Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Things We Do For Love

aka No Good Deed Yadda Yadda Yadda

If you guys remember a couple of years ago my mom was trying to sort through and get rid of a bunch of crap and collections my step-dad (her late husband who passed away 4-5 years ago) had amassed over 75-plus years that were stuffed in her basement.

Bless her heart. She's spent the last few years trying to find good homes for some of this stuff. Since they didn't have any children together, she made sure that all his family heirlooms went to the obscure relatives on both sides of his surviving family however far and wide they might be.

There were over 2000 books---mostly theological (he was a Presbyterian Minister) that she called seminaries all over the country to try to donate them to, but since a lot of gone digital, it was hard going. They did take his yearbooks for their collections though. :-)

One of his collections was over 700 78-records. A friend from her church had a nephew or somebody who was an "expert" appraiser of that venue. He looked over the collection, told her that they weren't worth more than 10 cents a piece and offered her like 100 bucks for it all.

I said no, let me take a look, brought about 30 heavy boxes home. Sold most of it for 11 thousand dollars on Ebay. Feh, That mofo better cross the street when he sees me coming. But now that little endeavor has made me the "go to" gal for finding value in crap that family and senior friends have stashed in their attics.

Since she has remarried, she's agreed to try to get rid of more stuff from her basement. The biggest problem is that she just won't THROW ANYTHING AWAY! So I haul a trunkfull of stuff two hours home and throw it away here.

Several months ago, she gave me a box of shag-carpet toilet covers from the 70's. Seriously. The elastic was completely destroyed, making them unusable (as if the colors wouldn't make you run screaming from the room). This last time (her recent wedding) I took away with me a buttload of 70's Xmas centerpieces made of plastic pine needles.

I also came away with several drawers full of expired film (she was dithering about them, no sentimental value, didn't know if she should throw them away or not so I just dumped them in a bag and loaded them into my car). She also gave me some albums and boxes of vintage postcards my step-dad collected.

So being a "get to it" kind of person, I dutifully listed a bunch of this stuff on ebay. Amazingly enough, the expired film got snatched up right away (who'd have figured?) and there was a lot of lively bidding. I mentioned it to her---astounded that there was actually a market for this stuff---and what did she say?

"Maybe we should keep some of it to help sell the camera equipment!"


I explained to her that once somebody started bidding on items, you couldn't just pull them off auction unless you discovered some major flaw that you hadn't disclosed or the item was destroyed. Once you have bids, you have a contract.

Postcards aren't nearly as bad as 78's, at least in the storage/haulage department. But you still have to scan each one and edit it. Doing a couple of hundred can eat up a few afternoons. Many of the cards, although vintage, simply aren't collectible. A few garnered a lot of attention and bidding. Like a fool, I chatted with her about it instead of waiting until it was all over.

"Maybe we should keep those if they're valuable", she said.

Face Palm!! Arrggghhh!!

Next up? Pop's stamp collection. From what I've heard from my brother, there are about 60,000 of them.



Katie :o) said...

Oiy! Have fun...

Anonymous said...

My husband comes from a long line of hoarders--so when his grandma died I was kind of shocked at D's sister taking so much crap home. Later I learned she took it home and threw it away there, knowing that her mother was unable to do so and would've just kept hoarding it herself. Had I known, I'd have done the same to help her out!
Good luck with the stamps--but hopefully you're learning to censor your remarks on those ebay sales to your mother!

Willoughby said...

Reminds me of my grandma. When we tried to help her clean out the basement of her house, she told us to take anything we wanted. But if you found something to take, she would say "No, I don't want to get rid of that." It was incredibly frustrating.

Best of luck with the stamp collection!

Gail Dixon said...

I'm a tosser so I never quite understand the need to hang on to stuff. Clutter drives me mad. Good on you to take the time to go through all that and make some money on it. Hope you got to keep a percentage. :)

The Quacks of Life said...

i have this problem with books.......

Anonymous said...

I'm a hoarder.. My husband tears his hair out cause I just can't throw anything out. Our attic is jam packed full of stuff but I can't help it. I almost wish he'd just go ahead and throw some of my stuff out without my knowledge, I probably wouldn't notice if he did!! **shhhh!!**

Brenda said...

I can understand someone keeping things that they think might be needed by someone, some day. I believe it is because some folks have really "done without" at some point in their lives and it causes you to hang on to things to prepare for lean times.

apricoco said...

Oh expired film IS AWESOME. I buy it purposely sometimes. Because what ends up happening is that the silver oxidizes and creates effects on your pictures that is random and can give it some visual interest. Or, it comes out blank. But, the fun is in the waiting to see what you get. Also, if you were selling non-standard sized film, very high ISO/ASA (above 400 or 600), or polaroid (since it's no longer manufactured) you'd get quite a premium, since it is harder to come by.

Chris H said...

Well.. ya can't say you are bored eh?
Have fun with those stamps!

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Big Daddy Autism said...

What do you want for the shag carpet toilet covers? I'm a collector and I'll pay top dollar.

Ann said...

saw your site on Fishhawks blog and came over for a peek. Wow, you cleaned up with ebay. Maybe I should clean out my basement :)

gayle said...

My husband saves way to much!! It drives me crazy. I wish some of his junk was worth something!

I can see why you are the go to girl!

Joanna Jenkins said...

Welcome to your new full-time job, ATM. It sounds like you'll be busy for a very long time.

And I love that you bring the stuff home and throw it out. You are a very good daughter.

xo jj

Joe said...

Now you've done opened up the floodgates. I come from a family of hoarders and my mom has done the estates of a few family members who have the same affliction. It damn near killed me to toss out a dumpster of stuff when we moved from 1700 sq ft with a garage to 850 sq ft with a carport.