Friday, November 25, 2011

A Cautionary Sale!

My, oh, my. It was interesting, I bought a few things, and when I left this morning’s sale I wanted to get home as fast as I could to a) take a shower and b) start decluttering my house!

The Craigslist ad did not lie. One couple’s accumulation of Stuff had been carted to a 7000 square foot building in order to have this sale. From what I heard, having it at the house would have been impossible for several reasons. (One was the mice. Ig. Didn’t hear that till I’d been looking around for some time!) This building apparently is used mostly for weddings and other large gatherings. I got there about 20 minutes after the sale started, and was a little surprised that the parking lot wasn’t full nor were there lots of cars turning in. Guess most folks were battling each other for bargains at the malls.

I started looking around. The twinkling strings of lights are probably wonderful for a wedding, but they were hell on my eyes trying to discern what I was looking at.


The stage was amazing – a whole scene is painted up there. That full moon over the mountaintop is a light fixture. I actually took a couple of things over to it in an attempt to make out details.


After a while I began to adjust to the gloom. One of the first tables I came to had old games. Thought these were kind of amusing.

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Aren’t those kids a riot? Looks like they just grabbed three kids and said, “Here, pretend you’re playing this game.” And doesn’t ‘Dig’ sound like fun. Actually, I looked inside the box of that one, but pieces seemed to be missing so I passed on it.

Actually, I passed on a number of things. Well, thousands actually given what was there. A couple of our friends recently bought a fabbo motor home and we know it needs a clock, so I was a little tempted to give them this one.

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D & D, you had a narrow escape! I know you want to listen to 12 different tunes coming from the wall as you drive around!

This made my wordsmith’s teeth grind together. Helllloooo…if something is unique, there is ONLY ONE.


I thought putting a first aid kit into a cardboard box was a little odd. Then I realized it was a CLEANING first aid kid. These people must have a different relationship with their carpets than I do.


Of all the thousands (I am not kidding) of items, it seemed like a third of them were owls. They were everywhere in every conceivable material and form. I will probably be chased by owls in my dreams tonight.


Close to the table of games I spotted these.

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They struck me as something that might resell, given the popularity of midcentury stuff, but had no price. A guy came by with a roll of masking tape and gave me an acceptable price for them, and we chatted for a few moments. He shook his head as he looked around and said, “Yep, this all belonged to one woman. She’s 77 and just moved to a smaller place. Kicking and screaming all the way.”

My soft heart went into overdrive. Ohhhh, poor old thing, I thought, how sad for her. But as I looked through all the tables of stuff, my sympathy somehow started fading. There was something about it all…well, it was mostly just junk. Perhaps I’m overly pragmatic, feeling that the things in our homes should be useful (or beautiful!) . I certainly have plenty of stuff that I have acquired just because I like to look at it. But maybe that’s the key, because I do look at my stuff and enjoy it and if it stops making me feel happy I move it along so someone else might enjoy. A bit later I fell into conversation with one of the women helping with the sale, and got more of the story. She repeated what the guy had said about it all coming out of one house, and I said it must have been a big place. She nodded. “Great big house in West Salem, up on the hill. You wouldn’t have believed it. Every room was packed from the ceiling to the floor. And there were rooms where something had fallen down and blocked the door so you couldn’t even get in. All this stuff, and mice.” (This was the point when a shower started sounding good.) “Mice, and cats. And cars in the yard. They kept every car they ever bought and left them in the yard. Lincolns. There’s a Lincoln parked over at the church they’re trying to sell. They foreclosed on her house. When she lost her husband, she had no income but she didn’t stop buying stuff. They bought the house back in the Seventies, you’d think it would be paid off, right? But no. They just kept buying stuff.”

By now I’m about ready to put back the items I had picked out to buy! I didn’t – but I’m more than a little glad I’ve carted at least a dozen boxes of stuff over to the kitty rescue’s thrift store since I moved here!

In the end I spent $4.70, and hopefully will make it back with a couple of resales (a form of decluttering!). I did buy the two framed Richter antelopes.


Wind up toys are always fun, and both of these little Tomy bears still work.


Brought home a few Christmas ornaments. We’re thinking about having a fairly large tree (the ceilings in our house start at about 10 feet and go up to a peak in the middle!) that will be able to accommodate all our ornaments and then some.




Thought this candleholder was just interesting.


As well as candles, it can hold the wind up bears.


Picked up another vintage linen that I’ll try to resale. The RN number on the tag dates this to late 1959!

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I can’t help wondering why one would have a lovely piece of useful cloth like this, and never ever use it. Not even for show – because even though the tag is from Montgomery Ward, that $2.49 price tag was a chunk of change back then. Over $18, according to an inflation calculator I just consulted.

I unearthed a couple of old pieces from the tables of stuffed toys. Hope this vintage rubber-faced skunk will sell. She’s really rather cute.


And I tried to resist, but this guy needed to be rescued.


I know, I know, he’s not the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. He’s probably been over-wound, but when you spin his tail his head still turns back and forth. He’s quite close in design (though not as well made) as my windup lamb that I bought at an auction about 30 years ago. Her tail also spins, which makes her head go up and down, and a little bellows in her neck bleats.


I’ve never been able to find any information about my lamb. She’s a tin windup toy, covered with mohair fabric. I bought her with an Eduard Cramer teddy bear that dates to the 1930s. I’m hoping that perhaps the tag on the new guy (what the heck is he anyway? The spots are giraffe colored, but leopard sized…and the body is more like a llama!) might give me some new clues to search. Any info greatly appreciated!




  1. The owl and the towel would have definitely been on my "to grab" list!

  2. Sounds like a giant version of my Nan's spare room.

    Have to say, my first thought was a giraffe.

    The scenery on the stage is absolutely beautiful. xx

  3. How do you figure out the date of linens using the RN number?

  4. I like the ornaments. This kind of sale makes me sad and makes me wonder what will happen to all my stuff.

  5. Sounds like a hoarder was unearthed. My great aunt, who is a bit of a nutter, was recently moved into a Senior's home and we had massive amounts of stuff to get rid of, too. Piles upon piles of collectibles, all in boxes, and doubles of some. If you compulsively shop for your whole adult life, and never get rid of anything... A sale like this has to be in your future.

  6. I always feel the urge to donate when I come back from a sale like the one you mentioned


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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