Whole Sales

Posted by Meghan in Sale Tales | 4 Comments

Last year around this time we had hit the big Whole Foods sale. I think we all picked up new items that has been donated by Whole Foods, plus some secondhand items. I had remembered it being pretty good when I saw the sign while ordering a sandwich last week. I sent a text to Karl and we made a tentative plan to go, since Jenny was in Europe.

Whole Foods Yard Sale sign

Of course the day before, I started to remember other plans and Karl was fighting a cold. We decided to cancel, but in the morning I was up early and thought what the hell. I peeked at craig’s list and it wasn’t looking very great for most of the sales, but I thought this one’s for charity – why not?!?!

It was really good this time. I was the first one there and made off with some brand new candles, room diffusers, a new pair of Tom’s shoes in the box. and some other random stuff. And then I was able to get a cup of coffee.

Another Whole Foods sale

They made some comment about how most of the Whole Foods stores were having sales that day, so I hopped onto I-5 and hit the Lynnwood store.

Whole Foods "yard" sale

This one was even better. I picked up more candles, some newer books, vitamins, a travel coffee cup, some new stuffed animals for my dog to chew on, and more.

And another one ...

Sadly, I hit one more on my way home and it was a 100% bust, with old clothing and really bad books.

Books at Whole Foods sale

After that I just went home. Without Jenny around I never took a trunk shot, but it definitely had me thinking about getting ready to hit more sales!

Meeting the Wonder Douche

Posted by Jenny in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 11 Comments

Well, hello! Did you miss us? We always slow down in the wintertime, but this has definitely been our longest hiatus since starting the blog. So by this weekend, we were delighted to find there were actually some promising sales listed. Off we went!

One sale on my list didn’t seem to be happening, and the next should have been a driveby (though we did make the mistake of getting out and looking). The third one was an indoor moving sale. The listing sounded good, but I wasn’t too encouraged by this box on the porch.

Rafting Shit

Inside, one room was devoted to women’s clothes.

Room of clothes

Everything was pretty tiny and leaned toward the trashy and/or spooky.

Spooky display

Also spooky? Shelves full of Halloween decor.

Halloween shelf

I think these clowns count as spooky too, or at least creepy.

Creepy clowns

I grabbed a book, but wasn’t finding much. Although I was sort of enamored by this Christmas tree art made from bits of vintage jewelry.

Vintage jewelry Christmas tree art

Meanwhile, Meghan had grabbed a pile of records — after first nearly getting into an altercation with some guy after she grabbed what turned out to be his records, even though he was nowhere near them at the time. She also snagged a blue Le Creuset dutch oven for two dollars (!!) Then she pointed out these portraits hanging up near the ceiling.


I was personally more taken with the Marijuana/Marlboro Man.

Marijualboro Man

When we were almost ready to leave, Meghan showed me a black plastic bangle with white letters reading “Shaken Not Stirred Vodka Martini.” She wasn’t planning to buy it, but ended up throwing it into her pile. It promptly found a home on her gear shift.

Shaken Not Stirred Vodka Martini bangle

We had another sale on our list: an estate sale at a former church, which had been the residence of two artists for many years. Both of us had been in this place a few times–they would rent out the upper area for events and such, and we also went to the open house when the building went up for sale. By the time we got there it was around 11:30 and the sale had opened at 10 … but there was still a line way down the block! It was way too cold to wait in that so we decided to come back later. We took a quick trunk pic showing the purchases from the first sale, and went home.

Junk In My Trunk 1-19-13

About an hour later we headed to the sale at the church, which by now had no line.

Outside of church

Can you see that crow window? It’s super cool — here’s a shot from inside.

Crow window

We walked inside, up a staircase lined with bowling balls.

Bowling balls on stairs

There were tons of shoppers milling about inside.

Inside the church

Here’s a close-up of that awesome Revival Meeting sign.

Revival meeting

There were lots of other vestiges of the building’s former use. Like pews — some of which had globes sitting in them.

Globes in pews

But there were some decidedly non-churchy fixtures, too.

Pagodas and pews

One of the former residents had been an artist, working mainly with beads from what I imagine. There were definitely a lot of those around — this is just a small portion.

Beads and jewelry

And there were all kinds of other oddities around.


Dresses and circles

Keep Smiling


Romance novel wire art

Still life with tiny butt

Old photo of church

As I was perusing the goods I heard Meghan call from the back room, “I’m going to buy some of these teeth …”


These were less freaky than the last time we found teeth at a sale, but still pretty strange. She selected a set that appealed to her and we looked around some more. Most of this room was dedicated to various odd objects made of glass.

