Treasure or Trash – Estate Sale Wrap Up

nipple mug

Treasure or Trash?

The estate sale is a wrap and all the leftovers have been delivered to the Salvation Army Super Store, or the Salvie, as the cool thrifters call it. Done.

I’ve helped organize and execute a number of estate sales and garage sales over the years and, while I’m not a professional organizer, nor do I have any desire to delve into the minds of hoarders and minimalists, I’ve learned a few things that might be helpful or even thought-provoking (it could happen) when it comes to taming clutter, and determining what is a treasure and what is trash.

Junk drawers. One. Every other drawer should have like items and open and close easily. Keep what ever makes your heart happy in your junk drawer. Scissors, tape, working pens, a few post a notes, a needle nose pliers all live in my junk drawer and make me very happy.

Business Cards. Add the names to your contact list and throw the cards away. I can’t think of a single reason to keep shoeboxes full of business cards.

Keys: Unless you use them, pitch them. The owner of the car you sold 10 years ago is not going to call and ask for the spare set of keys. Of-course, you could always look on Pinterest for ways to turn old keys into useful crafts but the question is will you?

Goodbye old bank calendars, wall calendars, cloth calendars. Nobody ever decoupages a calendar pictures onto a box. Not even in the old days. People in the old days were terrible fibbers. Pinterest does offer some suggestions of how to recycle old calendars, but nobody does it in real life that has a life.

Boxes of old trophies, plaques, ribbons, cups. Pitch them. This does not apply to dog show ribbons or plaques. My blog, my rules. Okay, if you have a hole-in-one golf certificate or plaque. Hang it. But you needn’t save all those trophies that your kid’s Little League, soccer, or basketball team won for 7th place because you know everyone is a winner. Of-course, you could make a vase out of trophy cup or turn them into wine stoppers.  Pinterest is evil. Pitch them.

It’s not a treasure, unless you love it. Trust me. Okay, don’t. Go directly to e-bay and see what those old “Life” magazines, beer cans, comic books, baseball cards, and old toys are selling for or call your local antique dealer before you store stuff into your old age because you’re afraid to sell it because it could be worth a fortune.

This will come in handy one day: I’m looking for examples of when this has happened? Care to share one?

Pens: No one in the whole wide world needs a drawer full of pens. Especially old pens that do not work.  Of-course, you could use the spring from an old pen to keep your I-Phone charger from bending and breaking. One pen per charger. Pitch all the rest.

Old Technology: Goodwill does not want your push-button tape recorder, boom box, or VHS tapes. Schools cannot use your 10-year-old computer and monitor. Most old technology can be put out in the alley for the junk man or taken to the recycling center. Printers are a dime a dozen. Technology is not made to last, it’s made to constantly evolve. Of-course, if you are so inclined a macplanter could be in your future. But you aren’t inclined are you? Pitch it.

Kids’ stuff: Kids outgrow most of their childhood toys, so we have to let them go too. A few toys for possible grandchildren might be fun to keep, along with a few favorite books, and of course a favorite stuffed animal or blanket. I have one drawer of baby/toddler clothes and shoes that make me smile, and a few toys that still make Cole smile. As far as mom-memorabilia goes, you’re on your own. I would pitch the green egg carton worm, though. Just sayin’. .

Don’t buy another one, look for the one you bought last time. The only reason,I can think of, as to why someone would have 200 decks of cards is that they can never find a pack when they need it or they ran into one heck of a sale. Likewise, with paint scrappers.

Embrace Emptiness: A drawer, a closet, a garage, an attic, under a bed, a refrigerator does not have to overflow.

Barometers. If you have inherited stuff or are over a certain age you will probably own at least two barometers. You don’t need more than one and you definitely don’t need four. This goes for clocks and calculators, too.

Out, Dam Clutter, Out: Dice, paperclips, clothes pins, teeth, safety pins, political buttons, chandelier prisms, toenail clippings, paint brushes, erasers, mini-measuring tapes, broken jewelry bits, Happy Meal toys, shoe heals, checkbook registers, receipts, random pictures, spools of thread, Chinese sauce packets, “ditto” sheets of anything, dictionaries, loose marbles, jars, boxes, bubble wrap, used wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, tote bags, baseball caps, fanny packs, buttons, newspapers, catalogs, these are just a few of the things that tend to take over our drawers and counters, eventually turning on us and cluttering us alive. Be strong. Be ruthless. Throw it OUT.

Keep things that give you pleasure to think about, use, look at, or wear. Share the story of what makes it special, its history, and why you love it. If you don’t love it, if it’s not meaningful to you, if it doesn’t have a history, or God forbid you are only hanging on to it out of fear, go directly to the garbage, close your eyes, release, and lighten up.

Your worldly possessions may someday be priceless treasures to someone who loves you. What do you want to hand down?

Odd Loves Company!


13 thoughts on “Treasure or Trash – Estate Sale Wrap Up

  1. Katybeth, this is such GOOD advice that all of us pack rats should frame and save it!

    While I rather like the idea of old keys becoming a wind chime and an old PC becoming a planter, who really needs all the clutter? I, for one, have saved almost everything from Domer’s childhood — and plan on letting *him* go through it when he wants to. Of course, he’s going to save his Legos. Those T-ball team T-shirts? Probably not.

    I know I inherited my pack rat ways from my folks — Depression-era infants tended to save everything — I also tend to save stuff that’s nostalgic. Or that I truly love.

    Well done!

    • Thank you! I thinking moving helps cuts down on the clutter. When I got tired of moving all my hardback books and yearbooks they were a lot easier to pitch and pass on. Domer might want a t-shirt or two, kind of cool to see your own kid in a shirt you once wore. I’m saving Cole’s Santa’s list–They crack me up—for example the year he really, really, wanted a Batman Shit.
      Best reason to save something is because you love it or find it meaningful, IMO. Worst reason is you feel obligated to keep it or are afraid to pitch it.
      You and your Mom took a big step in letting go of El Toro!

  2. Another thought could be to recycle old technology…I know Apple has a recycle program as do stores like Best Buy and Radio Shack.

    • Good idea. I recycle with my junk man but for those without junk men this would solve the problem. I knew Apple had a program but not Best Buy or radio Shack

  3. This post made me laugh and brought back so many memories of going through the “estate” stuff in Lima. OH my. If it was an infomercial it was there. Late night ad? Two of each. Batteries? At least 500 —5 of which worked. Light bulbs? So many different sizes and wattages–none of which were needed in that particular house. The list goes on and on and on and on. Great guidelines and good to share. Which I will.
    And the picture at the top? Good lord—-my eyes are burning.

    • Of-course batteries! It’s like they multiple in the exact voltage you do not need!
      Thanks for sharing. I guess, I should have included a cover your eyes disclaimer!

  4. Terrific post. Great suggestions and fun ideas. I am going to pitch a bunch of keys today before I decide to try and turn them into wind chimes.
    Love the mug. That is a keeper!

  5. I’ll admit to having three junk drawers in my kitchen. I know I should get rid of two. Maybe thats what I’ll concentrate on this winter, getting rid of “stuff”.

    • You could dedicate you junk drawers to different things–shipping stuff, tools, and cacamakatua. All your little notebooks will never fit in one drawer.

  6. which reminds me……i need to go through my stuff again! tough love time. it’s a good feeling sorting through it. kind of like a cleansing of sorts.

    • It is a good feeling when you clean out a drawer, and then go back later and open it and WALA it is all straight and beautiful.

  7. Pingback: Wordless Wednesday—-A Little Milk With That Tea, Sir? – It's Just Life

Comments are closed.