When They Can’t Take It With Them – Garage Sales


I found a carton of 100 bars of black pumice soap for 2.00 at a recent sale. Last night, I rubbed a bar on the dried milk paint on my blue jeans and the paint came out. The pumice is very fine.  It even smells great. I have a mind frame that anything made in America before 1970 is better than anything  for sale in the stores today.

Aqua Shelf Unit

Everything in this picture was found at a rummage or garage sale and all but the crocks and the chair sold the first weekend I had them in the shop. These Victorian folding rocking chairs are only suitable for displaying a doll as the original upholstery probably wouldn’t hold up for to many more years. There are a zillion of these in the marketplace because they were popular during the Victorian era. But, most don’t have their original wool tapestry fabric. A woman could take one of these out on the porch on hot summer evenings, easily move it near the bed to read to a child or pull it in close to the stove in winter.




I found these windows at farm moving sale that my friend Janet talked me into attending with her. She said we would be gone for an hour and we got back six hours later. The windows were up in the rafters of a garage. Black with decades of dirt and in the dark recesses of the high ceiling, I almost didn’t notice them. The windows in the middle picture are truly that vivid. What a once in a lifetime find and all because Janet stopped over for coffee on the way to a sale. This is the first summer I ever went to garage sales. I fill my thermos with coffee, pack a couple of sandwiches and head out towards farm country. My GPS is the most fabulous invention of the last three decades as far as I’m concerned.  I rarely have any idea of where I am but I never get lost. What a marvelous bit of technology.

I meet the friendliest people and have wonderful conversations. I never try to bargain people down from their asking price. If I think the price is too high, I just don’t buy it. The prices are usually so low that it would be an insult. I heard this conversation yesterday. A woman was selling a new attractive, fine quality set of dinnerware. It was blue and white in a floral design. This wasn’t Walmart china. It was good, hard-fired porcelain. The seller, probably in her early 80s was selling the set for 10.00 which she explained to an interested woman was 10 cents a piece. I heard the customer say to the seller, “Would you take 8 cents?”  The owner said, “No, I wouldn’t.” and the customer drove off. One hundred pieces of fine china for 10.00 was not a good enough deal for that garage sale shopper. It makes me crazy. Well, it makes me crazier.



27 thoughts on “When They Can’t Take It With Them – Garage Sales

  1. Ginene,
    I love hearing your success and fun you’re having with your experience with garage sales. Those windows are so absolutely beautiful! And I am digging that soap! You could each one of those, if you so choose. A simple ribbon would be so pretty on each! What a shame it is to hear of that lady’s china being reduced to mere cents by the careless shopper. It makes me crazier too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What wonderful finds!!! I love your approach about not insulting someone by bargaining. I follow the same logic. Most times I feel so grateful to find such amazing bargains I can barely speak, let alone haggle!!! It has been a while since I spent a day garage saling and I miss it so!!! Thanks for taking us along!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great story.. I do not bargain with sellers either.. Seriously gets on my nerves, to hear people trying to steal items. I was at a sale the women had a gold watch and was trying to bargain it down from $25 .. I couldnt keep my tongue I piped up if she doesnt buy it for $25 I will give you $30. The lady bought the watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is priceless, Michelle. I love it. My mother had a garage sale once and there was an unopened double deck of playing cards on the table. They were marked 50 cents. The woman asked, “Would you take a quarter?” Mother said that she was going to stick with the 50 cents. Hours later she realized that the woman stole them!


  4. Ha, Kindred spirits! I love garage sales and thrift store rummaging! It feels like hunting and oh when the bounty is brought home, cleaned and given it rightful place…You have found excellent things and made a ot of people happy who do not like ‘hunting’. Excellent finds and excellent post! BTW those victorian folding chairs must be local? Never saw them anywhere…I did find a gorgeous one from the sixties made in Qeubec. I use and love it very much. xo Johanna

    Liked by 2 people

    • My mother is French Canadian and I am interested in antique French Canadian furniture and furnishings. It is a style unto itself. The quilts are very different than American quilts. I don’t know very much about the subject but I’d like to learn more. I only have one thing that belonged to my French Canadian grandmother and it is a Huron beaded whisk broom holder with a cat on it. My grandmother gave it to me when I was 15 or 16 years old. It belonged to her mother. Funny that all that remains of person’s belongings is a whisk broom holder. I think that great-grandmother died when she was 36 or 38 and she had given birth to 18 children…including twins and triplets.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I simply do not have enough experience in what you do and it makes me admire you in addition to simply liking you a whole lot! That said, we find a lot of cool and remote spots in Indiana and Michigan where folks have wonderful old pieces and bits of furniture. I appreciate their kindness, the conversation and that they for the most part are looking for a ‘good home” for what they are selling.

