Friday, December 01, 2006

Disposing of Old Things

Lately, several bloggers have mentioned needing to get rid of some things that they haven’t used in years. Nobody seems to know how to “pare down”. So, here is my unsolicited advice. Do with it what you will.

A few years ago, I put my house on the market, and when it sold, I called a local auctioneer and set up a time to rid myself of all the things I had carted around with me like a turtle, for decades. I’m not exactly a packrat, but I had a couple of sets of dishes, my mother’s and some things belonging to two of my grandmothers, and a lot of china and crystal that I couldn't get rid of while they were alive. I don't know what my cousins were having to wag around with them, but what I had made me come to the conclusion that my dad's family had no taste, and were color blind, or both. Nothing I had was usable with my "decor". Then, again, maybe I'm the one with no taste.

I was moving into a small apartment and couldn’t take much with me, and my furniture was Early Salvation Army, anyway, so I didn’t mind getting rid of most of it. Even my kids didn’t want any of it. The only thing that bothered me was having to get rid of most of my books. I had floor to ceiling bookcases in both the living room and family room at the house and no room in the apartment for the hundreds of volumes stuffed into the shelves. I picked out the ones I absolutely couldn’t part with, then, went through them again and repeated the exercise until I was down to two four-shelf book cases full.

By the time the day of the auction came, I had already moved everything I intended to, so I decided not to be present at the auction. I was a little afraid I might buy back something if the bidding didn’t go high enough. “What????? That’s real cut glass! OLD cut glass!” No, no, it wouldn’t do to be present.

But, I did go over there when the auction was over, so I could pay the auctioneer his share and get a blow by blow, or bid by bid, accounting. The auction brought just about what the auctioneer had estimated. That was surprising, because the day went anything but smoothly.

Just as the auction was about to start, and people were gathering, a bull came running down the middle of the street. We were inside the city limits, but next to our subdivision was a big field with a bull in it, that had always made it necessary for the kids to ride the school bus, instead of walking across said field to the school on the other side. Weren’t there laws against livestock in town, you ask? Of course there were, silly. But, when my area of town was made part of the city, the bull was grandfathered in.

Apparently, everyone took the stampeding bull in stride, but it did delay the start of the auction while they called Animal Control.

After everything in the yard and garage was auctioned off, everyone moved inside, and just as things were getting interesting, a man had a heart attack and collapsed in the kitchen. The paramedics were called, and the man didn’t die until they got him to the hospital, but it sure put a damper on things. Lots of people just gave up and left. Party poopers.

But, I moved into my apartment with new furniture, and a feeling of starting a new life. And, I was only stuck with an ugly, magenta-colored china mantle clock.

12 comments:

Annie said...

That's an inspiring story, Betty.

I'm the one in the family who is given the family treasures, the things no longer wanted but that can't be sold or thrown away. And I'm sentimental enough to take it and keep it. But I've been thinking that when the givers are no longer living I'll feel free to pass some of these treasures on to the world. I've tried to pass them on to other family members but nobody wants the stuff.

dot said...

All I've got is a bunch of old junk I accumulated on my own. I really enjoyed reading some of your posts. Like your sense of humor!

Betty said...

Thanks, Annie. I moved all that stuff so many times over the years, I was ready to get rid of it.

Welcome, Dot. I'm going to visit your blog, too.

Alan G said...

I have been pricing a few old things out lately as you know, but if bulls and heart attacks go along with sales....I will have to pass on the bulls and heart attacks....knock on wood.

Anonymous said...

And here I thought we were going to have a bull in Betty's shop story.

Kell said...

I did my share of pillaging, I think. I did take your china, but crystal stemware and moving every 3 years just don't go well together.

I still laugh about the lady doing the pre-auction estimate looking at those shelves full of classics and great books asking you, "Do you have and good books?"

Anonymous said...

I would love to see that clock!

Betty said...

Kell: "good books indeed." I imagine she meant "romances". sigh

Dogwalk: I'll get Jay to take a picture of it and post it.

Anonymous said...

i have moved so many times i just dont keep things, well i have a few favourates but apart from that i bin them!
yeah i would love to see the clock too!

SongBird said...

What an auction story!! If I ever move again, I will probably do the same thing minus the heart attack victim, I hope!

Alan G said...

Speaking of getting rid of old things....

Seems that might have recently included a "new look" here at Old Dog New Trick huh? :)

Betty said...

Alan: Yes, I switched to Beta. Can't let Jay and Kell get ahead of me.