giant antique card catalog.
I like my New Year’s resolutions to avoid any whiff of self-evaluation. I am already the best at what I do: irritable, controlling, whimsical, hoarding, weird grammatical choices… there is no room for improvement.
As validation that I am doing life extra right, the universe has sent me yet another giant piece of furniture that I do not need… practically for free.
Paul and I were both home… We had an out-of-town event and were planning to leave around noon.
By 11 o’clock, I still hadn’t taken a shower. Or packed. Or generally done any of the things I needed to; but because there is never a time when procrastination is not appropriate, I decided I should look on craigslist.
And? This is why you always, always, always, always check craigslist.
No. Matter. What.
I already said this in the Victorian Wardrobe post but it bears repeating:
When there is something on Craigslist that you really want, and it is listed for a ridiculously low price, you must contact them correctly.
To stand out from the 400 emails the seller is going to get, you must be the one person who requires nothing. You must be a beacon of simplicity and straightforwardness:
I want that.
I can come anytime.
I can move it myself.
I don’t need your help.
Here is my phone number.
My social security number.
My bank account number.
Then I went and said to Paul– small detour ahead.
Paul said – you know, we need to leave pretty soon.
And I was like – yes. I know. THIS IS WHY I NEED A CREW.
He looked at the pictures and said – I thought you didn’t like oak?
I said – true. I do not like oak. However? For $50? I REALLY LIKE OAK.
It was not even 10 minutes away— in the loading dock of an office park.
It’s not in perfect shape, but for $50? It’s in FANTASTIC condition.
In the craigslist photos, I could kind of see that something was off about the stacking… if you look above, you can see that there is a thin, chipped board sticking out; but it turned out to be no big deal– at some point they had split up the sections and made a makeshift top.
It’s missing two strips of the decorative molding… one of which we found in a drawer. We’ll hold off on reattaching it until we figure out what side needs to be the “good” side.
This post has been sitting, (unfinished) for over a month now…
I have tried to end it a couple of ways: speculating on what I might use a 55 drawer card catalog for. Gibberish about repurposing it for the kitchen. Trying to think of new and ridiculous ways to stage it.
But what does it really matter? I’ve acquired it, it is awesome, eventually its purpose will be revealed.
It will serve no purpose, and it will just take up a giant chunk of space and become yet another unusable area of the house.
Based on my research conducted over the last weeks, this is the likely outcome.
I’ve moved it from room to room to room to room to room… stood back and thought – that does not look right… then after a few days, I start stacking other unused furniture bits on top.
If I reach the ceiling, I win some kind of disorganized/hoarding prize.
see all my favorite Craigslist finds
January 6, 2015 @ 11:53 am
Oh look! There’s a beautiful on, on CL, for a mere $825. It’s in West Chester PA.
I think you got a deal. Good job.
January 6, 2015 @ 11:56 am
Hate to say, I would have let this one sit…. At the loading dock until it found another home…or something.
January 6, 2015 @ 11:59 am
I need to move, our Craigslist never has this kind of cool stuff. It’s just couches and lazy boys and used tires….. sigh.
January 6, 2015 @ 12:03 pm
You witch! That was MINE! If you hadn’t stolen it from me I would have lopped it in half horizontally, placed the pieces side by side and gotten Paul (I mean my husband, after softshoeing my way around his nonsense Scientist talk about how I believe the laws of physics don’t apply to me) and reminding him, as you do, that HE married me, even after knowing me five years) to make a lovely top for it. Ooh- I’m envisioning it painted Farrow and Ball’s French Gray with an old slab of travertine on top. I bet you have one in your garage, on top of Jimmy Hoffa.
It would replace the console in my foyer that has not ONE crap-hiding drawer, and serve as a corral for all the tiny treasures my little hoardlings bring in the door. (Their Dad’s genes.) I admire the collector’s zeal, but somebody’s gotta keep a fire lane clear. If an object sits still too long in my house, I hide it until my family no longer remembers its existence, then Bilbo it. Bilbo Baggins was a fox terrier my parents had when they first married. My father hated Bilbo, because he was an excitable sort who peed from sheer joy every time anyone walked in the house. One day, Baggins went missing. Many years after my parents’ divorce (you didn’t see that coming, did you?) Dad admitted that Bilbo may have been lost accidentally on purpose but came to no harm. Like my husband’s holy socks or madras shorts from high school have unforeseen accidents when he’s at a conference, or my daughter’s pockets full of acorns get Bilboed. In my defense, my son once started a CEREAL box collection. I must have some recourse against the hoard. Can’t wait to see what you do with my card catalog.
PS: Paul seems to have quite the panty-throwing fan base out there. And he does make for good copy. But I sympathize with YOU. When your husband is a level-headed, highly intelligent, competent, handsome, reasonable fellow, it just makes those of us who make the MAGIC happen look like loons by comparison. Love your work. Write a book already, would you?
