There were plenty of sales listed on Saturday! One of them was listed as a “digger estate sale” urging shoppers to bring gloves and be cautious. Those kinds of ads are always somehow alluring and repellent at the same time, so I put it on our list. I figured we’d hit a few sales in our neighborhood first, and noticed this ad:
Today, 4/27, I came across a yard sale that was not advertised. It is being run by an elderly lady who does not know computers and didn’t put up signs. Great stuff, very cheap, mostly vintage kitchen, glassware, dolls, etc. Lots of size 10 women’s shoes. I don’t know the exact address …
Sounds possibly good, right? The only thing was, it was the same block where this woman has a sale on a regular basis with nothing but overpriced antiques. She is not some kind of clueless sale newbie — she even has a full-on signboard that she puts on the corner that sucked us in many a time before we finally wised up. But this couldn’t be her … right? WRONG. I don’t know if this was her own scammy attempt at luring people in, or if someone really thought she needed the help. Either way, we sped away, off to a nearby sale in an alleyway. This cute sign greeted us as we walked in.
I would not say it quite lived up to that, but it was decent — lots of good new-ish books, priced at a quarter each. We each bought a few, and headed off to the next sale.
This one was at another familiar spot, but a good one — they used to have sales pretty regularly, and I think it’s been a few years now since we’ve hit one, but they usually have a nice selection of vintage furniture and household stuff. Plus, Meghan bought one of her all-time favorite lamps here (way back in the pre-blog era), so it has a special place in her heart.
This time we didn’t buy anything, although we were both sort of captivated by this rubber stamp wheel.
We then hit a sale that was still getting set up, but they let us take a peek. Meghan instantly spotted this item since she had once owned one. It’s a Car-Snac!
You know, to hang over the back seat and keep your car snacks handy. Pretty amazing, but not something I need to own. Neither was this gathering of little animals.
Meghan picked up this crazy plastic dog — it had blinky eyes, but they kept getting stuck with one up, one down. The woman kept saying how she knew she was going to regret selling it. Between that and the sticky eyes (probably combined with the existential question of whether one actually needs to own this, cute though it may be), Meghan decided to just walk away.
We drove over to the digger sale, which still had a big line despite having been open for over an hour! We decided to go get a snack and then circle back. On the way to the coffee shop, I got a text from Karl about the estate sale he was at, across town in a ritzy neighborhood. He said it was insane and we should get over there, so that’s exactly what we did. The house kind of looked like a castle.
We walked in, didn’t see Karl anywhere, and decided to head upstairs. Here’s the view from inside that turret-looking thing.
It seemed like there must have been a doctor or nurse in the family. We spotted this box filled with oodles of pens and pencils, many of them promotional items from pharmaceutical companies.
Then Meghan found this big pile of blood pressure cuffs.
But it wasn’t seeming that great — we wondered if it had really been worth it to drive across town. We headed back downstairs and found Karl. He was laughing about something with another shopper. It turned out to be … this.
I know we have said it before, but even after all these years of hitting hundreds of sales … there is always something we have never, I mean NEVER seen at a sale before. Speculite? The disposable light for vaginal illumination? WOW.
And possibly even more wow: this tie-tack, shaped like a Paragard IUD.
If you’re figuring there was a gynecologist in the house, I think you’re right. In the basement were a ton of books (most of them in fairly crustified condition), and a good amount of them dealt with sex. Mostly from a medical perspective, but there were a few other items, like these.
And by the way? It’s for real.
This item was also in the basement.
Back upstairs, I found Meghan excitely gathering a huge pile of Folio Society books. They were immaculate (some were still sealed) and were priced at $2 each — a steal! I helped her hunt around and we gathered up a few more. I also spotted this Milky Way box that had somehow manage to survive all these years. (The candy was long gone.)
Meghan had called her husband from the sale to see if he wanted some old license plates. I think he passed, possibly because he had apparently just purchased a fog machine at some other yard sale. (I can’t wait for their next barbecue.) From what he said we figured there might be more cool stuff there, and since it was on the way back to the digger sale we decided to check it out. On the way over I looked up their ad and noticed they’d listed several other items, including “Sleep apnea machine (barely used).” This is definitely an item that I really don’t think should be purchased at a yard sale.
When we got there, I didn’t see a sleep apnea machine. But I did see this “Image Maker Special Effects Projection Box.” (Maybe they were just really into small single-purpose machines?)
They also had a box of combs. But overall it was pretty boring.
On the way back to the digger sale we spotted this amazing sign! We turned.
In front of the sale there were three girls having a little picnic with bowls of pho. This did seem kind of awesome.
We didn’t buy anything here, but as we left we spotted their sign on the other end of the block. I’m not sure how they came up with this, but we laughed.
We pulled up to the digger sale well after eleven. There was still a line!
We only had to wait about ten minutes before going inside. The main floor was a little crusty, but didn’t really seem that bad. We quickly figured out that one of the former occupants must have been a painter.
Upstairs was a room that had been used as an art studio.
There were piles of stuff …
… and lots more paintings.
It was pretty disheveled. This doll in a cradle was all tucked in with an empty Grand Marnier box.
Back downstairs I stayed away from this crime scene room … I think they were just using the tape as a “keep out,” but after having been to a few sales in houses where bad things happened, you honestly never know.
We decided to take our chances with the basement. Despite all the warnings, the stairs were honestly not that bad.
But we nearly shrieked when we spotted a shelf full of jars of ancient jam … or something? They were only sealed with Saran Wrap and one of them was labeled “1986.”
Let me reiterate: improperly-sealed homemade preserves from 1986.
Now that might have been a crime scene waiting to happen.
The rest of the basement was crusty, but we’ve definitely seen much worse. Meghan found some vintage men’s shirts, most of which were shredded into ribbons, but she picked out a few that were more or less intact. She also grabbed some great old photos that’ll make their way into a separate blog post soon, and I found a stack of letters. I opened one of them and read something like: Dear (name), I honestly don’t know what to say to you. About us, I mean. It went on about the couple’s separation and what the problem was and whether they could work it out. Sometimes it can be fascinating to get a glimpse into someone’s personal life from long ago, but this just made me feel a little sad … I put it back in its envelope and left the stack. And moved onward to scope out the rest of the basement.
Then I dug into one box and found some grungy old tighty-whities. I decided it was time to stop digging.
We decided to call it a day … but close to home we spotted some signs for a sale we didn’t know about. They had a bunch of stuff out in the yard. Including an entire bed.
And some Twilight posters. C’mon, I’ll fight you for ‘em!
Inside, I laughed at this Dancin’ Grannies videotape (especially placed next to Doin’ It Country Style).
I thought it seemed familiar — sure enough, we’ve spotted another Dancin’ Grannies tape in the wild before. (The other one’s cover is even better.)
And then I had a momentary freakout when I discovered two vintage paper dresses!
Now, before anyone gets too excited, see that brownish area up in the top left part of the black and white one? It was moldy rot that had started to eat through all the places where where they had been folded (and then stored for the last forty-some-odd years). There was a lot more of it than you can really see in the picture … they were both trashed well beyond wearable or even displayable condition. Even so, it was a bit hard to leave them behind.
But on a brighter note, we hit quite a few sales and had a good day of it … it feels like yard sale season is really kicking in. Yeah!