The “Ick Factor” in Picking

As much as I love hunting for treasures in thrift stores, estates sales and yard sales, etc., at times there is an “ick factor.” Take yesterday for example. I was at thrift store and picked up a ceramic bowl. The bowl was one of those decorative green-leaf things made in Portugal. Promising. And inside the bowl?  A wad of chewed gum. Ick. Thankfully, I didn’t have to deal with it because the bowl had a chip on the rim and I put it back.

But at liquidation estate sales you might open a dresser drawer to be faced with stained undergarments. Or you might reach in a jacket pocket and find a used tissue. This is to say nothing about the dust, dirt, cobwebs and crusty bits found on things. Thankfully I have found no live critters, only dead spiders.

I do read two blogs written by folks who find things by the side of the road to resell. These brave souls sometimes contend with some serious “ick factors” in garbage bags: kitty litter, diapers, rancid food scraps. But they also find amazing treasures…I mean who throws away antique mother-of-pearl opera glasses from Paris? Perfect condition too!  [Just so you know, all the pottery, china and crystal bits I buy get a bath before I put it in my store. Some clothing items get washed as well. And if a book is too musty or stained I toss it.]

BTW, I didn’t find much at the thrift store yesterday after 30 minutes of looking, but it was still fun. It always is!

One thing I couldn’t resist as a person who plays with words…English flash cards. Circa 1981. The box is beat to hell, but the cards mostly look untouched.


I also snagged this cute, like-new Talbot’s jacket (shown here in somebody’s else eBay listing) done in black cotton with pink embroidery. I don’t wear pink ever, but the jacket fits me and looks pretty good….hmmm…to sell or not to sell, that is the question!

Despite the occasional “ick factor” it’s all worth it…though I’ve learned it’s best to wear old clothes when picking and bring along sanitizer.  In fact, I’ve got this wonderful essential oil sanitizer given to me by a friend (thank you Sharon!) that’s going to be riding along in my purse from now on. 🙂

If you have an “ick” picking story, I’d love to hear it! 

Happy hunting!!


  1. I get a lot of my stuff from auctions and there isn’t much I get that I don’t have to clean. The worst is live spiders and stink bugs! Yuck 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yikes…live critters!!! That’s a tad scary! – Karen


  2. Oh yes, the ick factor! I thrift mostly furniture and clothing. Found an old pair of men’s shorts in a dresser drawer once. That’s about the grossest thing I’ve come across so far. I guess I’ve been lucky-no wadded up chewing gum!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The gum the other day was a first for me too! Thankfully most icky stuff can be cleaned pretty easily 🙂 – Karen


  3. I think the worst ick factor comes with jewelry. The gunk on old earrings, the dust and crud in rings, and the hair found tangled on necklace chains always grosses me out the worst! I once found an old watch that had what I presumed was rust on it, but turned out to be blood. I couldn’t stop washing my hands all day after that one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG yes Cat! I forgot about jewelry gunk. Definitely icky! – Karen


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