As you may recall, I've been preparing for an auction sale of my parents' stuff for MONTHS now. This past Saturday was A-Day. I survived to share with you the 10 Things I Learned At My Own Auction Sale:
1. Do not get between women and boxes of fabric, pattern books, buttons and other craft items.
---My mom was an elementary teacher by day and professional crafter by night. To say we had a lot of craft items would be an understatement. Someone suggested to me that I should be keeping mom's craft and sewing stuff as I have children who would like to make things. I informed them that if I, my three children, and my husband were to craft 24/7/365, we would still have stuff 10 years later. Frankly, I was really worried that I would be hauling all that stuff back home. For I have been to auctions that fabric (when it sold) went for a dollar a box! Such was not the case on Saturday. These women came to buy and they would not leave empty handed. The first boxes of fabric went for $40 and she bought three of them! I almost fainted.
2. Do not get between woodturning men and their tools.
---My dad was a master woodturner and a member of Dakota Woodturners for many years. Two of his best friends in the club came up on Wednesday to help us sort wood and tools and to make sure that all of the machines had all the parts they needed. These guys know their tools and they know wood, we couldn't have put it together without them! One of the first things to sell was 6 flats of my dad's woodturning tools. And because he was a master, they were well used. In my mind I'm thinking, "People won't pay much for used tools." Boy, was I wrong! The bidding was fast, furious and high. Again, I almost fainted.
3. My church ladies have still got it!
---My home church (and I use that term literally, I grew up in that church with those people) ladies served the lunch at the sale. And what a lunch it was! My kids and husband ate lunch at least twice. I gave Kiddo1 6 quarters at the start of the day and said, "If you want a bar or some water, give Kathy 2 of your quarters and she'll help you pick something out." I think her money was gone by 11am. The food was plentiful and delicious...and just like I remember it!
4. Resist the urge to bid on things at your own sale.
---I love going to auction sales. When I was single, it was my weekend entertainment. If I was headed north, I'd pick up my dad and we'd go together. I have bought a lot of stuff at sales and love bidding. So it was very difficult for me to stand at an auction and not buy something. I thought at times, "Oh, that's pretty and that's a good price, I should get it." And then I stopped myself from raising my hand out of habit. "This is YOUR STUFF, keep your hand down!"
5. When you turn your back for a minute, your kids will get into someone's purchase and break something.
---Thankfully, it was my mom's best friend and she just laughed and assured me it was just fine. (One GIANT sigh of relief right there.)
6. Do not get between women and "fancy work".
---Both of my grandmothers did a LOT of handwork. (See, I come by my obsession honestly. I can't help it, it's genetic.) My maternal grandmother lived in town and therefore had a LOT more time in which to produce crocheted items. We'll use the word prolific. I kept what I wanted and then sold boxes and boxes and boxes of linens, doilies, lace edging, etc. My goodness! That was just for my cast-offs, what would they have done for the good stuff??
7. Sale day was a happy day.
---So many people, including my own mother, asked me if I was going to be OK. If I was sad or upset to see all the things being sold. Nope! Do you know when I was sad and upset? When I was eyeball deep in boxes and there was no end in sight. That's when I struggled. I was so tickled that all of those things were finding new homes that I just about did a jig. (But I didn't, because that would have surely drove away some buyers...)
8. If you need furniture, go to an auction!
---I should have remembered that I outfitted my pre-Hubby home with auction sale furniture for cheap. Dressers, bed, tables, couches. Man, go to an auction! I gave away a dresser with mirror after the auction because I didn't want to move it home.
9. An almost empty house never looked so good.
---My sister came home to help me for two days. When I showed her my parents room that now only contained three pieces of furniture, she went up to the north wall and said, "I don't think I've ever touched this wall!" And she walked through the entrance and said, "I don't think this has ever echoed!" It was an entirely different, and much larger, house sans 40 years of accumulated stuff.
10. We couldn't have done it without our friends.
---We had so much to move into the sale site. Mountains of stuff. Boxes upon boxes. Bundles and bundles. Large tools. Furniture. I put out the call for help to our home church family, friends and neighbors to come at 1pm on Wednesday. My hope was that we could move it all that day, but I didn't know. There was just so much. But our friends started arriving at 9:30. Clark came and said, "I came early, I figured you could use some extra help." I almost kissed him. Lori arrived at 10:30, "Let's get started." I lost track of when everyone else got there, but we were in full swing by 1. Pickups, trailers, vans and cars all loaded up and came into town and were unloaded by a flurry of willing hands and strong backs. And we were done by 5:30! I couldn't believe it. But then I could, because this is community that I came from. We help each other. It's what we do. Hubby and I would still be moving boxes if we tried to do it on our own. I'm so thankful to be blessed with a community that gives of their time, strength and love.