Bumpy glass pieces

Small glass pieces

Glass strips with shapes

Glass hands

We each ended up grabbing a small glass piece or two. Then right as we were getting ready to wrap it up we realized the downstairs was also open! We were running out of time but made a quick look. It too was filled with strange items.

Odd ceramic thing


One thing that was not present was an interesting glass panel in the shower. Thankfully, Meghan had snapped a picture of it when we were in the building for the open house. I guess whoever purchased the place didn’t want to keep this in the shower. I can’t imagine why.

Shower glass

We followed the sign back upstairs …

Cashier in sanctuary

… and got in line.

The line

I walked away for a few minutes to look at something and heard Meghan yell, “Oh my god! Jenny, come look at what this lady is holding!” I could not have possibly imagined how awesome it would turn out to be.

The "Wonder" Douche

The Wonder Douche! (You thought it was going to be some annoying shopper, didn’t you?) Nothing was inside — just the box, which was from 1904. I was tempted to purchase it, but the price was too high. I thought about coming back on Monday when prices would be reduced, and seeing if it was still around — there were also a ton of other cool-but-completely-unnecessary items that I might have considered if the prices were just a tad lower. But as it turned out, I wasn’t able to make it. Which honestly is probably just as well. We each bought a few items and all in all, felt it was a good way to kick off a new year of saling!

Is thrifting good in Palm Springs? Depends!

Posted by Meghan in Field Trip | 3 Comments

While in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree a couple of weekends back (hey, I have been busy–get off my case), my husband and I hit up a whopping one yard sale. Honestly I have nothing to say about it, but I took two photos that sort of say it all. First off, I *think* this is a baby with a mommy dolphin –- why would anyone create this?


And the $40 Grateful Dead belt buckle … OK, now your yard sale is a head shop too?

Grateful Dead belt buckle

Then in Palm Springs I hit up one of my favorite thrift stores: Angel Thrift. (I’ve blogged about it a couple of times before.)

This time I was with Heather a girlfriend who collects tons of vintage, but we have never thrifted together — I laid out my ground rules with her pretty fast:
1) I have really good luck finding stuff, more than I will ever buy.
2) If you need/like/want something I have found, just tell me and I will usually hand it over.

They had a huge bin of these “jelly shoes” that had bible scriptures in them.

Scripture shoes

And this amazing animal print section.

Animal print rack

I didn’t really find anything amazing, with the exception of a combination Pharmacist’s jacket that looked like Evel Knievel designed it.

We also hit up another thrift I had never been to before.

Palm Springs thrifting

I sort of feel in love with the place after walking in and realizing it’s a thrift shop inside of the stroke center. I popped into the bathroom, and found this.

Do Not Flush Depends

What can you really say? Nothing, right?!

Jackie Lee Thrift Shop

I purchased something here, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was. We spent the rest of the afternoon driving around looking at amazing midcentury houses.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Goes to Yard Sales

Posted by Jenny in Guest Stars, Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 7 Comments

It’s been ages since we’ve had a guest star come along! With Meghan out of town, my Portland pal Bonnie Ditlevsen came along for the ride. I warned her that October didn’t promise a whole lot in the way of sales, but she was still excited to have the Yard Sale Bloodbath experience, and kindly offered to write up the day’s report! Take it away, Bonnie …

The fall rainy season finally hit the Pacific Northwest, ending our unbelievable streak of heat-infused summer drought. Seattle somehow seemed like its old self as we got into Jenny’s car to check out some sales, both regular and estate.

First off, there was a fundraiser yard sale benefitting a preschool. Note the Seattle-savvy tarps and canopies!

Canopy covered sale

As we imagined, there were all kinds of ex-baby and toddler items, pint-sized wooden furnishings, and this bevvy of books in a tub indicating what happens to many women when they breed: The Expectant Father and the ever-scary What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations followed by Danielle Steel, Mary Higgins Clark and Patricia Cornwell books (all now passé due to the fervor over Fifty Shades of Grey, I’m certain). These were sharing plastic-tub space with old Baby Einstein DVDs, Mom and Baby Fitness, and The Art of Aromatherapy. And alongside those, a couple of titles that gave me pause: Heart Full of Lies and If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him…. Slit my wrists now!

Mom books

Kudos to the kids selling drinks and crispy rice bars.

Snack area

I was eyeing a nice retro-ey set of wooden alphabet and vocabulary picture blocks for $5, and said to Jenny, “You know, for five bucks, it’s okay with me that there are a couple missing. “I count 26 blocks, Bonnie,” she said. “I’m sure you’ve got the alphabet covered.” “Oh,” I said. Hmm. So…why do they leave a couple out? Would the seven-month-old baby I was buying these for ever notice, or care?

