When is Stuff, Just Junk?

I was so excited last weekend to find an estate sale just four blocks from my house. And it was a three-day sale, so it promised to have lots of stuff.

I got there at 10:00 a.m. just as they opened the doors on the first day and tumbled into the small house with 12 other people. But one foot in the door and I saw that it was not quite as I imagined. The majority of the items were the mundane bits that are left when someone dies—used dish towels, pilled afghans, dented sauce pans, old eyeglasses, rusty tools and worn men’s clothes—things that bespoke of a long life, lived simply and modestly—which I admired, but that hardly need a three-day sale. The only extravagances in the house were an abundance of books and LPs.

It turned out that the daughter was running the sale. She probably figured that at the end of three days most of the stuff would be gone. I seriously doubted it.

After my grandmother died, my aunt who was the executor of the estate decided to have a two-day estate sale. My 94-year-old Gram’s apartment was full of stuff, but it was humble stuff. Quilting and knitting supplies. Polyester clothes. Cheap jewelry. Very ordinary furniture. We, her family members, had snagged the diamond rings, the quilts, the old photos, the vintage marble ashtrays and the few oil paintings. Having a one-day sale would have been enough to sell off the reminder, but my aunt wanted to make as much money as she could from her mother’s belongings. (Not that she needed it!) In the end, it was more work than she had anticipated and very frustrating to her as very little sold the second day.

Photo by Bill Bumgarner, flickr.com

Photo by Bill Bumgarner, flickr.com

This 3-day estate sale reminded me of my Gram’s. Humble. And I wondered… who buys used terry dish towels? Expired spices? (Okay, maybe if they come in a cool vintage tin!) Rusty wrenches?  Ratty brown and orange knitted afghans? Boxes of miscellaneous screws?

Sometimes, I think the better thing is just to donate stuff or put it out to the street with a free sign. And some really should be laid to rest in a recycling or garbage bin!

But then again, maybe I’m just not creative enough to see the value in some of these things.

Would love to hear about the weirdest thing you’ve bought at an estate or yard sale!! And was it for your own use or resale? Do tell!!


  1. Where is your site to purchase items?


    1. Hi!! You can find my main Etsy store at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LionandLambVintage

      Thanks for asking 🙂 – Karen

      Liked by 1 person

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