PIERSON, Iowa | As a little girl, Vicki Hogeland was always dazzled by the shiny two-for-50-cents displays she'd see inside dime stores.
Whether they were salt-and-pepper shakers, juicers or random knick-knacks, she admitted to be intrigued.
"As soon as I saw something, I knew I had to have it," Hogeland said. "I've been a collector ever since I was a kid."
Indeed, much of the rural Woodbury County home she shares with husband Wes is devoted to collectibles.
Walking into her kitchen, your eyes immediately go to the vintage gadgets and utensils hung as decorations. Venturing into her dining room, you'll note Hogeland's carefully curated collections of Frankoma pottery as well as hundreds of festive salt-and-pepper shakers she keeps in a glass display case picked up at Sioux City's former Dean Drug.
"I love this case," Hogeland said with a smile. "It probably once displayed hair dryers or men's razors, but now it's home to my shakers."
Going into Hogeland's living room, you'll see art in addition to autographed books from predominately Iowa authors.
"I've always loved reading," the University of Northern Iowa graduate said while thumbing through a signed copy of Nancy Price's "Sleeping with the Enemy." "So, books are a great thing to collect."
However, Hogeland's most personal room doesn't contain things that she has purchased. Instead, it's made of items given to her by family members.
"This is my 1920s room," she said, showing off a first-floor bedroom. "I call it that because it contains the actual bed and dresser my grandparents had back in the '20s."
Not only that, the room also contains a grooming set her grandmother received as a high school graduation gift, the luggage her mom used as a Morningside College commuter student and, even, children's clothing that Hogeland, herself, had worn.
"I don't consider myself a true collector because they tend to collect things of great value," she explained, patting down a quilt that read "To Vicki, from Grandma Nafe, July 1956." "I only collect things that matter to me."
Hogeland admitted that collecting vintage items sometimes put her at odds with family members who grew up during the Great Depression or World War II.
"When you personally experienced financial hardships or went through rationing like a lot of people did during the war, you put greater value on new things, not old things," she said. "For myself, I prefer the things that have a story to them."
Hogeland said she may have gotten the collecting bug from her mom, Dorothy Nafe, a thrift store aficionado, and her late dad, Dale Nafe, who collected vintage cars and machinery.
Hogeland's husband, however, isn't really a fan of the woolen bed cover that she had received as a college gift.
"Wes hates the bedspread because he thinks it's too hot and heavy," she said. "But it still brings good memories back for me."
Heading back into her kitchen, Hogeland pointed out pieces of Roseville in addition to her festively colored LuRay Pastels dinnerware before heading back to even more salt-and-pepper shakers.
"I like collecting salt-and-pepper shakers because they serve an actual purpose," she said, showing off miniature china pieces shaped like angels, bunnies and, even, cobs of corn. "They may be pretty to look at but you can actually use 'em."
Surveying her well-maintained house filled with collectibles, Hogeland had some advice for people hoping to invest in vintage finds.
"Collect what you like, not what you think will bring in the most money," she advised. "Also, try to learn about the history behind your pieces because half of the fun comes from the stories."
This is certainly true for many of Hogeland's unique items, which include an old chamber pot and transom window that she uses as bedroom art pieces or the department store mannequin she picked up from a friend.
"There's still a lot of life in vintage items," she said, smiling. "You just need a little imagination in order to make them seem new again."