How to turn $ thousands into $ hundreds

Stuff, so valuable and desirable  when it belongs to us, becomes massively undesirable when it’s lumped together and sold in a garage (boot) sale.  I had the opportunity to follow someone’s stuff along its’ path from treasure to trash.

The story starts with the untimely death of a young woman.   (Well she was younger than me, so that makes her a young woman.)  She went into hospital, was doing fine and recovering, when she took a turn for the worse and died.   With no descendants or siblings and only a distant elderly mother, our group (actually one kind soul who does not take no for an answer) offered to help clear the house  and that is where it got interesting.   The deceased was a hoarder and her house was packed with giant piles of stuff.  Two stories of things with little pathways through to the important parts, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry (although there was not much evidence that the laundry room was used).  She had never allowed any of her friends to enter, so no one knew what was inside.

I am a lover of mystery fiction, so here was my chance to play detective, to look for hidden secrets.  I got to indulge my general nosiness and score some interesting finds.   When I look at some else’s belongings I wonder why they kept this, why was it important?

I spent 10 hours in her bedroom sorting and cleaning.   I examined everything I touched and it made me rather sad.  There was masses of unworn and unused items, now they would never serve their intended purpose.   It was obvious that she was enthralled with ‘retail therapy’, buying things to make herself happy.  Did she forget that she already had a dozen tweezers, or could she just not be bothered to look for them in the confusion?

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After all, who has not one, but two of these things?  Not to mention 130 brassieres, 100 pairs of shoes and boots, 85 handbags, cupboards full of pots and pans, $400 dollars in loose change and at least one uncashed dividend check.  When she ran out of space in the house, she stored things in bins outdoors, in the garage and at a neighbors.  It took our group of ladies (none of us young) endless hours to sort, clean and haul away (this is where husbands and sons come in handy)  the hoard.

Then came the sale.  Over two days we flogged part of the detritus of her life.  Beautiful things, ordinary things, unusual things (but not the fur-lined handcuffs, I threw those away), all at about 10 cents or less on the dollar.  Lots of stuff sold, but lots was left over.

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It made me sad to know that this too is the probable fate of my beloved stuff: my Godzillas, toys and fabric.  My nephew will have to come here and do this, or perhaps if my group still exists they  will do it for him.

The best part of this exercise is that all the money we raised from this sale goes to charity, so a bit of good will come out of all of this.  The 130 brassieres were sold to the art department at a local college and they will be part of an uplifting (did I really say this?) art exhibit.

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