An attempt at minimalism

Posted by Meghan in Sale Tales | 6 Comments

I took a rare Friday off from work, namely to get ready for our own yard sale planned for the following day.

Ballard sale sign

I saw this sign while out running an errand and thought what the hell. It was in old Ballard and you don’t see sales there very often.

The sale was listed as: AN ATTEMPT AT MINIMALISM. SELLING EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN. Hmmm … that sounds a little like our sale. What am I doing?!? Didn’t I make a commitment to get rid of stuff?

Here is a small list of what the guy was selling:


The sale was in a very small and cute loft style apartment and it was packed with stuff. He planned to have it for three more days and another weekend, since he has a storage space filled also.

He seemed to think it was a little odd that I wanted to take a couple of photos, but then he offered me a tall can of beer. Um, no thanks. Not before 10:30 AM. What I really wanted to take a photo of was this silly button. What?


I couldn’t tell if he was a picker or just a junker, but he had tons of Indian blankets, backpacks and bags.

Hallway of bags

And these amazing (not for sale) paintings.

Paintings of ladies

Hot mama painting

Pretty cool little sale.

Dental tools, tiny hot dogs, and so much more

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

Last weekend started off with an unusual event: Meghan’s husband Dan came to sales with us! Readers of this blog probably know of him mainly from Meghan’s frequent comments about how she will end up divorced if she brings various things into the house (usually of the dishware variety). He usually works on Saturdays, but had the day off and decided to join us. After a quick stop for cash, we headed to a couple of nearby sales.

Jumble of stuff

This sale had a lot of stuff. Meghan bought some jewelry and I thought I was going to leave empty-handed until I spotted their CDs — I picked up a pretty odd combo, Brian Wilson’s Smile and The Jingle Cats. I also laughed a lot about this framed print, which was now being sold for $2.

The Bitterness of Poor Quality

Somewhat in keeping with that theme, our next sale had been advertised as “High Quality Garage Sale.” They definitely had a quality view.

High-End G-Sale

Both Dan and I took a quick spin through the stuff and headed back to the car grumbling about how they possibly had an unrealistic idea about what “high quality” actually means. Meanwhile, Meghan was finding stuff left and right. She bought two designer bracelets and some throw pillows and I think a few more items? All I know is that she used up just about all of her cash (and was pretty happy about it).

Now that we had hit the nearby sales it was time to venture a little further, off to a sale whose ad said something about having been renting a friend’s garage but now had to leave, for reasons about which we could only speculate. It mentioned vintage items and sounded pretty wacky. When we pulled up, Dan was excited since he had seen this large freestanding garage and always wondered what was in there. Well, today was our chance to find out.

Approaching the garage

We all loved the garage sale flag, but it wasn’t for sale (though she said you can get them “on the internet.” Who knew?)

Flag of our people

This sale looked wacky, right off the bat.

Outside the garage

And inside was just nuts. The first thing I spotted: a stack of saddles!

Saddles and M-&-M

And then this crazy frog-on-frog vase. They look worried.

Frog on frog

I may have had a similar look on my face as I tiptoed through the garage, trying not to knock anything over or bump into people making their way through the narrow pathways.

Inside the garage

I will admit that I would have been tempted to buy this sign for a Truckload Sale of tame parakeets except that the edge was torn up and sort of crusty …

Truckload Sale Tame Parakeets

We were also somewhat taken with this ice skater painting.

Ice skater painting

But this faceless stuffed animal freaked me right out.

Faceless animal

Dan pointed out these bags of hot dogs.

Bags of hot dogs

I had to tell him that this is the second time we have seen bags of tiny plastic hotdogs at a yard sale — I’m pretty sure (but not entirely positive!) they were not the same exact bags. (I’m not sure if it would be less or more weird if they were.)

And speaking of bags — check out this stash of vintage plastic baggies!

Baggies of yesteryear

I know someone out there is upset that we did not buy these. (Um, sorry?) We also didn’t buy any of these unused paper slips for “Easter Gift Surprises” packaging — this is only a fraction of what was there.

Easter Gift Surprises

Then we found a box full of dental tools.

Dental tools

At this point we were all wondering what the hell was going on at this sale. It didn’t feel fully hoarder-ish or exactly vintage-reseller-ish, but maybe somewhere in between? Someone who stockpiled things that might be (and sometimes were) valuable but never got around to selling them until now? I honestly have no idea.