I picked up on a mysterious European baritone accent under the blue canopy. After 12 years spent in four different regions of Europe, I like to think I’m rather good at pinpointing any European dialect accurately within 100 miles, but this guy? He had me really stumped. Just then, Jenny whispered: “It’s Furniture Guy!” Oh, how this made my Yard Sale Bloodbath day. To get to meet one of the characters from the blog, right off the bat like that? It was electrifying. “He’s some kind of European!” I whispered with excitement. Jenny said, “I never really noticed an accent. He’s just annoying.” “So he’s Annoying Furniture Guy?” I asked. “No,” Jenny clarified. “We just call him ‘Furniture Guy.’ You’re thinking of ‘Annoying Jewelry Guy.’”

I was impressed with Jenny’s reserve. I don’t get out much, nor am I the big shopper. So after getting the wooden baby blocks, I coveted a $2 stainless steel OXO utensil holder with rubberized base and several pricey metal spatulas of varying forms. A decent enough deal, I thought.

We then drove to Broadview, a gorgeous hill of ’50s- and ’60s-era homes north of Ballard. I admired the sweeping views of Puget Sound and all the successful and well-tended landscaping of the homes. Yet I was puzzled by strange signs that read, “Arterial Ends Here.” We have no such signs in Portland. I asked Jenny, “Does that mean it turns into a vein?”

Our estate sale looked busy; there was even a line. Jenny pointed out that under normal circumstances, she wouldn’t waste precious morning yard sale minutes waiting in a line, and so we decided to check out a nearby sale. But Jenny warned me once we saw its sign: “Balloons are one of the telltale signs that a yard sale might suck.”
Balloons are present

Ruh-roh! There were the balloons, all chipper and flowing in the breeze. I spotted some ugly, Boomer-style golf clubs right at the front of their carport.

Carport sale

A woman was selling mostly kitchen items and clothes. She needed to slice her prices by about 80%, but who was I to tell her that? She lives in a house in Broadview, and I don’t. Rich people don’t stay rich by giving things away for free. But one item caught my eye, and wasn’t horribly overpriced: this lovely red enamel griddle with panini-making lid for $5.

Cast iron panini maker

I wanted it. I wanted it bad. But I also wanted one textured-fabric black skirt, too, and this delusional woman had priced it at $10. Crappy purses Jenny looked through were $15, $20, or more. Her overpricing actually started pissing me off about buying anything at all from her, even the panini griddle. I started making some dumb small talk about The Surprise Chef on PBS, how he would use two heated cast iron pans, one on top of the other, to smoosh marinated chicken pieces into grilled, crispy perfection. The woman didn’t give a shit. We left, me babbling about the panini pan, Jenny swearing that the lady would have every single item still in her possession the next day.

As we approached the estate sale, we noticed men scurrying to and from their cars, like leaf cutter ants, loading ’50s- and ’60s-era merchandise. They shot furtive glances at one another and at us, like anxious squirrels in autumn. The house had enormo windows upstairs and on the basement level, all overlooking gorgeous Puget Sound. We had to stand there in a really long line that simply did not move. It got ridiculous with the big, fat windows we peered into showing that there weren’t all that many people inside. What did they think we all would do? Shoplift? Still, it was while peering in those megawindows that I noticed the insanely overpriced stickers all over everything. Items had not one, but three, four, even five stickers covering them: $55 for some lousy end table. $175 for a weird retro lamp — that I coveted, but still. $28 for some dumb bronze statuette.

Statue with 4 stickers

This place was betting on all of us yard sale saps to show up on the opening day and pay their doubled, tripled and quadrupled prices out of fear, and the peer pressure of standing in line with no way to buy anything.

View from the porch

So we stood there, wasting our precious lives, watching the human squirrels come and go with their purchases (Latin plural: “purchi”), hearing the occasional disgruntled remark about the cashier’s utter rudeness. Was this going to be the Estate Sale Soup Nazi? One man who exited the heavily guarded door said this as he emerged, head turned back at her: “I was just making sure I wasn’t the guy you were yelling at.” Niiice.

I noticed an abandoned coffee cup wedged into the shrubbery. Many of us felt a bit like that coffee cup. Then I saw a plant that looked just like marijuana, but Jenny assured me it wasn’t.

