May 23, 2014

ONE MAN’S RUBBISH….

The Spring Bank Holiday has arrived and we will be spending it at home for the first time in twenty years.

Usually it’s the first opportunity in every year for a full week’s holiday and we’re more than ready for it.  This year we fully expected to be moving house and in fact went to sign all our documents at the solicitor’s office last Monday, just in case.  But no, some people in the chain are not ready.

And so another week goes by, then another…..

rubbish

We continue the process of sorting and packing.  Boxfuls of our stuff have been taken to the local charity shops – clothes we haven’t worn for years, books we will never read again, gadgets and gizmos that we no longer use.  We took some of our cast offs to France with us at Easter and put them on our stall at the village vide grenier.

We shared three tables with our friends Gail and Chris, Elizabeth and her daughter Jane.  At 7am the weather did not look promising and by noon it was chucking it down, so we packed up and went for lunch instead, as did most of the other stall holders.  Even so, we somehow managed to sell over 90€ worth of stuff, all unwanted items of dubious value. 

May 2014-1 Nick's 289

It was fascinating to see what sold and what was left.  The tasty antique bits and bobs mostly went – the binoculars, and old compass, a horn penny whistle, a pair of old rimless spectacles in their original case.  Also some of our pottery items - plant holders and a large owl ornament with the wing glued back on in two places.  We sold most of our unwanted DVD’s, a box of meccano bits and a box of old motorcycle rally patches and badges.  We sold most things for one or two euros but it added up.

Back home we have found it difficult to know how to dispose of some of our stuff.  We found a full box of thirty six unused one pint beer glasses on a shelf in the garage and have no idea how it got there.  I gave half a dozen or so to various friends, family and neighbours, also the bloke who came to fix the bay window roof.  He seemed very pleased with them.  I was pleased to get rid of them.

Also in the garage we discovered an old casement clock lying on its back on a shelf.  I remember buying this clock from an antique shop near to Bamburgh Castle in May 1972, for £26.  Once I got it home I didn’t really like it and it has never been on display in this house.  By now it was in a desperately poor condition, the paint on the face had peeled off and clogged up the inside of the clock, bits of its frame were broken off and the key and pendulum were missing.  I looked at it and had no idea of its value or what to do with it – if it was worth repairing to sell it and how to go about doing that.  I didn’t think it was fair to dump that kind of thing on a charity shop but it was too good to just take to the tip.

So I printed out a sign which said “restoration project, free, help yourself”, sellotaped it to the front of the clock and propped it up by the gate on the grass verge.  Ten minutes later it was gone!

We decided to be ruthless with our collection of LP records.  Nick sorted them into alphabetical order to make it easier and out of a hundred and fifty  we picked out about thirty to keep.  The rest we put into a big box, took them to an antique shop in Alfreton and the owner gave us £20 for them.

May 2014-3 024

When we were deciding which ones to let go I hesitated over my collection of blues LP’s.  I probably haven’t listened to them for over thirty years but they were a big part of my life at one time.  In my early teens, when my friends were all dancing to Herman’s Hermits and Manfred Mann, I somehow got interested in the blues.  I fished out eight records to keep and twice very nearly put them back in the box.  Once we got back from the antique shop with our £20, I decided to put all eight up for auction on Ebay as a collection, starting at 99p.  They sold for £83.

The biggest task has been sorting out the garage.  Nick has finally sifted through all his tools, bits of wood, tins of paint, the camping gear, old motorcycle parts, car spares and all the other rammel, and we have made numerous visits to the tip.  Last week we strapped an old engine hoist – a kind of tripod constructed from metal poles the size of scaffolding – to the roof of the car along with an broken metal shelf unit and set off to the tip for our second visit of the day.  We parked up next to a man who was unloading sacks of garden waste from a trailer and his eyes widened when we started to take the stuff off the roof.

“Would you mind if I had that?” he said, pointing to the hoist.  “It might come in handy.” 

One man’s rubbish…….another man’s treasure!

Have a great bank holiday weekend!

23 comments:

  1. You don't know what you've got till it's gone... I wish I hadn't given the hand mike away, but I don't miss much else. My parents' Suzy Cooper teaset, so fragile you daren't use it, ghastly! Sling the lot! P.