Shelves o' plenty

Meghan purchased some of the dental tools for a friend along with a couple of other items. Dan was stoked to find a nice vintage barometer. He was giving us weather reports from the backseat for the rest of the day.

Our next stop was right where a friend of ours lived — I wasn’t positive if it was her address or just nearby. Turned out it was her house. Her boyfriend was just moving in and getting rid of a ton of his stuff.

Having a good time

There were a ton of cookbooks and I started to look through them, when the guy we refer to as “book guy” said that was his stack. Unlike “Furniture Guy” and “Annoying Jewelry Guy”, we like Book Guy, so this was fine, even though it was sad to miss out. (Later, he mentioned that if there was something we really wanted he would probably hand it over. See? He’s nice.)

Meghan found a few books from what was left, and picked up a Fiestaware pitcher. Dan made some remarks about how she had four or five at home already. Then he found a sword … and decided he needed to purchase this to use in a friend’s upcoming photo shoot. Meghan was less than thrilled and they proceeded to make irritated remarks at each other about these purchases for the rest of the sale. At this point I noticed a few copies of a magazine called Meatpaper — “the journal of meat culture” and decided those needed to be purchased. Those were not the only meat-related item at this ale.

Home Sausage Kit

I made a joke to Dan about how home sausage-making could be his new hobby, then instantly thought about how bad Meghan would want to kick my ass if this actually happened. Thankfully he didn’t take the bait.

We were coming up on quitting time, but decided to make a couple more stops. The first one was a total drive-by, but then we followed some signs to an indoor sale with this sign out front.

No Furniture For Sale

It turned out Meghan knew the people having the sale. It also turned out that someone was heavily into New Kids On The Block in their formative years.

Full House & New Kids

I did not buy any of that stuff, but I did pick up a ’60s pamphlet called “Easy to Make Maidens and Cocktails” with sort of creepy illustrations, an old issue of Dirty Found (the all-smutty version of Found Magazine), and some vintage kid-sized cat-eye glasses — I was pretty happy with my purchases.

Junk In My Trunk 6-9-12

Fridge blog

Posted by Meghan in Book Report | 9 Comments

I can’t lie, this pamphlet on “25 decorating ideas for your second refrigerator” has been sitting in my house waiting to be blogged about for 4+ years.

25 ideas for decorating your second refrigerator

I purchased this mostly based on the small post-it on the front.


Then once I finally scanned the photos and sent them to Jenny, we started talking about “fridge blog” and even using that as a verb. (“When are you gonna fridge blog?”)

Playing card fridge

Here is the intro:

Before you begin… You might find it helpful to decide who’s going to use your second refrigerator the most. Then decorate with that decision in mind.
If your husband is going to us use it to store beer, decorate to match his personality. Make it bright and bold.
If it’s to be used by the children for pop, popsicles, watermelon and such, decorate it for their taste.
And if you’re going to use it for pre-party storage, you’ll probably decorate it like… Well, women have a mind of their own. And now, let us show you what we have in mind.

Chaplin fridge

Wow… I am not if that was intended to sound so um, sexist. It was 1969. What was National Steel thinking?!?!

National Steel Corporation

And who knew that decorating your second fridge could be such a wild scene?!

What is even going on here

Wettier Heights

Posted by Jenny in Sale Tales | 3 Comments

Another sale

Last weekend was the Whittier Heights neighborhood garage sale day. This is sometimes good, sometimes “eh.” And there is always a high concentration of kid stuff.

Kiddie stuff

But it’s always nice when we don’t have to make a list and can just drive around a neighborhood hitting a bunch of sales at once. This year it was grey and a little drizzly when we set out, and when we started making the rounds, it didn’t look great. A lot of it looked like this.

Tented sale

And this.

Tarps and more tarps

The ads had said “maps available at sales.” None of them seemed to have any, but after a while we found this and grabbed one.

Whittier Heights Garage Sale Maps

Sadly, these weren’t much help. At least half of the marked spots had no sale in sight — people probably saw the weather and decided to skip it. But we kept driving, finding a few bright spots. Like the sale with this jail jumpsuit.

Jail jumpsuit

“It’s unisex!” the guy told us. Um, thanks? They also had this groovy cocktail set.

Art Deco cocktail set

Another sale seemed to have been stocked from some ill-advised late-night TV shopping.

Fantastic Hair & Pampered Pooches

We cracked up at this “pricing station” inside a van that was being used to hold up a tarp.

Vanside pricing

We picked up a couple of things, but the stuff was mostly wet and mostly bad.

