Selling Antiques in an 1880’s Barn

Hi, I’m Debbie Yancey Miller and I own a small antique/vintage store that is located in my barn built in the 1880’s.  Most people who stop in for the first time are as much impressed by the barn as what’s inside it.  Since I don’t want to change the aesthetics of the barn I haven’t put insulation on the inside or changed the windows or doors.  It’s weather tight but it sure is cold in the winter and I tell visitors to make sure and wear their coats and gloves when they come.  During the summer it is wonderful.  Barns seem to keep cooler than most other places for some reason.  Someday, I do want to put in new stairs to the upstairs.  I understand that the kids that lived here previously used to have their basketball practice up there in the winters.  However, for this old lady they are WAY to steep to keep anything up there and get it down again without sending it down the hay chute or chunking it out the door that leads to nowhere except my front lawn.  There are about 14 stairs that are about 12″ wide (I suppose the builders decided that a foot would fit on a foot?) and the steps are about 16″ tall.  I can do it with my hands and feet and then back down turned around but certainly can’t carry anything.  So, I use the top floor as my box depository.  I can bring up empty boxes one at a time and throw them out the window when I need them.

The main floor has three rooms, two huge front sliding doors and a back sliding door that overlooks a portion of the back yard.  I’ve screened that one and put a safety rail on it so no one falls out.  The entry room is where I have my counter and register and all my glassware with three cabinets full of miniatures.  Most of my artwork is hung on these walls.  There are only two small six-paned windows in there (one missing a pane of glass) so it, like the rest of the barn is dim.  My husband was nice enough to hang flourescent lighting everywhere.

There is a huge sliding door into the center portion that I leave open.  During the summer I keep the sliding doors to the outside open for light.  This is where my kitchy kitchen ware resides along with most furniture and my zillions of salt and pepper shakers.  Books are also in there so it’s cozy to sit on the sofa’s and check out the books.

Recycle Your Christmas Cards The Right Way

The rush seems to be over for the year so I have time to look out of my office window and see my antique/vintage shop “Aussie Magic Vintiques” getting buried in the snow.  With no heat in that building my advertisement states that I am open but that you need to wear a coat!  So, I’m sluffing around the house and decided to tackle my in-box.  At the top were my Christmas Cards.  I don’t send a Christmas letter but I do send answers to all of the letters received in the cards.  I also, for years, have been thinking that somewhere, someone could use these pretty sparkly things for their art projects.  After all morning going through sites that the search engine found under “recycle greeting cards”, I finally found one that was a recent posting (2011)  that seemed appropriate.  So, I’ve sent the cards off to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, Attn: Recycled Card Program, 100 St. Jude’s Street, P.O. Box 60100, Boulder City, NV 89006-0100.  It seems that most local schools, churches, homes in my area are not accepting them.  St. Jude’s Ranch for Children uses them in their program in which the kids reuse any greeting card to build entrepreneurship skills and sell them to raise money for the organization.  The children reuse the cards and make new cards from old, the purchasers are contributing to a good cause and both are “going green”.  Their instructions are 1) find eligible cards (not just Christmas) of any size and shape.  There must be no writing on the back of the frontispiece.  2) remove the backs of the cards, saving only the fronts, and put the backs into your newspaper recycle pile.  The fronts are to be mailed between November 15 to February 28 which allows you to start a collection for the following year.  Since I’m out in the sticks I just put them in a larger envelope, address it, weigh it, go to the USPS website to get the correct postage and walk it out to the box.  All done.  Mission accomplished.

As for the cards that I send to my friends and family, I only send cards made before 1960.  If they are used cards I sign them, put an “and” before the original signature such as Debbie and Mrs. Marble,  Keeps people wondering.  I get my cards from thrift shops, antique stores, auctions, garage sales, etc.  I collect them all year.  Of course, the ones that I think I can sell for a profit are taken out to the shop with big hopes of getting rich.  I’m still hoping but I’ve received several complements and thank yous for the unique cards.  I have been saving boxes of cards forever.  If you wish to see what I have, I’ll be glad to send pictures, descriptions and prices.

Happy Recycling!