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  2. Interesting, the old engine hoist. I bought a pull lift many years ago, never used it (it was to lift a mini engine out) and it lay in the garage for years... Brought it to France and have used it many times, for pulling trees etc... as P says You don't know what you've got till it's gone... C

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    1. Colin, please don't mention this to Nick! I confess I persuaded him to get rid rather than put it into store..............

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  3. Well done, you! Last week I finally bagged away the unwanted clothing I'd set aside and it's finally gone to a charity shop. Six bin bags in all. So far ;-) I've thought we should get rid of some of our stuff in France at a vide grenier and now after reading your post am thinking it's a 'must do'... At the moment though it would be great just to get through the paper that has piled up on my desk :-(

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    1. Broad, the key to success at a vide grenier is to sell things very cheap and not be too concerned about what they might really "be worth".

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    2. I forgot to mention that it was also great fun, although it would have been more fun if it hadn't been raining.
      The early start was a bit of a shock to the system though - we were setting up at 6.30am!

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  4. Ah, I thought I recognised the stall holders in the brocante at GP, I regret not saying anything now, however the weather wasnt conducive to leisurely chit chat. I was one of your plant pot buyers! yes they are now on my window sill with coriander in...back in the UK!
    Good luck with your move. Debs

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    1. Hello Debs, I remember you buying those two pots, they were green if my memory serves me right.
      How funny that they crossed the channel both ways!
      We will probably do the event again next year, although not if it's raining. So if you happen to be in the area again, we can have that chat!

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  5. Hi Jean,
    The first comment I made seems to have disappeared into the ether!
    It was something along the lines of the industrial scale sorting you've been doing will pay off in the long run. Maybe not always financially, although well done with your Blues vinyl albums. The pay off will be in a less cluttered existence. You make an important point about selling things and deliberately not thinking about their 'real' value. I think the trick is to buy something with the proceeds that you really would like to have.

    At least you haven't paved paradise and put up a parking lot! I love Joni...

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  6. Would have loved to have been there at the 'sorting out' - never done Ebay - did you have to 'post' them? Hope house sale moves ahead soon for you.
    Jim & Pauline

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    1. Jim, next time we de-clutter we'll invite you round to help!

      The LP's did have to be posted, but luckily I already had the stamps! I used to buy strips of new stamps as they came on sale, as mint stamps for my collection. I have since given that up and now only collect used ones but have probably enough stamps to last me decades!

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  7. I find de-cluttering really therapeutic and am in mid-phase right now! I'm e-baying, doing charity shop runs and the hardest which is trying to finish off all those restoration and sewing projects. Everything next move will have to pass the William Morris test!

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    1. Sharon, the William Morris test is a good one but it's tempting to add a third condition - "anything that might come in handy one day" !!

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    2. That way madness lies!!!

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    3. I fear we are already beyond all hope........

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  8. It's such a difficult thing to do... start to get rid of "stuff" accumulated over the years. So many memories. But once you start it's so satisfying, isn't it! And it IS amazing how what one person considers junk, someone else is thrilled to discover.

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  9. Oh my word! I would have loved that hoist. They are so handy.
    Ebay was very handy for us. We sold loads. Now that we are settling here I wish we weren't so hasty, but it's difficult to get the balance right. Hope things start happening soon on the house sale front.

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    1. Ken, I wish very sincerely that you hadn't said that about the hoist.
      I fear that I am going to be in big trouble, some time in the future.......

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  10. Very encouraging...for mine is out of sight and out of mind, yet shouting at me from above where a lot of it resides in the attic waiting for another sort!!! I start, get despondent and move on to that which is more demanding... like a cycle ride!!
    It's easier with others I am sure!

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    1. Over the years we have done the same more often than not, always finding something more interesting to do than sort out the junk.
      But this time we have had no choice but to get on with it and it has, without doubt, been satisfying, therapeutic and almost enjoyable.
      We both feel very smug now!

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  11. I think it fascinating how we accumulate things and when we discard them, what is seen as valuable and what is seen as worthless. You inspire me to have another garage sale.

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    1. Spo, do it, you won't regret it!
      And you might make a few quid to spend on good whisky!

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  12. I'd better show this post to DH, Jean, to encourage him to get on with the de-cluttering he keeps promising to do. I hadn't thought of carting stuff to France to sell at a vide-grenier, but once the local charity shops have had their share we may well follow your example. Well done on the eBay sale. That was well worth it.

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