Friday, February 27, 2009

Saturday 2/21/09

This morning I visited sales with a reporter and a photographer from the Atlanta Constitution. The reporter was doing a story for the business section on yard sales and was employing my expertise for the story.

McLendon Ave. - Candler Park “Moving sale”

In the front yard of an older bungalow a bohemian young couple were selling off their belongings to move to Guatemala to make music and art. They did not have an excessive amount of clutter to divest. When I arrived they had just sold a round dinning room table and their other belongings were quickly being picked up by early morning shoppers. In the yard I found a collection of hand woven shopping bags, an unruly pile of clothing, an alien puppet, a collage depicting a chicken, some glassware, shoes, a box of bread crumbs, some spices, a St. Jude candle and several plastic snakes. On the porch among some kitchen items was a half full bottle of Everclear grain alcohol. They said someone had left it at their house after a party. Among the books I found “For Your Own Good”, the Lonely Planet guide to South America, an Italian English dictionary, “Culture and Development”, “Critical Thinking” and “The Book of Answers”. The photographer took several pictures of the buyer of the alien puppet.
I bought nothing.

Snakes being sold by couple moving to Guatemala.

E. Clifton Rd. – Druid Hills “Estate Sale”

I was happy to be able to take my guest to this event so they could encounter the full wonders of a lifetime of accumulation inside a home. When I led them down the steps to a basement brimming with clutter I remarked, “It’s like an archeological dig here” they seemed to like that. The basement was full with a horde of collected cameras and related photographic paraphernalia, old magazines, piles of gift wrap, ancient college text books, personal memorabilia as well as the usual hardware and accessories that fill basements after so many years. The camera room was quite impressive. A seemingly endless array of point and shoot camera from nearly every decade of the last century. There were boxes of flashbulbs and endless accessories. Filters and lens caps were piled like poker chips on a card table. Slide projectors, slides, negatives, straps, flash attachments, an occasional manual, cables and empty cases all contributed to the photographic confusion. The owner of all this wandered the basement as well proud of the gathered treasures he was divesting himself of. Other things on this level included an old Royal typewriter, a spittoon and stacks of old Lps. In this mix were occasional personal photographs, cleaning supplies, postcards and old appliances. Some of the appliances had placards on them noting the date they were purchased.
Upstairs there was less confusion, a sofa covered with small framed art prints, a table filled with green stemware, 45 albums from Ethel Merman and Paul Weston and a pile of matted artwork next to a pile of empty frames. In a bedroom a bed was covered in clothing, towels and bedclothes. A bathroom appeared as if still fully in use with a full cabinet of the things one normally keeps in a bathroom.
My guest were pleased and amazed with what they encountered, the reporter bought an old Lp. I bought nothing.

A writer's necessities of days gone by - a manual Royal and a spittoon.

Music for dreaming found in Druid Hills.

Bed laden with clutter.

Rogeretta Dr.- Toco Hills “Yard Sale”

I led my guest to this dead end street to find a ranch style home surrounded by whimsical metal yard sculptures and a carport filled with assorted clutter. By the looks of the stuff gathered there the sellers appeared to have been in some sort of retail business but it was difficult to tell what it really was. When the seller saw the press photographer with his heavy-duty camera and massive lense he at first tried to stop all picture taking. But I changed his attitude by showering ample praise on his taste in yard art, especially the large pink panther constructed out of a propane gas tank. The photographer from the AJC calmed him further by saying they were he to take pictures of me taking pictures of his stuff. The seller then proceeded to show me the items he was most proud of. One of which was a stroller for a dog. He also tried to get me to take a look and the cases of books he had piled in the side yard. He had once been a bookseller and was now trying to get rid of the tomes at ten bucks a box. I asked him if any of the book buyers with the ISBN scanners had come by. He said they attempted to open the boxes to scan the contents for valuable editions but he chased them off. In all the seller and his wife were far more interesting than most of the stuff they were selling. Except for the large skeleton figure wearing a tuxedo hanging from the carport. This item also attracted the attention of the AJC cameraman and I had to pose in front of it for dozens of pictures. In addition to all this there was old backpacks, dolls, model airplanes, old Lps, a good deal of ceramic figurines, a large plush M&M, some large plastic toys, metallic pinecones and a very ugly metal owl.
I bought nothing.

Propane tank panther guarding Toco Hills home.

Rolling dog stroller, this device could also be used for unruly children.

