I’ve been to garage sales, thrift shops, and flea markets but I had never been to an estate sale. I was told what they were a while back and I just couldn’t bring myself to go through a deceased person’s belongings like they didn’t matter. I know it’s all just stuff but obviously someone cared about their stuff when they had it there until they died.
I was told about a particular estate sale that had an insane amount of stuff and that I should go check it out. This wasn’t a complete stranger though. Although I didn’t know this person and had never seen her, my sister had seen her because she lives in the same neighborhood.
The block was packed with cars and tons of people inside that house. I braced myself, parked and made my way into her garage…
This woman’s garage alone must’ve had thousands and thousands of dollars worth of stuff still wrapped, still in boxes, still unused. I looked around without touching anything because somehow I couldn’t get past the fact that I would be touching and messing around with someone else’s belongings and the fact that she was dead and at this point it shouldn’t have bothered me so much just wasn’t sinking in.
A gentleman told me I was welcome to go in and look. I don’t know who he was but now I felt that if I didn’t go in I was disrespecting the way an estate sale should go and so… I did.
This woman LOVED Christmas and Easter! She loved candles, hats, clothes, shoes, silverware, plates, frying pans, you name it, she loved it. It wasn’t even like she just had a little of everything, she had multiples of everything. Insane amounts of the same things. Hundreds of shoes, hundreds of fancy hats… This house looked like it belonged to someone that emptied the racks when she saw something she liked. Lots of home shopping type stuff too.
The most interesting thing to me in that entire house was a HUGE bag of pictures I found in a corner. That was the only thing I could bring myself to touch. Hmmm, you’d think that because it was personal that it would have been hard, right? Well, let me explain…
I love pictures, they are history and the only thing in my own life that I’d feel I couldn’t replace. I’m talking about material things here. The only thing I’d like my family to treasure because it’s my history, their history, OUR story. I pulled out some black and white old, very old pictures. The first one I looked at had a few women in it and I tried to guess which one was her. I proceeded to look at more and I was right! How? I don’t know but I managed to somehow put a face to the woman that lived in that house. They were beautiful. She was beautiful. There was even a picture of her winding up a car from the front… that’s how old those pictures were. I couldn’t believe those pictures were still there. Didn’t anyone care about this woman’s history? Did everyone just grab the stuff they considered of value and just leave these behind like they just meant nothing? I suddenly felt like I might have overstepped my boundaries by looking at these so I stopped but let me tell you if I could have… that would’ve been the only thing I would’ve “wanted” from that house. Of course I just put the pictures back in and fixed the bag that was just thrown there and had all the pictures pouring out.
What did this estate sale do for me? It showed me what loneliness can do to a person. I doubt I’m assuming. This woman was an extremely organized hoarder but still a hoarder. When I think hoarder I think lonely, I think trying to fill a huge empty space in your life. It’s not about a person just wanting more junk, it’s about the instant gratification they get out of getting something else. Interesting thing is that while family might have been good to criticize that and leave this person to their own personal hell… they were quick to come by and like greedy scavengers get valuables.
What did I get out of this first time experience? I have to clean out my garage, I am nowhere near a hoarder but I do have a few things that can stand to be passed on. I don’t ever want to feel that kind of lonely and I hope this woman was loved by somebody and that she is missed. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again. I don’t care what “treasure” I can find, it’s just not something I’m willing to do again.