January 6, 2015 @ 3:39 pm
This comment makes crystal clear what I always felt when commenters would opine that Virginia Elizabeth was being too harsh or hard on Paul whereas it was so obvious that she loves him to distraction and he likewise. Did these people not see their Wedding video? I never saw two people so at ease and in love in my life. I am so glad this comment was posted. Thanks Jessica,VEB has such smart fans…Pleasure to read the comments.
January 6, 2015 @ 6:22 pm
What you said.
January 7, 2015 @ 3:43 am
Virginia? That took me a minute lol.
January 6, 2015 @ 12:03 pm
This would be perfect for my husband’s collection of washers, nails, screws, etc. And it’s FURNITURE : ) Wonderful find.
January 6, 2015 @ 12:05 pm
Some research done for you!! 🙂 I have a Pinterest board all about styling card catalog (and wannabe) cabinets:
As far as what to put in it, other unusable relics from yesterday: VHS tapes, CDs, etc. Putting that stuff in it would keep the whole theme going. LOL. Surely you must have *some* craft supplies?!
January 6, 2015 @ 12:11 pm
I am a library specialist. Sadly, all of our card catalogs were sold off before I joined the team. It is my understanding that each drawer will perfectly fit a bottle of wine. 🙂
January 6, 2015 @ 12:12 pm
I approve your wise purchase. What a steal. There can never be too many hidey holes available. Something about a box or a drawer and I’m sold. I have a very small spice box that has 8 drawers and I’ve managed to hoard bulk spices for a decade in them I never use. Also I fill up drawers and boxes with things I forget I have. However, I can’t get rid of them as they are good things I may one day actually use…… I’m surprised that Paul didn’t realize what a great spot for organizing small hardware, nails, screws, etc. Art supplies, bulk spices. Endless opportunities
January 6, 2015 @ 12:19 pm
You are the wonderful Craigslist queen. I would love a library catalog chest like this to fill with other hoarding items. Happy New Year.
January 6, 2015 @ 12:24 pm
Hello- it’s perfect for storing bottles of wine!
January 6, 2015 @ 12:28 pm
If this was mine -it would be a jewelry box, with labels!
January 6, 2015 @ 12:31 pm
I just got shopping endorphins from this post. Love your new treasure! And its purpose is unnecessary; it is wonderful because it IS.
January 6, 2015 @ 12:31 pm
how many rooms do you HAVE in your house?! that you found an empty corner to place this in is, by southern california standards, a miracle. historic houses out here that are single family dwellings, they’re 600-900 square feet. well, unless you’re super rich and buying houses in the $1+ million range. i thought for sure the struggle to follow in this post was the where-to-put-it bit. since that part was effortless, you don’t NEED a reason for owning that gorgeous card catalogue! i, on the other hand, would have to make it useful to justify it taking up one of only about 8 spots in my house that can hold a piece of furniture.
Bridget from Refined Vintage
January 6, 2015 @ 12:34 pm
It’s a great piece, and I am sure that it’s useful purpose will be revealed in due time. But just in case, I would use it as a jewelry cabinet. For all that glitters… such as baubles, bangles and sparkly bling? Small little drawers would hold all your favorite pieces.
January 6, 2015 @ 12:38 pm
One of my daughters and I longed for a card catalog, which we planned to use as a card catalog. The grammar school I had attended was being torn down and there was an auction planned. I really had my eye on the auditorium windows, but I’d have been thrilled to get a card catalog. The auction was planned for September 11, 2001. It was never held and I suppose everything just plowed under.
January 6, 2015 @ 12:46 pm
I once saw a vintage card catalog case used as wine storage – each drawer is perfect for one bottle of wine.
January 6, 2015 @ 12:57 pm
OMG!!! What an amazing find!!! That thing would’ve been great no matter what price, but 50.00??? So jealous, my craigslist never seems to have good stuff like this!!
January 6, 2015 @ 12:59 pm
My envy at this moment knows no bounds.
I think you are correct – where/how you use it is utterly immaterial. You got a huge, awesome antique card catalog for $50!! I really want to live in your universe…
January 6, 2015 @ 1:06 pm
I must confess, I clicked over to troll craigslist IN THE MIDDLE OF READING this post. It is a shameful addiction that I cannot and am entirely unwilling to kick. I use my antique card catalog as a liquor and spirits cabinet, although mine is only 2×5 feet. Congrats on the find! My own shiny-obsessed brain raccoon is jealous (his name is Sprinkles Von Muffin and my husband hates him).
January 6, 2015 @ 1:49 pm
i know exactly what i wd do w/this. fill it w/all those recipe cards i accumulate. and in the bottom half cooking accessories (like those attachments for cake decorating or my cookie press etc) enjoy yr find and happy ny