"Welcome to the time warp," the man running an estate sale in northern New Jersey said to me seeing my wide eyes. I didn't want to come out of it.
I was in love: with a kitchen. This fabulous retro kitchen. I've fallen in love again and again: with bathrooms of the mid-1900s in those classic colors: pink, robin's egg blue and avocado green. With cheerful wallpaper. Shag carpeting. Wood paneling. Linoleum flooring. The word "dated" has a positive connotation to me. If you show me a "before" and "after," I usually prefer the before (not with minor paint updates, but major renovations ripping out cabinets and such). I think "dated" is a conspiracy to get you to spend thousands of dollars updating perfectly good rooms.
I blame the estate sale obsession on Steve. He planted the seed this year, and now we wake up weekends and the first thing on our minds is checking EstateSales.net! Oh the vintage clothes, oh the vintage small sizes why I need to a) lose weight, b) make my own clothes, or c) just be grateful vintage scarves, jewelry and bags fit any size.
A collection Mrs. Bucket (that's Bouquet) on my favorite Britcom Keeping Up Appearances would adore! Now I hope poor Richard says the right thing when he sees her in it.
How cute is my "Good Morning! Toast?" toaster cover? Needs to be ironed still. For just $3, it adds a touch of whimsy and cheer.
I haven't purchased any major pieces, just some clothes, vinyl records (like Edith Piaf, John Denver, Judy Garland), a book on 1930s films, dishes, and such. We did get a vintage Singer sewing machine that folds into a side table for free when we inquired about the price. The women reflected sentimentally on the home economics classes which taught them needed sewing lessons (something I've bemoaned doesn't exist really now).
I had no idea what estate sales were. I kept picturing when Richard and Hyacinth take a country drive to one of those huge manors, but really it's just when the whole contents of a house are for sale, usually when someone has passed away.
It might sound morbid to some. But I love the idea that people's possessions are being put to good use by someone who will love them instead of going to the landfill. It's also time traveling and bit like going through someone's diary. They're a snapshot to how we lived.
If all goes according to plan, Steve and I will be moving to another two family house in the next town in a month or two (he'll keep the two-family home we're in now as an investment). My favorite part of the home which was built in 1970: a pink retro bathroom! The inspector said it's dated. What does he know? For Keeping Up Appearances fans, we now live in very Daisy and Onlsow like quarters and even are starting to emulate them. Steve watching television and drinking beer in a recliner just like Onslow's, me reading a book from the library in complete denial about our mess and overall horrible cramped living quarters like Daisy. We even have more chipped crazy mugs than I care to admit. Oh how I long to drink tea out of the Royal Doulton instead and have a nice putter in the garden. I don't need a Mercedes or room for a pony like Bruce and Violet, just a nice, cozy home.
I wish I could say I was a minimalist who would be happy with 100 possessions or less and finds contentment solely in a beautiful sunset. But admittedly, brashly, I declare it: I like stuff. I do. Clothing, more books than I can read, pretty plates, artwork, candles. Homey stuff mostly. Things that give a house a soul. I couldn't in good conscience nor could I afford to buy these things traditional retail. I'm glad estate sales are in my life.
Have you gone to estate sales?