Wineleas Rd.- Druid Heights “Yard Sale”

This sale was pretty minimalist compared to the last two events. Behind a small simple bungalow was this massive garage large enough to hide two city buses. Inside the garage were a two tables sparsely covered with stuff for sale. On the floor of the garage were brand new boxes containing sinks, appliances, as well as kitchen and bath hard ware. There was also a hot tub but I was not sure if this was for sale. Among the smaller stuff was a tire, a pair of crutches, two old Mousekerteers 45’s, a mirror, two uninteresting lamps, and a disposable unused Xmas tablecloth.
This sale was only interesting for its marked contrast to the prior sales.
I bought nothing.

Kitchen sink found in massive garage.

McLendon Dr. – Rehobeth “Multifamily Sale”

This was a bit small for a multifamily event. Here two women watched over a small amount of stuff gathered under a festival tent. Among the stuff there was a pair of cat eye sunglasses, a unopened box of fake eyelashes, a mug with a cow’s face on it, a open bottle of Patchouli bath gel, a butterfly chair, a wig, some clothing and a pile of CD’s without cases. I bought ten somewhat scratched 80’s Cd’s (Joy Division, Bauhaus etc...) for 25 cents each. The reporter bought a leather purse.
Most of the Cds played when I got home.

Used bottle of bath gel and cow faced mug.

Burgundy Dr. – Rehobeth “Yard Sale”

The final sale we stopped at was a good example of a sale with mostly kids stuff but something the reporter needed to see. In the carport of a small home was a disorderly pile of children’s stuff that had been rooted thorough by buyers for several hours. A pile of dolls, a more disorderly pile of children’s clothing and a scattering of tiny shoes. In the final shot the photographer took of me I was splayed on the driveway with my camera aimed at the shoes. That picture is shown here. And yes I bought nothing.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

2/14/09 No one has sales on Valentine's Day except…

Yard sales are not romantic. Spending all morning hauling piles of clutter out to the lawn and dealing with annoying early birds does not spell romance in any language regardless of your gender or sexual orientation. As for myself I went out seeking sales while my spouse was still asleep. She had told me to pick up some candles if I found any. Buying candles is somewhat romantic. Here’s what I did find.

Virgil St. - Inman Park “Moving Sale”

This was inside a small home and when the sellers saw my camera they said no pictures. It was not a big loss since there was not much to take pictures of. Among the few things in this sale were a rack of women’s clothing, a treadmill, and a pile of motivational business books. The two women holding the sale did not appear to be having a good Valentine’s Day.

Holtzclaw St. – Reynoldstown “Moving Sale”

The only other sale today was a more lighthearted event where a couple seemed to appear happy to be ridding their home of clutter so they could move. On their porch were selections of candles including one of the largest candles I have ever laid eyes on. The burnable mass of wax was over two feet in diameter and had at least five wicks. If placed on a pedestal it could serve as an end table. There were also three relatively smaller candles for sale. Also on the porch was a large decorative star, some foot wear, a sign that simply said ‘stairs’, a large light up bear figure, two decks of Hello Kitty playing cards, a framed photo of a chef cooking pasta and a bottle of hand soap.
Inside the house laid out on a coffee table was a box of ugly costume gnarly teeth, a meat and game cookbook, a few DVD’s including The Occult History of the third Reich, Chinese Hercules, Freddy vs. Jason and CSA, the mockumentary about the south winning the civil war. Also in the home were several original pieces of artwork for sale and in the bedroom was a king-size bed for sale that looked as thought it had just been slept in.
I attempted to buy the copy of CSA and the three smaller candles. But when I opened my wallet I discovered that Cindy had taken all my cash for a late night trip to the wine store.
I returned later with cash in hand to make my purchase but found that the copy of CSA was taken. Cindy appreciated the candles.

Massive candle, foot shown for measurement purposes.

Art found on V Day in Reynoldstown.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Rebirth of Confusion and Clutter 2/7/09

This morning I set out with Cindy for the first full morning of yard sale activity this year. Cindy normally does not like to go because she says she always buys things she does not need nor can afford.

Harold Ave. – Lake Claire “Yard Sale”

This sale was just a block away but was a disappointing way to begin the morning. There was not much in this yard, two CRT monitors, a box of old computer cables, a pile of clothing, two used bottles of shampoo, a cocktail shaker, a non descript lamp, a empty album for holding commemorative quarters and two small electronic keyboards.
We bought nothing.