Not a pot plant

A couple of people in front of us left the line once they saw the inflated numbers on the little red-orange neon price stickers. Yay for moving up, any way we could! I snuck off to peer through those windows again. Red-orange stickers on everything, multiple times each. It certainly looked as if some obsessive type, or perhaps a person with delirium tremens in both hands, had applied those stickers to everything. I felt the strange lure of a yellow plastic toy horse that contrasted so nicely — so Swedishly, really — with the house’s slate blue exterior. The horse just seemed, well, special. My sons are 12 and 9, too old for such an item. But I wanted it.

Yellow horse in the window

Jenny was getting increasingly bored and annoyed. “Why do they only let one person in? It’s empty in there!” But on the front door, there was an aggressively masking-taped, explicit set of rules & regs. (Cash only! You haul larger items! No wire hangers!!!)

Warnings and rules

There was also a list of numbered signups that went all the way to #63 and included the names of people who’d come by early … some in the wee hours of the morning like 3:15 AM!

3:15 AM

A couple of men in front of us, whose native language and origins I couldn’t discern (Armenia? Georgia? Afghanistan? Azerbaijan?) began joking around with us. They’d heard me whine about somebody buying my yellow horse out from under me. One of them jokingly told me he’d buy it, then sell it back to me at a higher price.

It had been more than an hour, and we began wisecracking about the Art Deco hand-shaped doorknocker and the woman behind the door who guarded the estate sale like a junkyard dog.

Hand door knocker

A lady behind us picked up on our merry banter. When one squirrel-like dealer exited, then entered, then exited again, hauling his purchases, she wondered out loud if he was a dealer, or if maybe he worked at Microsoft. She got bold on his fifth trip, and asked him both questions. “No,” he insisted, to both. “Maybe he just has good taste,” I said, which he heard, and actually turned around appreciatively to smile at me about. Is this the way to flirt in Seattle? Compliment some dude on his good taste in buying overpriced, Boomer-era crap? Maybe.

Finally, we were allowed in. Whew! Right away, we realized why we hadn’t seen people through those massive front windows: the house itself was labyrinthine, and a cornucopia of fascinating old merchandise of all kinds awaited us. Vintage clothes. Portraits. Furniture. Shelf items. Books. Collectibles. These people had traveled the world, and must have been some sort of ethnic Scandinavians, too, judging from all the music and story books in Icelandic. I picked up a couple of Norwegian and Icelandic little flags for a buck apiece, and grabbed a mug with a 3-D raptor’s head poking out over the handle for my crazy sons.

We were mesmerized by this bizarre 3-D puppy portrait (it’s hard to see, but the heads were puffed out in a trippy manner):

3-D puppy picture

And this naked doll with multiple price tags stuck to her, right next to a cash register. It looked like some anti-human trafficking ad sponsored by the ladies of Hole.

Creepy doll display

Jenny couldn’t take her eyes off of a vintage Creepy Crawlers set with metal molding plates, but didn’t want to spend $35 on it. I spotted this gorgeous old Danish doll — just like one from my girlhood. Did I want it for $32? Um, nope.

Danish doll

I went down to the basement to the spot by the window where my beloved yellow plastic horse had beckoned me for well over an hour. Gasp! It was … gone. My heart sank. Then I realized that maybe, just maybe, the friendly and joking Armenian/Georgian/Afghan/Azerbaijani guy ahead of us had gone and grabbed it just to make a practical joke. I hoped so. But where was he? More and more people now were allowed in, and I got lost in the labyrinth. We made it to a room in the basement full of old music stands, sheet music, and miscellaneous books and papers.

Win a Brand New Fall Suit

We also spotted this frightening portrait (I wish I’d noticed how much they were asking!)

Odd portrait

And around the corner … surprise! There was my guy, yellow horse and all. “I saved it just for you,” the man beamed, and I laughed a full belly laugh and thanked him for his very good deed.

Jenny was delighted by this exchange, but pointed out, “Bonnie … what do you want with a $16 yellow plastic horse?”

“Oh,” I said, “nothing, really. I have no use for it. It just looked so special sitting in the window of the blue house while we were bored shitless in line.”

“So … why buy it?”

“Because of the guy.” I didn’t want him to see me abandon the thing, not after all that merry banter.

Reason won out, though. Sixteen bucks for a dopey yellow plastic horse? I figured I’d spend the money more wisely buying us some pho for lunch.
Overhearing our decision to ditch the horse, a nice lady before us in line for the register whispered about the Estate Sale Soup Nazi, “She’ll make you put it back where you got it, you know.” Jenny, by this point, was OVER this sale, no matter how fascinating some of the items wound up being. “I’m not fucking putting it back,” she said to me as an aside. She set the horse high up atop a filing cabinet, where it stared out at Puget Sound.

