Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Estate of mind.

I got an email from an estate sale company I’m hooked up with that there’s an estate sale this Thursday. I can’t decide if I’ll go – it would be so nice to NOT go anywhere for a day. But that might not happen. Because I like to go to the occasional estate sale.

Estate sales are a creepy, voyeuristic endeavor that I really enjoy.

Usually, estate sales take place after someone either goes to a nursing home or dies. An estate sale company typically conducts the sale so the family doesn’t have to wade through grandma’s underwear drawer.

It’s so interesting on so many levels, the estate sale. I always feel somewhat reverent when I’m wandering through the collected artifacts of a person’s life. Every house has a different vibe, and I can usually tell a lot about a person by looking through what they chose to surround themselves with. The Depends, the walkers, the chairs that let you sit when you’re in the shower – those say a lot about a person’s age, don’t you think?

And there are the hoarders. Some people show their hoarding nature to the world after they die. These folks had probably hidden their weakness for accumulation to their peers, friends and family. “Sure, aunt Joan, I’ll have lunch,” they may have said. “Let’s meet at Denny’s.”

And then they die, and the cat’s out of the very full bag.

I went to a sale at a house that was packed with all manner of dolls and toys. Every flat surface was stacked. Dolls were on the beds in each bedroom, laying three or four deep. Dolls and toys were pouring out of boxes in the back yard, and the person who did all of this collecting had purchased a huge trailer that was on the property, again filled with – you guessed it – dolls and toys.

Another estate sale was remarkable because of the vast quantity of clothing that was virtually everywhere. The basement was ringed with racks, and every rack was stuffed with clothes from every possible era, every conceivable style.

That kind of super-crazy collecting makes for an interesting estate sale.

A house’s vibe can be interesting, too. I went to one estate sale that just had bad mojo. Whoever lived in that house was either very sad, or they were very mad at the world.

Most houses’ vibes are good, though. And lots of people like to wander through other people’s houses. It’s sanctioned, even encouraged, to poke into closets and dig through drawers in a house that’s not your own when you go to an estate sale.

Personally, I have a certain approach I tend to take when I go to estate sales. First, I don’t get there as soon as it starts. I hate to stand in lines, and die-hard salers queue up way before the front door opens for business at estate sales.

My first stop is usually the basement or garage. Cool stuff is usually ferreted away in the deep recesses of a house.

Next stop, the kitchen. I like kitchen stuff.

Then I look everywhere else. Kind of randomly.

I’ve found that the quality and condition of most things is better at estate sales. Most items at thrift stores are there because they weren’t wanted any more, and that definitely can’t be said of estate sale fare.

There’s a lot more to be said about the whole estate sale topic – I’ll have to revisit it some day.

And as for Thursday, it couldn’t hurt just to stop by that estate sale for a few minutes, could it? There might be something cool in the basement…..


  1. yay! You're blogging again. This makes me very happy. I want to read all about your thrifting scores on a daily basis!

  2. Great! And I want your input, too, my friend!