    You did very well, Ginene, one of the best six hours you’ve probably spent in a long time!!!! :)

    Jane x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jane, I know Michigan and Indiana hold most of the treasures of American history. I love the Midwest and what it stands for. I went to an auction in central Indiana last summer. I love it. But, I will never go again. Driving through Chicago alone with two big pieces of furniture on the roof and the back of the SUV filled so I couldn’t see out was really scary. You’ll have to find them, my friend,


        • I asked an eBay dealer (in Florida) how he amassed thousands of stained glass windows and he said that his company shipped containers from English salvage companies to the U.S. Of course, I asked why so many windows were removed and he said, “I think it was the window tax during the 1800s.” It was the first I heard of a window tax and I was fascinated enough to look up the history. Whether the story he told me is true or if the windows were taken out for another reason, I don’t know. What do you think?


  6. Like the comments before me, I am always amazed that some people will try to bargain down even if it is only a quarter on discount on $1.00 worth of stuff. Someone told me that it was a “cultural” thing to barter and negotiate.

    Any more, we set out an extra chair while having a garage sale. Inevitably someone will “sit down” to rest and chat. It is fun to see who “accepts the invitation” to visit for awhile.

    I so wish we lived closer to your shop! But then again, I would be in there trying to barter you down! LOL It is so much fun to see what you find on your adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure if it is the old horse trader culture or if it is trying to get one up on someone. You are much kinder person that I am, Debbie. However, I would be one of those people who pulls up the chair and sits down. People are so interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Ginene,
    I was told the same thing when purchasing windows in the early 1990’s by a dealer. He said he never knew what he was getting in size, shape or style. He purchased huge lots at auction in London and had them shipped home. This guy was character and a favorite person to visit. The colors and design of your window are beautiful! Derrick is correct! The windows are older than our homes, LOL. Have a good day, Joanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne,
      Thank you so much for adding to the interest of this story. I hope Derrick sees your reply as I’m sure he will know more about this. There may be more to the story the the window tax which was repealed around 1871. There may have been some weatherization movement in the 1990s, I don’t know. The thing I can’t understand is who stored these windows for 120 years or more and why. There is also the chance that long rows of houses were demolished in cities for new buildings. Something I admire about other long-established countries is that they don’t tear buildings down every 30 years like they do here and so that seems a little unlikely. I think Oxford is over 500 years old. Well, Derrick? What say?


  8. I agree. That IS crazy for someone to offer less when it’s already dirt cheap!!!! Good grief! I can’t believe you found all of those beautiful stained glass windows. What a great score! I love the Victorian style tapestry folding chair too. I agree with you regarding the GPS systems available in cars now. Or even on your Iphone. I usually have trouble with directions but those things are wonderful!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. “I have a mind frame that anything made in America before 1970 is better than anything for sale in the stores today.” I feel the same exact way, but I’m sure you know that ;)

    I’d kill for one of those folding Victorian chairs. My problem is that I’d want to use it, but I know I couldn’t. The windows are gorgeous.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great finds and congrats on selling them so quickly!!! I have days like that when I think that I should stay home and clean, and then change my mind and head out. Funny, it’s those days that when I usually am blessed with great finds. I love the story about the windows! I share your sentiment about the 10.00 dishes. Really???!!! I get that all of the time with those who want “better prices” on things I have already priced fairly at the stores. Just yesterday a man “offered” me 20.00 on a 64.00 item. Then he got offended when I didn’t accept his “offer”. Strange…..

    Happy Fall!


    • Becky, I often get offers like that and then find out the person is a dealer. My sister said she saw a sign in an antique shop that read: I find it, I pay for it, I haul it, I fix it, I clean it, I research it and I pay the rent.There you go, huh?


  11. Hey Ginene, first I don’t how this post slipped past my eyes. I loved reading this..it’s so great when you spend a quality day saleing with a good friend. You really got some great finds.. The stain glass is a high five. I really miss having my shop and can’t wait to re-open. Thankfully, I’m experiencing it vicariously through you. I so agree with you about the haggling part.. ( sometimes it really erks my nerves) how unfair some people can really be. And you’re right … The GPS is by far (other than cell phones) the best piece of technology equipment invented.. Have a wonderful 2016!!


  12. Pingback: Friday Finds | VivaLaVintage - For Your Home

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