By Carleton Varney- Special to the Palm Beach Daily News
I grew up in Boston during an era when winter woes were a fact of life, so spring-cleaning days remain memorable to me. Away went the winter fur throws and the bed quilts to be cleaned and carefully stored so that they might re-emerge after the last days of summer. My grandmother wanted nothing to do with velvets and damasks when April and May came along.
Those were the days when rugs were taken off the floor to be hung outdoors and given a thorough beating to rid them of dust. Out came summer slipcovers for the parlor furniture. And my grandmother always took down the parlor draperies, which were placed in curtain bags for the warm season. The windows could then be opened to bring in the cool breezes. Those days were before air conditioning took over our lives.
Today, spring cleaning may mean less than it did in the 1940's and 50's, but here in the Palm Beaches, I always think of spring cleaning as a perfect time to pare down. Less can sometimes be more in our homes. So why not go through your rooms and closets and find all those good things you can take to a consignment store for resale?
I love to shop at The Church Mouse, 378 S. County Road, during the season. I like the fact that proceeds from the shop benefit charitable programs run by The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea. And I always find a few discards that can be very handsome and useful in our design and decorating projects.
So many items can be easily updated in a seasonal apartment or a home, simply by replacing the upholstery or refinishing the wood. You'll find upholstered headboards, lounge chairs, dining tables, lamps and fanciful glassware- amid the gowns by Givenchy or Yves St. Laurent and all the wonderful costume jewelry. Better hurry, though. At noon on June 23, the store will be closed for the summer.
Across the bridge in West Palm Beach, the Nearly New Shop also is a great place to browse. The shop, 3611 S. Dixie Highway, has two floors with some exciting furnishings that once had homes elsewhere. Nearly New is also a charity-oriented shop- with proceeds benefiting MorseLife Health System- and positioned on Antique Row in the heart of the action. After I've shopped there, I often head next door to James & Jeffrey, one of the finest antique emporiums on the Row.
Now I know that so many of us collect far too many pretty things in life. I certainly do, and I know that I shall never stop. I love to enliven a room with newfound accessories. There are always new things to enjoy.
But that doesn't mean the old ones have to go into a closet.
With spring cleaning upon us, why not simply take stock of what you have that you really don't need and drop off the goodies?
Others will surely enjoy them, to which customers at The Church Mouse or the Nearly New Shop can attest.