Estate Sale Ruminations

Jan 9, 2023

I love going to estate sales. Most of you know that about me. I’ll be honest with you: buying more “stuff” hasn’t been my goal for a very long time. Yes, occasionally I’ll buy a book, or a record, or some tools. The thing that truly piques my interest, however, is getting a glimpse into the past, behind closed doors that never would have been open otherwise. Like walking through archaeological ruins, estate sales fascinate me. I see homes where people used to live and who obviously once cared a lot about their spaces. Fancy serving plates. Sculpted backyard gardens. Garage workbenches. Sewing rooms. Through sickness, death, apathy, or any multitude of reasons, these places become neglected and eventually fall prey to the careless hands of the throngs of estate sale diggers and pickers.

This thought is never far from my mind when I’m carefully cultivating the style of my house, arranging collector’s items that mean a lot to me, or simply keeping a home filled with love and laughter and joie de vivre. I know some day these same careless pickers will be digging through my stuff, making a huge mess, and eradicating the lovely place that I called home. I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated watching this process happen to dead people’s homes, but like a train wreck, I can’t seem to look away.

And of course, every now and then I will dig some impossibly rare treasure out of a pile of forgotten rubble, and I feel like maybe I have saved and preserved one tiny part of that person’s legacy. One thing is for sure, though, no matter how much stuff you accumulate, your time on this planet isn’t very long, and it’s over before you know it.