Recycling brings pleasure to both the old owner and the future owner

#602 in a series of true experiences in real estate
May 2010, Hills Newspapers

I’m in a clearing out and cleaning frenzy. Nick moved out of my basement rooms and now I’m getting everything organized and giving or throwing away a lot. I spent the weekend down there hoping that I’m not getting rid of something I’ll wish for later.

Although I don’t remember Nick complaining about the bed while he was here, as he was leaving he told me that it was the worst and most uncomfortable bed he’d ever slept on. So the first thing I did was disassemble headboard and footboard and move the mattresses closer to the door. I’ve already called for bulky pickup for the mattress and box springs and I’ve got a date for bed and whatever else I can assemble for a cancer society pickup.

I am excited. I get into these moods sometimes and it’s like it’s my preferred life’s work to fit what I’m keeping neatly along the edges of the rooms. I already had numerous boxes labeled and put away on shelves. I looked at all of them and got rid of a bunch, some in the garbage, others in the giveway.

Nick needed a few things so last weekend we went to some garage sales. We were super lucky to find a Danish modern couch with good cushions, clean and actually attractive, for $160. The guy selling it even delivered it to Nick’s new apartment for free. Just a few doors away someone was selling a room-size rug, nice one, no stains or rips, for $5. Nick also got a few wine glasses and a few dishes. And I got the funniest thing, play food cherry pie, one slice, wooden with cherries painted on it. The little boy I bought it from charged me 25 cents. Probably no one else but me would be really happy to buy a slice of wooden cherry pie for 25 cents.

Much of what is in my basement is in the cherry pie category, quirky things that I have enjoyed but now I think I should pass them on. I was so enjoying myself clearing things away that I decided I couldn’t wait for the charity to come get them. I made a Free sign and put lots of things out on the street in front of my driveway: Nick’s shoes, ones he didn’t want to take with him, all in good shape so I thought it was worth a try. Children’s books, the ones I could bear to part with.

Also, wonderful gallon-size glass jars for storing flour and sugar. Toys that Nick says he doesn’t want anymore – lots of little cars and monster-like figures and GI Joe’s. Scrabble. Beautifully made patchwork quilt skirts my mom sewed for me when I worked at the Dicken’s Fair.

There isn’t much traffic on my street, mostly neighbors walking dogs and parents and kids going to and from the school at the end of the street. So there weren’t a lot of takers but just enough so that at the end of the day, very little was left. It was really interesting what was wanted and what wasn’t. The shoes went right away, also 45 rpm records with accompanying storybooks. Children’s books were popular but not so much the nature books. No one wanted 4 books about snakes, for instance, but at the very end, a little boy took a hardback edition of Castle.

All the small cars and action figures were picked up except for one larger car and some sort of plastic ship with a wide deck. That seemed odd but even stranger was that no one wanted a set of wooden building blocks, ones my children enjoyed and I liked so much that I’ve kept them for 25 years. Maybe kids only play with plastic blocks these days.

Part of my motivation is to make space for new items which Anet and I acquired at another garage sale, the most fabulous one we’ve ever encountered. We don’t go regularly to sales, Anet doesn’t find them especially interesting, and clearly, I already have enough things. But we are glad we went to this, which was in our neighborhood and run by several women friends who were selling their own collections. Almost everything they had for sale was something I wanted. Lovely old tea cups and tea pots, brightly colored pottery egg cups, many luncheon cloths embroidered long ago and a few pieces of furniture.

We brought home painted-flower juice glasses (on my kitchen window sill now), a teapot Anet fell for and 2 others I couldn’t leave behind, a stout little blue sugar bowl with “arms” on “hips”, an unusual old aluminum spatula. You get the idea. Each of these treasures was inexpensive, many cost only a dollar. We got everything into the car and then we looked closely at the furniture which for some odd reason had not sold.

A pair of pink-orange garden chairs, 2 for $15; a really nice upholstered loveseat-size couch for $5 and a flowered rug, maybe 8 by10 feet, also $5. Too good to pass up; we called our friend Peter with a truck. Kindly, he brought it all to our house. Now I’m making room.

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