Free parts

Finally we found a sale with some interesting old signs. Could this be where we get lucky?

Foreign & Domestic

It was not. So we decided: “New neighborhood!” We headed off toward an estate sale, spotting signs for a moving sale on the way. They had a ton of records, but nothing great. This one cracked me up — it would have fit in perfectly with my post about wacky LP covers.

It's Cool In The Furnace

Meghan bought a CD box set from the woman (who looked up what it went for on her phone before agreeing to come down a few bucks) and then wanted to purchase something from the next door neighbor’s sale … we waited around for a good five minutes for that neighbor to return and take her money, but she never did. Oh well!

Onward to the estate sale. At least they had parking …

Park here park here

… and a possibly foreboding sign.

Enter at your own risk

We made our way to the house, passing these metal shelves – priced at $5 each!

Metal shelves

So cheap, and so practical for storage, but way too huge for us to even think about getting home. So we went on in. Despite the warning, it wasn’t a particularly scary sale (lord knows we have been to plenty of truly frightening ones). And after all those soggy yards it was nice to be able to walk around inside and look over a ton of crap in one place. Even if most of it really was crap.

Mom's self-defense fund

This kitty painting cracked me up. Then it started to scare me. Then it started to become sort of enthralling. I took a picture and walked away before I could lose my mind and bring it home with me.

Cat art

There was also a box of fridge magnets, some of which walked a very fine line between silly and depressing.

All I want

We left empty-handed and headed in the general direction of home, making a couple of stops on the way.

Sale sign on spooky can

This sale had a selection of strange framed drawings.


The seller was a nice young lady. Apparently, she could be persuaded to make you a cup of coffee.

I can be persuaded

But we did not try to persuade her. I seem to remember purchasing something here but honestly? It’s a blur. I bought about four things the whole day and none of them were terribly exciting. A trunk shot would be waaaaay too pathetic.

Oh, the things that we saw

Posted by Jenny in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 10 Comments

Free-spirited yard sale sign

The Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood sale is one of our favorite big sale days. Partly because we have been going to it for a long time — probably more than ten years by now. Back when it was held in April, we thought of it as our “spring opener” for the season. It was the subject of our first real post on this blog (and our first-ever trunk shot) and we have blogged about it ever since, through snow and moving it to September (probably prompted by that snow) and then moving it to May and still having crappy weather sometimes anyway. This year, they finally hit the weather jackpot. It was a gorgeous sunny day!

Open sale

We got to the neighborhood pretty early, so we decided to make a coffee stop first. The cafe had set out some “garage sale items.” I picked up a couple of things.

Coffee shop garage sale items

Buying stuff before we even really hit sales seemed like a good sign. And as we started making the rounds, it started to seem like a pretty good day. A couple folks who usually have great sales weren’t set up this year, but all in all the sales seemed better than average. Nothing was really amazing, but we were both picking up things here and there, and it seemed like a fairly interesting mix of items.

Colorful yard sale

One of our earlier stops had this amazing sign out in front of the house.

Do Not Yell Stupid Questions

We asked him if a guy had come by asking about jewelry and were surprised when he said no. He was pretty cool and also had entertaining price stickers on a few items.

Hello My Name Is $10

I don’t think we bought anything at his sale, but I know we picked up things on the same block. There was a stretch of four or five stops where somehow I ended up buying one book at each sale (I was sort of glad that this trend didn’t continue throughout the day). I also bought a bunch of barely-worn stylish baby clothes for my three-month-old niece at a sale which could have practically stocked a kiddie clothes store.

Meghan spotted this trio of whiskey bottles at another sale — one each for Bourbon, Scotch, and Rye. After some debate, she decided it was too cool not to purchase.

Whiskey threeway

But while things had gotten off to a pretty good start, the quality of the sales did seem to be declining a bit as we continued on. I think it started going downhill right around the time we spotted this scary-looking sale, which of course we checked out anyway. It was as bad as we expected.

Scary looking sale

Of course we took lots of photos throughout the day. The evidence reveals that we really did see a lot of things as we made the rounds.

Strewn stuff

For instance, we saw this star-spangled sequined cap.

Sequin-spangled hat

Which would perhaps best be worn with this jacket.

Acidwash and fringe

We saw these paintings.

Paintings for sale

And this giant owl.

Large mysterious owl

We saw a bunch of homemade wood benches, each with its own pun-laden, apostrophe-abusing sign.


