Estate sale

This weekend Drew’s family had an estate sale at the house of a family member who passed away over the summer.  The purpose was to clean out the house of as much stuff as possible so they can get the house on the market.  Everything was set up inside the house so people would come in and wander around to look at everything.  There were boxes of books lining the driveway up to the garage, where there were tools and two (gorgeous) steamer trunks and an exercise machine that we all took turns trying.

I had matinees both days, but I went down with Drew in the morning around 7:30 each day, and stayed until 11:00.  The first day that 3 1/2 hours was packed with people snapping things up, including a guy who right off the bat wanted all 35 sets of salt and pepper shakers.  Edie and I spent the next 15 minutes wrapping them all up in newspaper.  He came in every so often and said things like, “Oh, look at that little raccoon figurine – that’s cute, throw that in too.”  I wish I’d gotten a picture of all of the salt and pepper shakers the way they were set up, but by the time I started thinking about taking pictures, all that was left on the table was this ashtray:

(Obviously there’s stuff on the table around it.  I exaggerated.)

In the bedroom there were these two portraits, and I’m not sure why there are two of them.

In the other bedroom, these dolls:

In the kitchen: this bowl, which surprisingly was still there on Sunday afternoon.

We also still had many puzzles at the end of the weekend.

The second day was less busy but people still came.  It was raining in Redwood City and not good garage sale weather.  But we did get rid of the steamer trunks, a bed and nightstand, and some miscellaneous stuff.  Overall, the difference in the house was astounding from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon.

It was weird – watching people fill plastic grocery bags with the small details that used to make up a person.  I found myself getting suspicious of things: why are you taking that entire box of old books?  Is one of them worth a million dollars and you’re sneaking it out to sell it on eBay?  Where are you going with that picture of a little girl dressed like the Virgin Mary?  Do you even have a cassette player?  What are you going to do with those tapes of CATS and Barbara Streisand?  Then as I watched the house empty out, including all the furniture, I got really motivated to clean up some my own stuff.

Among the stuff we came home with: a cuckoo clock, a cigarette holder, some fur hats, a giant area rug (for donation to MTC), and a copy of Emily Post’s Etiquette book (it has a chapter telling you the proper etiquette if you have an audience with the Pope!).  And yes, I recognize the irony in bringing home more stuff while I’m thinking about thinning my stuff out.

In conclusion: Estate sale ended up being super successful, and it was really fun being down there and helping out with this big project.  I wish I could have stayed for the entire day, especially on Saturday, when it was really hopping.

And, the story of the salt and pepper shakers guy is that he’s a bartender.  He spent another hour and a half browsing and drove away finally in a fully loaded car.  I’m just glad we weren’t enabling a hoarder.  Hopefully.



Filed under Endings, Memoir, Sentiment

2 responses to “Estate sale

  1. Joe

    The doll with the cracked face is crazy. My parents and I have helped to clean out a few homes of my great grandparents and my dad ALWAYS brought home old tools or carvings of ducks to fill up our garage.

  2. I always find it shockingly personal to look through the belongings of someone who’s not around. When my grandfather passed away, we sorted through a storage shed that he had – I didn’t expect just how touching it was to find a hastily scribbled note on a decades-old calendar or an old pocketknife with its finish rubbed off by a worrying thumb.

    Best wishes with everything!

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