(Re-post from 2008)
There are two things I want to say about garage sales/thrift stores/ auctions/ free boxes - in fact, any place where you can get - and get rid of - used items:
- subjectively speaking; they are great!
- objectively speaking; they are important!
Having gone to all of the above across more than forty years in Canada, the States, England, Europe, Belize; going now, daily, to one or more of the above, I consider myself experienced - an interested, curious participant.
Why great and important? Because they are fun.
A learning experience. A social event. A means of 'travelling' the world. Recycling. A chronicle. Added income. Nostalgia. Community. Worthwhile on many levels.
Going into detail about the above list would be interesting and I have, over the years, begun to document the adventure but stopped each time because it then became 'work' and I am 'playing'.
I hope someone is doing some serious research into the increasing phenomenon.
The small bureau in the photo is one example of my enjoyment of having items in my home with meaning. The things on top of the bureau are all to do with my immediate family but the bureau itself 'extended' this family.
I bought it at a garage sale many years ago from a woman who told me her father had been a traveling salesman for a furniture company and this was an example of the style of dresser they made. She thought he might actually have made it. Her kids had added 'character' to it with stickers, initials. One knob was broken, one had been replaced. I loved it on sight and continue to do so.
I took off the stickers almost immediately but only later did I replace the broken knob and put a bit of stain (shoe polish) over the more obvious gouges. It 'speaks volumes' of its past. In much the same way that I like to sit and look at the rag bag patchwork quilt and imagine what the articles of clothing were that went into its creation by some long ago artist (this was from a church rummage sale but I could not discover who had donated it or get any history) sometimes I take the time to look at the bureau and 'listen' to what it is 'saying.'
The drawers are slightly open to release the scent of the pot pourri that is also making fragrant the scarves and gloves and hats.
The old dresser underneath was purchased at a moving sale from a young couple who could not fit it into the trailer they had hired for the move and were so pleased that I was excited about it that they almost gave it to me. It had been his grandmother's.
What did I pay for these treasures? Two dollars for the first bureau. Five dollars for the second.