We saw Disco Fever.

Disco Fever

We saw Oktoberfest.


We saw The Ass Family.

The Ass Family

We saw a box of union buttons.

Union buttons

We saw a bag of toilet paper rolls.

Bag of toilet paper rolls

We saw this wedding hat (that seemed to have come right out of the Stepford Wives).

Stepford wife's wedding hat

We saw a psychedelic-looking Bingo game (that turned out to be pretty much regular bingo inside).

Psychedelic bingo

We saw some bricks (though not all 200).

200 bricks

We saw Barbie’s rides.

Barbie's transportation

We saw this hideous chair.

Awful chair

We saw these godawful speakers.

Awful retro speakers

And we saw a cat with a cross.

Cat and cross

We saw some things that were priceless.

Name your $ price

And we saw stuff that had been set out for free.

Assortment of free items

Curbside free boxes

We grabbed a couple of those free items, like a toy rubber tiger and a “Furnished Apartment For Rent” sign. But we passed on the “free to a good home” bear with provocatively-posed tail.

Free to a good home bear

There was certainly plenty of bad stuff out there, but on the whole, this year’s sale day was pretty decent. The weather was awesome. There were fewer sales than there used to be several years ago, but there were also fewer crazy traffic jams as shoppers tried to navigate through all the narrow streets. And the items were definitely a mix of good, bad, and ugly … but there was still enough “good” for a decent trunk shot!

Junk In My Trunk 5-19-12

Wonder Woman. Weed Pipes. West Seattle.

Posted by Meghan in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 15 Comments

West Seattle was this weekend and Karl was out of town and Jenny had family in town. I pretty much go to West Seattle twice a year (if that) and I usually see my friend Hayla when I go. We have met up for lunch during the sale a couple of years back.

So, I sent her a message to see if she had any desire to hit up sales and a plan was made to meet around 8:30. My day started off crappy when I was unable to get gas at two different gas stations using two different cards – what is going on here!?!?!

Official Sale!

Amazingly enough there were two sales right on Hayla’s block. She purchased a small child’s chair that we sort of half tossed in the trunk, then I swung around into the alley to drive back to her house. You can tell it’s going to be a fun day when you are both laughing at the thought of a broken chair falling out of your trunk.

Tales full o' stuff

Trying to give you a blow by blow of all the sales we hit would be almost impossible. There were around 200 people taking part in the sale and I think we probably hit around 60 sales, maybe more. I was surprised to find out that it’s $12 to be in the sale. One lady told me that she thought it was worth it, saying that there are maps and it’s promoted. I never even thought about folks having to pay. $2,400 seems like a pretty tidy profit.

These records are all polka and when I made a comment about it the woman was very defensive about her four boxes of records.


This is a pretty impressive amount of snow globes in one place.

Snow globes!

You asked someone to bring them back for you for many years. Now they are going to end up sitting in the sun for most of the day. It didn’t even look like a dent had been made.

We hit a different area than Jenny and I usually start with. Not sure why, but they whole day felt a little backwards because of it.

Spread-out sale

I made Hayla take a photo of this blow-up doll (with huge boobs) in a Wonder Woman costume, which I hadn’t even noticed the whole time we had been at the sale.

Wonder Woman in tree

At another sale we saw this amazing item.

$10, dude

Hayla also spotted a little one-hitter and a mushroom lighter. Hot! When she said she was going to buy it I told her that she needed to ask if they would take $8. I mean I don’t even dicker that much, but on a weed pipe? You have to! They seemed pleased to take $8 and when Hayla wanted to hit another sale I told her that I needed to find a bathroom before I did anything more. Thy guy having the sale let me come into their home and use the toilet. Classy! I guess the family had purchased the pipe for a family member that had cancer. Downer.

There are so many sales that things start to blend together, but we both didn’t feel that the trunk was getting filled fast enough.

Sidewalk Sale in West Seattle

I am not sure if you can tell how large this vegetable thing is, but it’s like five feet long.

Produce poster

I really liked it, but good sense prevailed (for once). The same sale also had this set of Danish Modern cookware.

Aqua and white

Now, before you post about how I should have purchased this, he wanted $80 for the set. The sale had some amazing stuff, but priced like someone that used to have a vintage space at the antique mall.

We hit one estate sale and the view was amazing –- the house was too, but the sale was picked clean or maybe they didn’t have anything to begin with.