And it wasn’t too out of place there. There was a myriad of oddball vintage toys spread out on a table near the register.

Cute li'l guys

Toys on table

I couldn’t wait to hear and see the Estate Sale Soup Nazi lady in all her rude glory. I figured I’d stir the pot a little by asking if, as an Oregon resident, I could please be exempted from Washington sales taxes. This meant forty cents in my case, but it’s the principle. “Sales tax exemption doesn’t apply to estate sales,” Rude Lady told me in a cold voice. “At least I asked,” I smiled at her. Jenny got a little Ratfink charm and a couple of vintage monster art cards for her husband. They were all unpriced, and she was fearing the worst, but pleasantly surprised to only be charged a dollar for the bunch.

Our next adventure took us to the enclave of Magnolia, to yet another estate sale. We loved our first glimpse of the lavish lifestyle this formerly-alive-and-well couple must have enjoyed. Trips galore to Russia, Holland, and Egypt! Collector plates and spoons from all states and presidents! Hummel figurines! (Even a Hummel nun’s head!)

Nun head

I loved how you could take such places as Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the Notre Dame de Paris home with you in your carryon, for posterity.


These little figurines were a reminder of who truly built America. Not my generation, that’s for damn sure, though we enjoy blogging about it!

The men and women who built America

There were just so many collector’s items and souvenirs from everywhere that I started thinking about it. Would I someday wind up like that? In assisted living, surrounded by a few items of collectible crap while, back at the house my kids were liquidating out from under me, some snippy yard sale bitches were having a righteous laugh at my expense? Should I become a Buddhist, maybe? Follow the four-fold then eight-fold path, and aspire to not own so much shit? Sigh. I pondered this while looking at more and more and more realms of stuff.

Space souvenirs

Creepy horse

International Records

Big-eyed Christmas tree

Jenny got all crazy-claustrophobic in one bedroom, seeing this Wall of Shelf Objects and Stuffed Animals from Hell. Yikes!

Terrifying stuffed animal room

I almost thought she might need to buy some of this ancient liquor and pour herself a shot of Caffe Lolita or Pineapple Liqueur.

Used booze (tropical blend)

In another room, we found this stack of a frighteningly-named item: Wee-Wee Pads. Complete with possible picture of the puppy who wee-wee’d on them.


And that wasn’t the only dog … this guy was taped up to the wall of the downstairs bathroom.

Bathroom bulldog

I got all giddy when Jenny pointed out a Pepsi bottle with Cyrillic writing! Later that night (at 826 Seattle, in a performance with Verbalists) I would be reading from my 1989 memoir story of traveling from Munich to Moscow via Berlin. I was THERE around the time these estate sale’s elderly folks must have been! They might have bought and actually drunk from the $1 bottle, in Russia. Or not — I know that when I was in Russia, I’d have given my right arm to drink something other than nasty rye bread kvass or sickly-sweet port. Pepsi, no matter the funky writing on the label, would have been a welcome sight.

Then we encountered a chatty, friendly old guy who was walking around the estate sale carrying a huge bird cage housing his sulfur-crested little parrot!

Man with caged pet bird

At first I thought he had bought the cage or bird there, but pretty quickly we figured out he lived down the street and was using his pet bird as a conversation starter. “I like to take him out around the neighborhood,” the guy said, holding up the cage to us. “He likes meeting new people.” It was sweet, and somehow I felt he’d beaten me to the punch. After all, I’m the Portlander, not him. I was supposed to put a bird on it, right? Seattleites, always outdoing Portland. At least now I know why the caged bird goes estate sale-ing!

And the best thing? The estate sale cashier at this second place answered my sales-tax-for-Oregonians question honestly. “Just show me your license and I’ll jot down your address, and that way, you save ten cents off the $1 Pepsi bottle,” she said, friendly and helpful as all get-out. I didn’t make her bother, but was happy to have confirmation that the woman from the first sale was not only rude, but a baldfaced liar to boot.

Jenny and I had a $13 day overall. A day of fun and laughs, with a bit of rudeness and frustration for good measure, and a whole lot of cool old stuff no one really needs, but a surprising number of people will stand in line to paw through.

Junk In My Trunk 10-13-12

A hearty salute to Bonnie for riding along to sales, resisting the siren songs of the yellow plastic horse and the red panini pan, and making it out with her wits intact. And for saving ME from having to recap this questionable, yet entertaining day!