Greenwood Ave. – Virginia Highlands “Garage Sale”

The site for this sale was an older apartment building in Virginia Highlands. At the entrance I ran into a former Peak Sister (Shelbra) who was also in search of the sale. The front door to the building was locked so we went around to the side where I found the door to the laundry room open. In a basement room past the washers and dryers was what appeared to just large unkempt piles of old plumbing and electrical hardware. I asked a man there if this was the sale. He told me he had not organized the stuff down here but it really looked like the stuff had simply been tossed into this dark room years ago. I perused the plumbing stuff and found a showerhead I could use for an upcoming installation I’m doing. Meanwhile Cindy and Shelbra Peak had come upon what really might be the sale in an adjacent garage. Here the clutter was sparser and slightly more organized. Among the stuff scattered about was a large stack of small pieces of tongue and groove flooring, a shop vac with a plastic pumpkin sitting on top of it, a large kitchen sink and a framed photograph of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly.
I bought the showerhead.

Yard sale or just accumulated debris?

Rosewood Ave. Morningside “Yard Sale”

This was a larger event both in scope and disorganization. Here far too much stuff was spread across a much too small yard of a brick Tudor bungalow. The majority of it appeared to be kids toys and holiday decor but it was so scrambled that it was hard to tell what was a toy and what was not. Adding to the confusion was a large herd of shoppers perusing and further confusing the collection, not to mention the covey of neighborhood children frolicking in the debris in the harsh morning light.

Among the clutter I found a chainsaw (swiftly grabbed by a female buyer), a box of cheap ceramic angels, an oversized plush Easter Bunny, an old low end drum machine, a box with containers of spray paint, grout and fabric softener and a large plastic bin filled with dirty work gloves. Among the confusion I also found an assortment of still in the box useless appliances, such as a Smores Maker and a Children’s Pizza Oven. While we wandered about the sellers attempted to control the confusion but seemed to be losing the battle. At one point they erected a clothing rack in the driveway only to have it collapse leaving an even more chaotic pile of clothes.
We bought nothing but enjoyed the experience.

Disorder on display.

Somehow when stuff gets confused baskets always appear.

Seasonal figure among the clutter.

Mason Woods Dr. - Emory “Estate Sale”

I had not been to a true full blown inside the home estate sale in some time so I was delighted to stop here. I was even more delighted to seen that the estate owners had hardly even thrown anything away and were living in a fire marshal’s nightmare. The home was well kept but the extent of the clutter was beyond the scope of reason. To some people having a basement means that you can keep everything that ever comes into your life and this was evident in this large ranch style home. The upper rooms of the house maintained a certain level of order with the estate sellers having arrayed silver, jewelry and more seemingly valuable stuff within sight of where they had set up the cashier’s station. But the further one got from this point the more confusing and cluttered the house became.

The epicenter of this crowded confusion was of course the basement. On the lower level dwelt the remains of the lives of children, the celebration of over decorated holidays and the graveyard of unfinished projects. The vintage children’s things were interesting for their age as well as their quantity. Among the things I uncovered in the dim light were countless boxes of games, partially completed plastic aircraft models, wooden blocks, Pez dispensers, broken roller skates, an endless variety of dolls, paper dolls children’s books with quaint covers, toy swords, jigsaw puzzles, boxes of magic tricks and doll house furnishings of all varieties of size. One back room was a children’s bedroom or playroom with a large hand drawn poster that paid tribute to a fantasy GTO.

Another room downstairs was packed from floor to ceiling with rolls and bolts of fabric. A nearby bathroom was overflowing with dreadful Xmas décor. The holiday items covered the toilet and flowed into the bathtub. Remnants of personal memorabilia were peppered all about the confusion, a high school diploma, trophies, framed family photographs, awards and boxes of mail and holiday cards lay about to be tossed around by rude treasure seekers. Added to this mix was sheet music, college textbooks, large and small tools, pieces of a model train set, old copies of airline magazines and strange small cookbooks.

The other rooms upstairs things were somewhat more ordered but equally crowded. Among the outstanding find here were old prom dresses, Russian travel ephemera, boxes of pot holders, unopened packages of linens and toiletries, cases of old cassette tapes, and cheap hand tools. One of the more remarkable finds was the “Half Pint” a portable urinal for young boys still in it’s original box. It appeared unused.
The clutter even ran outside the house where piles of garden tools lay in a jumble next to cypress knees, postcards, knives and more Holiday décor.
Cindy bought an antique floor lamp for $45.

Excess Xmas decor covering commode.

Retro kiddy lit or cookbook?

More children's reading matter.

One of the many dolls found in the basement.

Unused bathroom carpet.