check the teapot!

garage saleGarage sale season has started.

Personally, I have never been a fan of the garage sale. Probably because they are so early in the morning and I am NOT a morning person. Any garage sales I’ve been to should more aptly have been called “garbage” sales but I am told that you have to get there at 6:00AM to get the “best stuff”.

My ex-husband was a garage sale junkie for a while and he used to come home with some interesting stuff. Do you remember the old saying:

one man’s garbage is another man’s gold?

One day, he came home with a large bag full of dirty dinky cars, happy meal toys, lego pieces and other broken small toy pieces saying “only a dollar!” By the time we went through it, I think we ended up with 4 or 5 dinky cars and a super ball for my son.

He didn’t always come home with “gold”.

I’ve even thrown a few garage sales in my time. My first ever garage sale to participate in was a street sale with our neighbours – there were about 14 houses involved. It was a fun day, my in-laws came to sell their woodworking and we made a decent amount of money.

So, I confess, there was a time when you could make good money by selling; from your driveway; stuff that has outworn it’s welcome in your home. But those days are gone.

The last garage sale I was a part of saw people trying to haggle me down from a quarter to a nickel. Really? I had one person ask for stuff for free because

it obviously isn’t worth anything anyway.

And then there was the “shoplifter”. Oh yeah, stuck a couple items in his pocket! Seriously dude, it’s a dollar. I just shook my head, I’m no Starsky or Hutch so I wasn’t going after him.

This is what I haul myself out of bed at the crack of stupid for!

But you do hear stories of people finding valuables at garage sales – a long missing Picasso painting, a royal rug, a ming vase?

And it’s one of those stories I have for you today. True Story, I swear. Just got off the phone with my brother-in-law.

My brother-in-law is a “collector”. You can talk to his wife and she may not use the same term but, today, we’ll call him a “collector”. He knows his stuff about antiques and he does go to a lot of garage sales. And he does find bits here and there that are worth more than the seller is aware.

So, today he finds a teapot on display atop the rickety fold out card table amongst the collection of sellables in someone’s driveway. Looks old, might be something. He turns it over to see if there is a marking on the bottom – perhaps it’s worth more than the $4 they are asking for it. As he turns it over, he hears a “thud” inside. ?? He turns it back and takes off the lid. Inside, there was a rolled up wad of bills wrapped with an old elastic. A money roll!

My brother-in-law is an honest man so, of course, he didn’t stick the roll in his pocket and go on his way. He took it to the person running the garage sale. They were shocked! The teapot belonged to her parents and hadn’t been touched since her mother passed many years ago. They were only selling it because their father had passed and they needed to clean out the house.

Her mother had a “secret stash”? (good for her!)

They were curious so they counted it. There was almost $1200 in there!

Our kids and grandkids won’t remember but there was a time before credit and debit cards when people used to hide money in their homes – put away for an emergency or a “rainy” day. And the people who used to do that are OUR parents. (I don’t think my mom even owns a debit card)

So the moral of the story is: if you are cleaning out because your parents are downsizing or perhaps they have passed, be sure to have a good look everywhere.

There may something hidden in that old hatbox, or at the back of the bureau drawer and, for heavens sake – check the teapot!

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