“Epic” yard sale day

Posted by Jenny in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 3 Comments

The weather has been sort of freakishly nice in Seattle for the last couple of months. So last Saturday it still really felt like yard sale season … even though we know full well that October is when sales really slow down around here (and the few there are tend to be questionable). Still, we headed out with a list of possibilities, hoping for the best. One of them had been listed as “EPIC YARD SALE” and had signs galore promising the same.

"EPIC" sale

After looking around, all I can say is that perhaps they are interpreting the word in their own special way. I’m not sure anyone has ever used “epic” to describe used crockpots and George Foreman grills.

Crockpots and crap

The rest of the sale was pretty bad and Meghan even spotted a neti pot — used. Gross! As far as I’m concerned, once that thing goes up your nose, you own it for life.

Our next stop didn’t look too bad from a distance …

Approaching the garage sale

… but up close it was a bit sketchy.

Free: Breast Pump Stuff

We’ve joked about the “top three things not to have at your yard sale” before, but let me add that anything that has come in close contact with an intimate part of one’s body probably deserves an honorary place on that list.

It wasn’t all scary … these school desks with years of carved graffiti were pretty cool, though it’s not like I have a place for them or wanted to spend $65.

School desk

An hour or two in I still hadn’t purchased anything. Meghan picked up a cute vintage dress for $2 so the day wasn’t a total bust. But it didn’t seem to be going great … especially when we came across this!

Neti pot at yard sale

Another one?! At least this time it wasn’t used … but still. Meghan stated that it was not acceptable if “neti pots” were the theme of the day, and I wholeheartedly agreed. But the only other possible themes that presented itself wasn’t t much better … creepy angels and elves, anyone?

Demented angel

Angels with candles

Evil elf

At least there was some comic relief. When we drove up to an intersection and saw this sign with arrows pointing in two completely different directions, we laughed for a solid minute.

Yard Sale Ahead

We had just about decided to call it a day when we saw signs for a church rummage sale. I hadn’t seen any listings for it, but when we got there we both recognized it from last year and remembered it being pretty good. It was around 11:00 and they seemed to have just opened, judging from the people just putting up signs out front … and the fact that there were several prime pieces of vintage clothing sitting there waiting for Meghan to purchase them for a few bucks each.

Church rummage sale

I remembered the books being good last time and started accumulating a pile. Some of them were advance reader copies but lots were just recent purchases someone had decided to get rid of. I spent six dollars and filled most of a small box.

That one sale sort of saved the day for us … it’s really the only reason we even have a trunk shot this week!

Junk In My Trunk 10-6-12

Biker dudes and arty nudes

Posted by Meghan in Sale Tales | 6 Comments

The last time my mom and aunt had come down that I remember was back in 2009, though I think they must have come down since then. It’s always comical when they come along, with the same issues every time: my mom can’t manage to navigate to a sale and she reads off like 8 sales at once. I was really missing Jenny, since we are pretty much on the same page about how to navigate from sale to sale. But I tried to make a nice list in large letters and the times all spelled out clearly, and we did make it to a ton of sales.

One of our first sales was right by my house and I ended up getting some really crazy 70s-does-30s-meets-disco outfits. They also had some good records, but smelly. I can’t bring musty stuff into my house, since it just makes me sick. But the clothing was good and I did see this incredible wood framed picture.

Biker paradise

It’s amazing, right? Sadly, I didn’t buy it, but then after I posted it onto my facebook page a bunch of my friends were freaking out, so a few hours I went back. It was gone, but I met the guy from the picture. He said it was based on an actual photo, although his hair wasn’t as long. Jenny seemed seem obsessed by the glitter fairy stickers in the corners.

So, we have talked about how balloons at sales can be a sign of bad sales – what about a sign with balloons?!?

Yard Sale Here Now

Yup, but they did have this “make an offer” on this super pack of fireworks. Hell, you paid $14 and I don’t know what year, so what sort of offer are you looking for?!?!

Grand '49er

We did a ton of driving around, since my mom couldn’t seem to work out the addresses or the times. So, at 9:30 we would be a sale that didn’t start until 10:00 or at 11:00 she would direct me to one that had been going since 8:30. Fun times!

Perusin' the driveway

We went to some serious duds and some just OK sales, then found an estate sale. Yeah, that is really their sign just scrawled on the side of a box –- not sure from what, a bracket?

Estate sale sign

She had this snazzy painting.

Fine art

And the Christmas tree was set up and going.

Christmas tree

My mom seemed to pull the best thing out of the sale with some amazing chairs that I wouldn’t have even noticed, but I guess they were pretty hot stuff a hundred years ago (not my style, but nice).

