Mar 15, 2023

Estate Sale Adventure

 I went to my first ever estate sale this past weekend. Truth be told, it wasn't really an "adventure" but My First Estate Sale just didn't sound as catchy a title. Every time I hear the phrase estate sale, my brain instantly brings up images of a huge, mansion like home. Maybe it's Batman 66's fault for using "stately Wayne manor" all he time. But no, this was a two story house just down the street from me.

 Along with the mansion, I always pictured it being some kind of high falutin event. What it actually is, is random people walking through and scouring the house for items. Imagine one day, something unexpected happens to you then people walk into your house. That's it. No pomp, no circumstance, just strangers looking at your stuff. Now, I don't know what happened to the owner(s) of the house but they were obviously older folk(s) based on the contents of the house.

It is a little weird (even for me) to walk through a stranger's house with the presumption that they recently passed away, especially alongside other people I don't know. Looking through the house, it was obvious that the man of the house was a photographer. There were several books about it, some wall plaques from the 50s & 60s for a local photography group, and he even had a darkroom in the basement.

Speaking of the basement, it was quite the workshop! 

In addition to what you see here, there was also a lathe, a drill press, and probably some other stuff I missed because just about every inch of the basement was packed with something. I'm not sure if this was the same condition it would normally be in or a result of this being the second weekend of people tossing the place.
It might almost look creepy if not for the laundry area right next to it.

This was also in the basement and I can't help but wonder if someone has the combination and what it holds. Also, the last name on the safe is not the name of the people that lived in the house. Maybe there's a story there. Also I'm wondering how the hell you get this thing down a flight of stairs into the basement.

If this was in better condition I probably would have picked it up...or at the least asked how much they wanted for it. As it was, it was missing the first 15 pages so I couldn't determine the year. The pages that were still there were barely hanging on.

How about some retro tech? I mean, it's a radio, can you even call it tech nowadays? There were also a couple of micro cassette recorders with tapes still in them. Another item that piqued my curiosity as to what the contents could be.

The fireplace mantle had gathered most of the clocks in the house. This is only about a third of the mantle and its clock compliment.

I'll admit, I didn't know who Paula Kelly was (she sang with Miller's band) but a signed photo of Glenn Miller is pretty cool, daddy-o!

These last two are my favorite shots. They may not be nightmare fuel, but they could be nightmare kindling...

This cowpoke has a wind-up music box inside that plays Home on the Range. 
I did NOT try it out.

This little lady was sitting up on a shelf about eye level. The way the room lighting hit it and the surroundings really got my attention so I had to snap a pic.

Finally, can you even legally have an estate sale without one of these?


  1. Eerie, I think of things like the life that went on there, day to day. That first piece is so damn familiar to me. I think my grandmother had it, or something very similar. Flashback in my brain.

  2. I wouldn't have taken a pic of it except I noticed they were unicorns instead of horses and I don't usually see things like that with fantasy animals on them.

  3. That happened to me once many years ago. It was sometime in the late 70s. We were moving into the house after the couple had passed away and the family had an estate sale before we moved in. I remember walking around and looking at things from someone else's lives from the past. Strangers to me, family to them. Ghost stories are cool when they are fantasy but this is the kind of stuff that haunts me every day. Sometime, in the not too distant future, my stuff will be here long after I am gone. Great post.

    1. It's definitely strange to think "what if something happened to us today" and that people would be going through my house...probably trying to figure out what happened to the kids we don't have because of all the toys :D

  4. I've been going to estate sales since the late '90's. I shunned them in my early years of garage saling. Something about the line of people waiting to pillage the house was a turn off. To be honest, it still is, so I generally avoid going at opening unless there's something specific there that I want.
    Woodshops, bars, and photo development labs seem to be a standard among the 50's and 60's homes I go to. Sadly, that generation is passing quickly and I suspect soon they will be few and far between. Unfortunately, that's my sweet spot for things I'm interested in. The odd thing is, I haven't seen a whole lot of 70's homes. It seems like the estate sales I go to are either 50's/60's or go straight to 90's homes. I'm not sure if the 70's generation all moved to newer homes later in life and purged their inventory or what.

    Fun post. I've been wanting to do a kind of "day in the life" post for estate and garage saling, but I'm always too busy digging to take pictures.

    1. There were A LOT of crafting magazines from the 80s in the craft room but based on other things (and the odd photo) these folks were likely in their 70s/80s and it looks like they'd be living here for quite awhile judging by the contents.

  5. Oh, forgot to mention. That Glenn Miller autographed photo is cool, but oof, the price. Although, looking on eBay, that appears to be the going rate.

  6. Wow. Never been to an estate sale. Glad you shared though. Interesting stories just looking at the photos. Wow - dark room, definitely a 60s/70s thing.

    1. With all the photo related stuff I saw, this person was seriously into photography