Collections of Everything and Nothing

We have multiples of everything. Growing up, if couldn't find something in the house, like a nail clipper, my mom would tell me to go out and buy another one. It was more time efficient than looking, she said. My mother claimed to have learned this from my dad's mother who was famous in our family for shopping. It made sense at the time and I didn't question it. And I thought that's was what everyone did.

Twenty nail clippers later, I know that's not what other people do. As an adult I have realized that other people didn't live like us. They had organized shelving, they got rid of things they didn't need, and they didn't have multiple karaoke machines. I thought organization was keeping things in tidy piles that didn't bother anyone else. Shelving was a revelation I discovered in college. It was how my dorm mates kept clean. Amazing! An aspiring organizer friend once told me that organizational habits do not pertain to any particular class, region, race, or gender. People of all walks of life can lack organization skills and live like crazy pack rats. True dat. Poor people can be tidy, rich people can be crazy messes and everyone can be everything in between. I used to think that my mom used to keep so much crap because she grew up poor, but I've been told by relatives that they grew up quite comfortable in Taiwan. Then why all the stuff? I guess people keep stuff for all kinds of reasons.

As I go through the Garage, I keep finding multiples. Seeing the same things over and over again I can see a pattern, a method to the madness. I used to find it irritating that my mom would keep ten of the same Casual Corner overpadded business blazer in multiple sizes and colors, but only wear one. But now that time has passed, I find the situation absurd and slightly hilarious on good days. On bad days I wonder how I'm still in this mess. Most people can't fathom how I've inherited 10+ houndstooth suits or washed silk button down shirts. Or all those nail clippers.

Here are a few collections, aka things I have multiples of. I'll post more as I find them.

Collection 1: Ladies Houndstooth Suits

I love that the suit on the right is made by Sterling Cooper, Don Draper's ad agency in Mad Men. I like to imagine that after the agency folded in the 70s, they were picked up by mall chain Casual Corner for a dime. 

Collection 2: Change

I'm always finding stashes of change, in small change purses, shoeboxes, tea tins like the ones below or in plastic bags all over the house. I'm trying to consolidate now. 

My parents' never knew about Coinstar. I went to my first Coinstar a few years ago with change found throughout house and cashed out at around $160! 

The collection below is totally pre-Euro! Deustchmarks, Francs, Japanese Yen, Lira, Taiwan NT, arcade tokens... No cash value! The arcade token says "buy a vintage 80s video game" and has Ronald Reagan's face on the other side.  

Collection 3: Chinese Take-Out Containers

This collection is definitely due to the O.C.D. of my late grandfather. After he died I'd find plastic bags of Whole Foods napkins and styrofoam. He kept them in tidy bundles. 

The cardboard pieces are what Chinese restaurants use to stack take-out boxes inside slippery plastic bags. I had more tin foil before but I threw it out a while back. Whew. 

Do you have collections of anything? Especially anything crazy? Buttons, matchbooks, safety pins? I'd love to know and send me your photos. Would make me feel better.

Christmas Prezzies in May

It might be the middle of May but it was Christmas in the Garage today. I found three wrapped gifts! You could say it’s Christmas in the garage everyday since I never know what awaits me. But I was especially excited that they were in Christmas paper. It was a good excuse to start singing "All I Want For Christmas" by Mariah Carey, my number one karaoke song.

What treasures lay inside? I tore open the snowflake seal of gift number one:

The Dior fragrance collection, circa 1988! This set includes Poison, Dune, Miss Dior, and Tendre Poison-- the French, more sensual Poison perhaps. Such cute little bottles. I should have a tiny vanity, tiny hairbrush, and tiny mirror to go with these. It would be great set up if I were the size of an American Girl doll. 

Gift number two has a note in printed Chinese. It probably says, “Thank you for opening your account at Cathay Bank,” from the looks of the unremarkable Parker pen.

Number three was tall and heavy, so it felt expensive! I had hoped for too much. It was drugstore Brut cologne, pour homme. Could have used some Drakkar Noir instead. Roar!

Thank you Infinite Garage for the mid-year Christmas fun!


Chiang Kai-Shek era fashion


You need this Giant Chiang Kai-Shek Coin Paperweight

Just got back from Taiwan, visiting relatives, gorging on street food and such. We have a lot of Taiwan-Chinese crap at home so it's not surprising to find this giant Chiang Kai-Shek paperweight. Chiang Kai-Shek is known to be the founder of the Nationalist party and former ruler (dictator?) of Taiwan, who basically declared that Taiwan was the real deal Republic of China once Mao kicked his regime out of mainland.

Whether you think Taiwan is a real country or just a stray appendage of China (not getting into fiery debates here) you can't ignore the blingyness of this badass coin.

The rest 'o Texas

I've been swept up into a whirlwind of traveling in the past two months. This will be the only hiatus from the Garage until I finish getting rid of everything.

Back in Texas, I said I'd go through my aunt's similar items. Instead we spent the week exploring south Texas, rattlesnake racing, karaoke slinging, and taking in the beachy scenery. I did get to spend an evening trying on clothes and trinkets at my aunt's and ended up dragging a bunch of crazy jumpsuits back to California.

After a few hours of dress up, I asked my aunt if she could put on some music for our fashion show. Lo and behold she had plugged in a clock radio in her closet so she could not only have music but always know what time it was if she was lost in her walk-in. Genuis!
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