Like so many collectors, I love my “stuff” and it took a huge effort to decide what to keep and what to let go.
Over the past three months, since the big move from the city to our house, I’ve been unpacking, sorting, labeling contents of the 80 plus boxes and slowly clearing the garage, where they were stored. This was the first step of the process of settling in with My House in Turnaround. My goal was to prepare everything I no longer needed for a blowout yard sale scheduled for Labor Day weekend at Helen’s house — my friend Marybeth’s mother. While it meant me boxing everything to take over there, a two-family sale seemed like a better draw. In these parts, house sales are well attended summer weekend rituals.
When Hurricane Irene hit and left us Home without Power, I had to push the sale back a week. It was taking time to get our generator repaired and garage door opener replaced and, due to epic flooding, many roads were closed.
But fate gave us a gloriously sunny, but balmy summer Saturday for the sale. We had set up tables in Helen’s garage on Friday, and moved them out onto her perfect yard-sale driveway early Saturday morning [top]. Due to changes in our dining room, I decided to sell my set of four French birdseye maple caned chairs and three of my rugs.
During the weeks of sorting, I decided to be ruthless about unloading duplicates plus things like linens that I’d been holding onto for years and years because I had the space to store them. Back they went into the moving boxes. The big blue bag contained the king size quilt Mr. AM’s decorator made for the apartment bedroom and the white box with the green box (on the bottom, left) was filled with a dozen or more redundant kitchen knives.
Having pared down our apartment in order to stage it for sale, I discovered that I loved the feeling of simplified, unstuffed closets with fewer, but more-often-used possessions. As I cut the tape on box after box, I realized I was ready to let things like my treasured vintage table linens go but it wouldn’t be easy. Mainly, I was focused on my dishes, glassware, kitchen equipment, plus what turned out to be an entire table of phones, clocks and other bits and pieces like leftover wallpaper, contact paper, and home office effluvia. Like the ad says “So much glitter!” Make that linens.
There was no shortage of wicker baskets and kitchenware — the metal bar with the hooks on the front of the table is my favorite, super heavy-duty Taylor & Ng pot rack which also has a wooden shelf that fits on top where I used to store my fish poachers (now long gone). The man who bought it ($15) seemed delighted and I was glad to see it find a good home.
My rolling coat rack came in handy for displaying clothing that was in good shape but no longer in style. I even was able to empty out a plastic container filled with things from the 80s. The house salers snapped up the coats, sweaters and tops.
One table was dedicated to glassware including wine glasses, goblets, cordial glasses and glass bowls. There was a set of French hors d’oeuvres plates as well. A friend bought most of the white and red wine glasses ($1 each) early on, but the big wine goblets ($4 each) were last to go even though they were very high quality crystal from Gump’s. They do require hand washing.
There’s nothing like a cherry red rug to attract a house sale buyer! This was an eBay find that I resold for only $20 less than I paid!
About half an hour before the end of the sale the tables were picked over and the steady stream of buyers trickled out. I started to pack up leftovers — including the well-used Brabantia ironing board (in the plastic bag, leaning against the table. I had that at $25 and yesterday saw the very same one new for $179 in a Williams-Sonoma “favorites” email.
Mr. AM, and our friend and co-host Rob (a mad Yankees fan) hung out all day, brought us lunch and gave me a hand at the end with boxes of leftovers destined for the Salvation Army.
I really didn’t expect every single thing to sell but I was hoping there wouldn’t be much left to cart off — and there wasn’t. Since the sale, I’ve been asked whether it was worth all the weeks of work it took to sort, tag, price, pack, unpack and pack up the remnants again. Financially, the answer is not really. Emotionally, it was great. And, best of all, I never need do it again!