One of our last stops was an Estate Sale of some old western dude and I would have purchased all his clothing and boots, but they just wanted way too much money for them. Sadly, it seemed like he had started doing work on the house and then just stopped. Everything sort of looked like this.

Abandoned in staircase

He did have some great pictures on his many unfinished walls, including these naked ladies.


I took this photo from upstairs at the house, to give you an idea of what the yard looked like. Sorry you can’t see the $300 YUGO (“Runs. With Tabs” was the selling point!)

Back yard sale

Throughout the day we did fill up the car — we even filled the trunk twice and had to drop stuff off. But I realized it was mostly my mom. I had spent a whopping $22 by the end of the day. Sorry no trunk shot this week!

Digger, picker, hoarder … bite me

Posted by Jenny in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 8 Comments

Last Saturday was the first time in ages that Meghan, Karl, and I all went to sales together! We were excited and even more so when our first stop was some crazy sale listed as “DJ and yard sale” promising a variety of DJ-riffic items including a LASER LIGHT SYSTEM! Of course, we were all fighting over who was gonna get dibs on that. It ended up being a total driveby — a woman sitting in a chair next to three or four boxes of what looked like total junk. Eek!

As we sped away from that, we randomly passed a sale where Meghan knew the seller. She had a ton of stuff, and was it wacky? You know it!

Wacky spread

Meghan bought a bunch of vintage sewing patterns here and I made one purchase — the “I Hate Brenda” paperback! For 50 cents, how could I resist?

I Hate Brenda!

Next up was a sale whose ad sounded great — it was listed as “part 2” but Meghan hadn’t hit it the previous weekend and they promised to have brand new stuff. Most of it was clothes. She had some great stuff, but the prices were on the high side.

Bounty of clothes

However, her CDs were a buck and she had good stuff — I think we all picked up a few. I looked through the books, but didn’t find anything, though I thought this “warning label” was pretty cute.

Warning label

Meghan did buy a few things here including a large letter “U” and a sweet pink Lomography Diana camera in its box.

I was excited to hit our next sale since it was listed as vintage — even showing a picture of a vintage house, which I assumed was where the sale was, but no! It was actually a sale we’d hit last year where the guy had tons of old posters and rock flyers. We recognized it right off the bat.

Poster display

Funny, looking at the last pic — the Gary Numan and Bogart posters were in the sale last year. If at first you don’t succeed, try again, I guess! He had new stuff out this year though, like a double-sided Tubes promo display that gave both Meghan and I flashbacks to the record stores of our youth.

Tubes promo - side 1

Here’s the back side, in case you needed to know what that looked like …

Tubes promo - side 2

He also had this box of vintage sunglasses.


Some of these were amazing and he said they were $10 each, which is higher than we would have liked … but we had to dig through. A couple pairs were sadly a bit too damaged, but a lot of them were really amazing. I grabbed one pair and he ended up charging me $5. I also bought some old iron-on t-shirt displays with ’80s skating and surfing logos for my skater-dude husband. Meghan splurged on about three pairs of sunglasses and I think a couple of other things — she was also tempted by this statuette, but it was just too chipped up.


We then hit a “two-block sale” which turned out to be one sale on each block. The first guy had some intriguingly oddball art books but the mood was sort of spoiled when he yammered on and on about how much stuff he had had earlier that already got bought. While he was talking to me about a vintage library-card cabinet (that would have been cooler if all of the pull knobs hadn’t been broken off) Meghan was taking a picture of this creepy portrait in his garage. (I don’t think it was part of the sale.)

Creeptastic painting

We got a snack and then debated whether to stay in Ballard, or head over to a “rock and roll sale” in the parking lot of the Rickshaw Restaurant and Lounge, a fairly bizarre and divey Chinese restaurant/karaoke bar that has been closed ever since they had a fire back in March. The potential for strangeness won out and we headed up there, only to find … nothing at all in the parking lot! Then we spotted a sale in front of the house next door. Close enough, I guess. We pulled up and were greeted by this masterpiece.

Art for sale

Both intrigued and scared, we got out and started to look around. Karl and Meghan beelined over to the records while I perused the other stuff. Books and zines were spread across the driveway and while it was an encouragingly odd mix, I didn’t find anything I needed to bring home.

Zines (and shoes)

Most of the cassettes were of the indie/weird variety, but there were a couple of cheesy looking motivational items as well.

Cassettes of many stripes

They also had a handful of t-shirts and other random items.


I think I was the only one to leave this sale empty-handed.

