Sunday, November 04, 2007

Things I've Learned

Here's what I've learned in the last little while....

A house can hold a lot of stuff. But op shops are good for giving as well as finding. If you have quilt fabric that is excess to requirements and are in Sydney, may I recommend the Crowle Foundation at Ryde? They support people with disabilities and sell it in their Fabric Nook as craft fabric, not rags (I am studiously avoiding visiting their Fabric Nook, taking them quilt fabric at times when I know the shop is closed!).

A garage sale can sell a bunch of stuff, but you never can tell what will go. Just assume that if you've decided to part with it, don't be ambitious about price - it's about clearing space, not making a fortune. Nobody cares what you paid for it, just how little they can pay for it. That's OK, you probably do the same as a customer...

A tool belt (Bunnings hardware, $5.95) makes an excellent change apron/fanny pack for a garage sale. Several pockets, and easy to wear. And useful as a tool belt, too. Wear your most comfortable, supportive shoes on garage sale day. You'll be on your feet a lot.

There will always be one weirdo customer at a garage sale. Make sure your garage sale has at least two people 'staffing' it, to cope with the weirdo. No sir, I don't particularly want to discuss details of my life with you. Just buy or don't, but you're not buying biography (there were a couple of people who really seemed desperate to chat with somebody, anybody. When I'm at a garage sale, I'm there for the stuff, not for long chats). But for that one weirdo, there will be lots of pleasant people. Some will buy stuff, too. The earlybirds are a bit on the nose (gee I wish they weren't illiterate, and could read times/numbers), and the pushy ones, but most are pleasant and no trouble.

My local government area is very unreconstructed in the garbage tip dept - it's not much of a recycling centre, but a toss-it-on-the-pile tip (but a naughty bit of you gets huge joy at hurling a garbage bag of rubbish onto said pile...) (nothing recyclable in the garbage bag, I hasten to add - but we could see other recyclables that had been tossed).

Council garbage tip signs always make me chuckle, dead fridges or stoves on their side with garish/obvious spray painted directions. This one also used dead footballs and soccer balls as traffic cones.

The universe has a sense of humour. Just when I'm carefully culling, I drifted into a Vinnies, just for a moment, very conscious of the irony.... and came out with an absolutely perfect DVD bookcase. There's a spot on one side of the mantelpiece which, it had already occurred to me, would be just dandy for a DVD bookcase. I had indeed measured it up, and discussed the matter in general terms with one of the carpenter codgers. And there, in Vinnies, for less than the price of the timber, a bookcase of almost perfect height, width, depth, and with a design that's kissing cousins with the Ikea Leksvik bookcases in the same room (why did Ikea discontinue that gorgeous grey-green colour in Leksvik???). Photos to come.

The (Ikea Bertby) cupboard that the codgers put up the other weekend now has a light at the top, and the wash of light down through green glass and glass shelves makes it a beautiful glowing thing in the corner of the dining room. Photos to come (at night, my camera gets bamboozled by the light, so I'll try during the day when the contrast is less).

Small boys may lack irony, but not a sense of humour. Little nevvy pulls out a bright Hawaiian shirt from a pile, waves it at his dad, laughs and says, "It's a daggy Daddy shirt", before pulling it on and dancing about, chuckling. Brownie points for knowing about daggy Daddy shirts, kiddo, but it's going to be funny to tell your kids about this, one day when you're the daddy...!

The plumbing knows when you're busy with other stuff around the home, and will considerately conk at this time in assorted ways.

If you're having a garage sale on Saturday, it will rain on Saturday and be fine on Sunday. Because it can. Don't let it worry you - the universe has a sense of humour, remember?

Ikea (no, I don't have season tickets, why do you ask????) has in its Christmas range some rather nice plastic bags that are $2.95 and much classier alternative to ''Hong Kong shopping bags" for quilt transporting.

Maggie Alderson had an excellent article on pre-loved homewares in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald Good Weekend magazine. Can't find it online, apologies. She talks about the patina and power second-hand things have from "being touched and used by a lot of different hands", relating her furnishing practices to the San Francisco Compacters in how they cut consumption and give things a second life. These are her principles of being an "interior compacter":
  • Get to know your local junk emporia
  • Make friends with the proprietors
  • Go further afield
  • Channel what you need - you will probably find it
  • Think outside the box
  • Transform things
  • Be patient and think of your home as a constantly changing organic being
  • Never stop looking
  • Buy it when you see it
  • Upgrade when you find better
  • Get ideas from books and home mags

She finishes with the lovely note that the art in her home is new, because it arrives in your life with the soul already in it. (More about the Compact here).

Close the sliding door before drilling into the wall to hang a shelf/cupboard. Don't ask. Also, set the cordless drill to charge two hours before you need it, if you haven't used it in a while. But don't forget to close that door....


candyschultz said...

We are antique dealers (in a very small way) and garage sales have been our passion for over thirty years. Your description is perfect. I guess people are pretty much the same everywhere. Yeah, I knew that. As a dealer in antiques I do appreciate the loveliness of a pre-owned object or work of art. They are so much more substantial than all the crap being manufactured nowadays. Hope you made lots of money and sorry about your plumbing.

Lindi said...

I don't have to ask, I can picture it! I assume the door slides into the wall cavity...oops!