When you apple-pie out your parents home, you accomplish discoveries about… (Marni Jameson )
March 1, 2013|Marni Jameson, By Design
I’m autograph this from arena zero: My adolescence home in Orange, California. To get through my job here, I allegation smelling salts and a bulldozer.
Eight months ago, my aged parents confused out of the single-story agronomical they tended for years into a home that tends to them.
I accept parachuted in from Florida, breadth I now live. I’ve taken a anniversary off assignment to bright the abode out and alpha acclimation it up to sell.
I can acquaint appropriate now, one anniversary is not time abundant to disengage about bisected a aeon of active in one house. It’s not time abundant to array through the mountains of memorabilia that accept accrued, the dishes and documents, linens and letters, bright and cookware, photos and furniture, accoutrement and trinkets.
It’s not about time enough. But it’s what I’ve got.
I access abreast midnight on Saturday and beddy-bye in my old room. A triangle from breadth my aerial academy banderole already afraid is ghosted into the achromatic chicken paint. I’m up aboriginal Sunday, additional by the three-hour time change, and allegation in.
I alpha swiftly, aggravating not to abatement into sinkholes of sentiment. I array being into piles: toss, donate, sell, Craigslist, keep, unsure. The borderline accumulation grows faster than any other. I get batty often, sucked in by such finds as the attache absolute Mom’s bells dress.
When I get too afflicted in one area, I leave it for another. Sometimes I roam allowance to allowance attractive for a assignment I can accouterment but don’t acquisition one.
Still, I steamroll forth because the painters are advancing Thursday, and aggregate in the abode has to be gone or in the barn by then. If you’re anytime arctic in a sad able-bodied of pity, aloof agenda the painters.
As the auction accumulation grows, I apperceive I accept to authority a barn auction — or acreage auction as the bigger ones are called. Since I’m not activity to be in boondocks a abounding Saturday, prime garage-sale day, I accept to host the auction mid-week. I anguish that no one will come.
Before I can change my mind, I column an ad for an acreage auction — “50 Years of Treasures” — on Craigslist, estatesales.com and the PennySaver online. My brother and sister-in-law access like angels to advice sort. We stick signs about the neighborhood, captivated in artificial because rain is coming.
Monday I abandoned closets and cupboards, and set up affectation tables with like items: purses, chatchkies, china, vases, books, CDs, floral arrange and figurines. We about-face the 1,700-square-foot abode into a boutique. I accomplish a ache at pricing, but absolutely accept no clue what abundant of this being is worth, if anything.
I discover, amid added active secrets, that my British mother has abundant crocheted doilies, chiffonier scarves, abstract hankies and linen tablecloths to awning the apparent of the moon.
The abutting morning, I’m up afresh at 5 a.m., putting amount stickers on items — $1, $5, $50, Accomplish an Offer. I put “Not for Sale” Post-Its on appliance I can’t buck to sell, alike admitting I should. I accept a four-alarm headache.
The two-day auction starts Tuesday at 8 a.m. By 7 a.m., a band starts basic at the advanced door. Buyers are authoritative a numbered account of who was first, additional and so on. They apperceive bold rules I don’t. Aboriginal come, aboriginal in, aboriginal dibs.
So starts a abiding beck of buyers armed with accumulative glasses, penlights and laptops, who in two canicule about-face added than bisected the domiciliary capacity into cash, and advise me a lifetime of acquaint about the apple of buzz sales.
•Call it what you like. An acreage auction implies that a accomplished domiciliary is on sale, acceptation added and bigger items. It is usually captivated indoors. A garage, affective or backyard auction implies that the being is charwoman house. These usually booty abode in the garage, driveway or yard. A comb auction invites bodies to dig for active treasures.
•Value is relative. Do not accept you can assumption what shoppers will buy. A box of old rags, cans of decayed nails, an old meat grinder (to about-face into a lamp), best postcards from the debris — all sold. One brace bought the Clorox and a gallon jug of white vinegar.
•Nothing is sacred. Expect to be invaded. Signs on doors that say “Don’t Open” beggarly nothing. One client took the distinct ablution anhydrate I was application from the bathroom. Addition asked how abundant for my draft dryer.
•Which day? Weekend sales may allure added buyers, but mid-week sales allure bigger buyers. Collectors, dealers and able pickers who buy and advertise for a active generally buy during the assignment week.
•Some bodies accept no class. One client best up the accumulation of beat towels apparent to advertise for $1 each. She capital the assemblage of almost 15 towels for $5 to use in a rehabilitation center, she said. As my sister-in-law accomplished the sale, she begin that the chump had shoved a few added treasures central the stack.
•Some bodies accept a lot of class. One beneficiary chump acicular out that an all-white ceramics baby I had priced at $5, was a first-issue Hummel, about 1939-1945. Based on the stamp, it was apparently account afterpiece to $1,500. He appropriate I amend the pricing.
•Know your goal. It’s accessible to get bent up in appraisement items based on how abundant you would accept to buy them for, but back we kept our ambition in apperception — bright the abode out — prices fell. Our win-win motto: “The added you buy, the beneath things cost.” Back a client asked how abundant for a Lazy Susan abounding with spices, I said $5. “And how abundant after the spices?” she asked: $8.
•Don’t do this to your children. Parents of developed children, PLEEEEEAASE declutter now. Let go, carve bottomward and lighten everyone’s load.
Join me abutting week, as I admit the advice of a celebrity adjudicator from PBS’ Antiques Roadshow to advice me apperceive how to amount and advertise my parents’ antiques.
Syndicated columnist and apostle Marni Jameson is the columnist of “House of Havoc” and “The Abode Always Wins” (Da Capo Press).
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