Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll: Swap Meet!

I spent this weekend digging through a few hundred stalls at the biggest rummage sale I have ever seen in a little town called Packwood. Fortunately for me, I knew exactly what I wanted to find.

Namely, a cast iron griddle and a small cast iron pan and a big ol’ bowl from the ’50s in which I can mix up cookies or dough and feel special. While I didn’t succeed with the latter, I super succeeded with the former and picked up my pans for a couple of bucks (people don’t know what cast iron is worth, I’m telling you!).

All of this digging for treasure makes me wonder about your own second-hand store/rummage sale discoveries. Are you the sort of person who likes to dig through Goodwill for finds or attend the local swap meet?

By Michelle Miller

Michelle Miller is a twenty-something blogger, cook, freelance writer and editor living in Seattle, Washington. She’s a feminist trying ever-so-hard to embrace her spaces, conventional or not. She looks forward to numerous bad hair days, burnt cremes, a soapbox or two, and maybe (just maybe) a yellow polka-dot bikini in the years ahead.

19 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: Swap Meet!”

No, I’m not a digger. Not in yard sales and good-will shops anyway. Give me an attic or garden shed and some gloves and I’m there. I mean up my room and digging through pre-school stuff is a great day of entertainment and reminiscing for me. Places like that are full of stories.

Hey, attics and garden sheds are just as good! Why, recently my mother-in-law pulled out the most beautiful antique cast iron pot her mother had used. That’s the sort of thing that’s valuable to me not because I could get it at any rummage sale, but because of the stories attached to it.

Sadly, yard sales have not really caught on in Australia. You have to really hunt for one if that’s what you’re looking for (and it might take you all over the city). We once had a yard sale though outside our apartment building on the sidewalk and sold $500 worth of stuff in 4 hours because people were so curious about what we were doing! I guess it’s better to sell than to buy here…

I’m really surprised to hear that rummage/garage/yard sales may be a primarily North American pastime. Still, I love that you were able to play off the novelty and do real well at your garage sale. I can just imagine people being like, “What are these odd people doing?”

I am making a concentrated effort to declutter my life and get rid of some of the stuff that I am hanging on to for no good reason. To that end I am avoiding flea markets and the like (no adding stuff until the current stuff is organized and under control). I might go to one to try and hunt up some bookshelves though. I need a set of bookshelves to help with unfucking by boxes of books (and once those shelves are full it’s time to start sending books to the library donation box).

My mom and stepdad used to have an antique shop, so they found many treasures over the years at estate, rummage, and yard/garage sales. My mom hit the jackpot many times on books at estate sales. She has a few first editions from the 17 and 1800s that she got in box lots for absurdly cheap prices. I have a pretty Edwardian necklace I got at a yard sale for $15, and before cool lucite purses were a thing, I gathered quite a collection by hitting up yard sales.

My aunt and uncle are antiques collectors/dealers, and I’ve gotten many a treasure from them just because they ran out of room to store it or didn’t want it anymore. Most recently and notably, they gave me a canvas and wood steamer trunk that is the centerpiece of my living room. One of the handles needs to be replaced, but I like it kind of broken. It has charm.

Yes and no. I appreciate gorgeous stuff at bargain prices as much as anyone, but at my income level I need to be quite frugal and am trying to keep what little space I have clutter-free, so the policy is to only buy things I actually need. Therefore my antiquing mostly consists of occasionally browsing eBay for good-quality clothes on the cheap.

Estate sales!  I get two things out of going to estate sales; cool vintage items and kitchen gadgets that I would never pay full price for AND I get a reminder to not accumulate crap b/c it all just ends up on tables being pawed through by strangers!

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