The view from this sale

There was a woman at the sale that Hayla said was dressed like a Mormon meets a Mennonite. We think she had been part of the house, since she was outside getting really upset about a man that she thought had stolen a book from the sale. The dude was acting so chill that I can only guess he paid for the item inside and he seemed to be ignoring her or just didn’t understand why she was acting so odd.

One of our last sales had this sign.

Live Girls Yard Sale

I love the idea, but the ladies both had name tags on and that came across a little strange.

After a bit we just needed to eat. Hayla had mentioned Meander’s and it was yummy. Highly recommended.

All in all it was a great day with wonderful weather, company and food.

Junk In My Trunk 5-12-12

$250,000 worth of oniomania

Posted by Meghan in Sale Tales | 3 Comments

Hmm … until today I had no idea that compulsive shopping is called Oniomania. Who knew?!? Maybe some of you have wiki’d that shit.

I guess when you go to enough sales, there is going to be a darker side to sales in general. I remember going to a sale in 2005 where the woman had purchased rooms and rooms of clothing, all of it duplicates in different colors. She would get one shirt and buy it in 30 colors. It was super strange and sort of made me feel uncomfortable.

I called Jenny after hitting a compulsive shopper sale last Sunday, and she said something about there being a difference between hoarding and when you can’t stop shopping. True, but sometimes it ends up looking pretty much the same.

So, the sale you ask? My husband and I just ended up there randomly last Sunday because we drove by a sign. I am sorry that the photos don’t really do it justice, since I wasn’t planning on hitting a sale and I didn’t have my phone or camera. I borrowed my husband’s iPhone to take some pictures, but it was making that clicking sound that screams “HELLO I AM TAKING A PHOTO” (that I was too stupid to turn off). The folks running the sale seemed very nice, but did wonder what I was doing.

Massive spread of dishware

This is a very small sampling of what was in the backyard.

Mound o' stuff

Maybe you can’t tell, but that is a van with stuff on it. Oddly enough, there was also stuff for sale in it.

Sunday sale

After I opened a box filled with old lady purses that looked like they came from the 1985 Fingerhut catalog, I made a comment about how someone had been a shopper. The woman running the sale explained that the old woman who owned the house had been a huge shopper. She then led me into the house (which reeked of something unpleasant) and was filled with her shopping. Nightgowns un-opened, but tons of them. Shoes never worn? A mountain of them. She took me upstairs and showed me the Christmas room and that was when I knew I need to leave.

She did explain that the woman couldn’t stop shopping to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars and lost her house because of it. They had been clearing her house out since it has sold weekend before last. Ouch!

I did not take home one of her more amazing items: the Fiber Optic Swan Rain Fountain Set, made by The Glass Blower.

Swan Rain Fountain Set

It looked like it jumped right out of Spencer Gifts in the 1970s.

Wackiest record covers at yard sales

Posted by Jenny in Grab Bag | 6 Comments

I’ve been seeing a few collections of the worst, funniest, or most ridiculous LP covers here and there. We’ve certainly encountered our share of gems in the wild, so I thought I’d put together a post of our own.

Grandma likes Jerry Lee Lewis

Both of the quality LPs below are on the GROSS RECORDS label.

Squirreled records

This one Karl pointed out, saying it’s one of his most hated record covers, all because of the dog’s mouth. At first I thought he was crazy, but after staring at it for a while, I started to see what he means.

Most hated record cover

“You Figure It Out!” Okay …

.... You Figure It Out!

We had a comment on our flickr page that I think just might’ve: “drag kings.”

Now, this one is just … baffling.

Tom's Electric #1

There is something unsettling about the intensity on his face. (The guy, not the moose.)

We’ve had several encounters with aerobics-meistress Joannie Greggain. She seems to change her look every so often, but never loses her legwarmers.

Aerobic Shape Up

Aerobic Shape-Up II

Dog and Joanie

Apparently this next one is actually quite the rarity. (Some guy had just purchased it when we got to this sale, but he let us take a picture.)

Nervous Germans

This one is also apparently worth bucks, but I just took a picture and left it behind. Oh well, you can’t win ’em all.


Karl purchased this gem some time ago and was going to guest-blog about it. (I don’t think that is ever going to happen.)


Dig that crazy lipstick!

Lipstick closeup

This one is a CD, but I think it still needs to be in this post …

We'll Pay You $1

And finally, a record I purchased (in exactly this condition) at some thrift store in California back in the ’90s.

America's Greatest Hero

I will probably never listen to this, but I don’t think I will ever part with it.