At this point we were sort of close to an estate sale that had been listed as “What a digger!” Honestly, I am not sure what the sellers think that “digger” means … everything was arranged fairly neatly, maybe there were a few boxes that needed to be unearthed in the basement but on the overall scales of estate sale this one was pretty sane and tidy. And expensive … they had a few items I was sort of drawn to, but not for what they were asking.

This was not one of them — I do not want this in my house for any price.

King of the court

One room had an odd assortment of toys and games. This pink elephant and mutant-looking dog seemed to belong together. I don’t know what is up with that “Jogger” thing in the background.

Pink elephant, mutant dog, and jogger

At one point Meghan called out, “I love Benji!” I thought it was a random proclamation, but no.

I Love Benji

As we drove away we decided that the three most overused words in sale ads at the moment are “digger,” “picker,” and “hoarder.” Sometimes your sale is just a sale. You don’t have to make it sound like whatever dumb show is on TV right now. If your sale isn’t potentially hazardous I don’t consider it a digger, and if you are selling your own items you are pretty much by definition not a hoarder. As for pickers, I think Meghan said it best earlier this year: “You don’t need to carry a fucking loupe and a flash light with you to yard sales. Yes, I get that you saw that on TV, but are you Frank Fritz? No. You aren’t.”

We stopped at one sale where they had this wacky outfit hanging up.

My new outfit

Karl bought a perfectly-sized-for-records wooden crate from them and found out they were moving to Berkeley, where I’m from — one of the sellers asked me if I had any advice and I couldn’t think of a thing. I should have told her not to take the brown acid — yes, that is Woodstock, not Berkeley, but hippies gonna … hip? The seller also told me a funny phrase she had heard to describe newer-style hippies, but sadly I have completely forgotten it now.

We then drove by this sign for a “Stupid Sale.”

Stupid sale

I remembered that Meghan had blogged about going to a “Stupid Sale” a few years back and I thought she’d said it had been bad, but now that I look at the post again I see that it turned out to be “so stupid that [she] couldn’t even find it.” We didn’t end up going to this one, but we did have a discussion about how if you are going to call your sale stupid, you might as well take it all the way and write “STOOPID.”

That turned out not to be the only stupid sign we saw. BARGANS, anyone?


And there was this — though technically not so much stupid as dyslexic.

Sale Yard

This other sign was cute — not stupid at all (unless you count the fact that it was lying on the ground in front of the sale, which I suppose isn’t really the best advertising method).

Artsy yard sale sign

We went to a few more sales, but honestly it’s a blur. All I can tell you is that we saw a family of dog statues …

Dog family

… and a $200 lobster painting.

$200 lobster painting

All in all, I was happy with the few purchases I made and it was a pretty fun day.

Junk In My Trunk 9-15-12

Striking out in Oly Manor

Posted by Meghan in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 2 Comments

Once again both Jenny and Karl couldn’t do sales, but it was Olympic Manor sale day so there was no way I going to flake. I didn’t think to make a list, since Oly and the surrounding areas can usually take care of most of a morning. But this was not the case. I even called Jenny at 8:45 to belly-ache about the lack of sales. Oly Manor always has sales! They might not always be the best sales, but there are tons. This weekend? Like 15. Maybe 20.

This was one of the largest, being put on by the girl scouts.

Driveway full

At this sale, everything had “make offer” or “free” signs.

Make Offer

Along with a free fountain –- no, I didn’t go look at it!

Free! Fountain in back

After hitting a few more sales I thought I should just start heading out of there. I think I was 100% out by 9:20. Since I was too dumb to make a list, I just drove around, ending up back at the old lady hoarder sale from last week. They had pulled out a ton more stuff.

Oodles of stuff

Last week when I was on the phone with Karl he had asked if I had hit the crazy book seller house? Why no I hadn’t, but since it was already the second day of the sale, I wasn’t that interested. Oddly, I just ended up there after following some Estate Sale signs. WOW, was Karl not kidding about the books!

Crazy book sale #1

Crazy book sale #2

Crazy book sale #3

On every surface throughout the house, books and more books. Everything was old and oddly not all that crusty.

Crazy book sale #4

Crazy book sale #5

This was the second weekend and the book dealers and the University of Washington had already hit the sale. Karl did tell me that a book scanner left in disgust, since he “couldn’t scan” any of the books. Poor baby! I picked up a few things, mostly wacky lefty stuff from the 1960s.

Pretty slim pickings on the trunk photo, but at least you can see one of my best scores: a bell you can ring when it’s “time for another round”!

Junk In My Trunk 9-8-12