Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Day 298/365 A Place For Everything....

I've been going to estate sales since I was 14 years old. Over the years, the sales themselves tend to exhibit generational tendencies. When I was 14, the sales were from people who came of age in the 1920s and 1930s -my grandparents generation. The lifelong accumulation of "stuff" tended to fit into economic groups - you could tell who had been hit hard by the Depression, and who had managed to survive or, occasionally, done really well.

Present day sales are at the end of the World War II generation. I can tell their homes a mile away - the little houses, bought by returning GI's who served at Normandy, or in the South Pacific. They survived the war, came home, married the girl they left behind, and all they wanted was a safe haven - a little home to call their own, where they could have 2.5 kids and a good home cooked meal at night. These homes invariably have some sort of workshop in the basement (because this is the generation that grew up in the Depression and fixes before they throw away).

This week's sale fit this description perfectly. The workshop filled approximately a 10 x 15' corner of the basement, with the usual wall of neatly hung saws and extension cords.

After that, this basement workshop entered the realm of fantasy and legend. Hundreds of bungee cords, arranged by length.

Several wooden bins built and carefully labeled, in excruciating detail (not just tool handles, but "small" asst sizes, in wood,plastic and steel)

Excruciating detail (curved pieces of metal and steel)

A bin for every kind and size of nail you can imagine, and some I've never heard of.

Walls of neatly labeled tins (I'm thinking these were lard tins originally-the wife must have cooked a lot of fried chicken). All of these bins were full.

And stacks of bins with little plastic drawers - all labeled and clearly separated.

More bins stuck up next to the ceiling (right next to the wood scraps, stacked and labeled on the ends with their length)

Another wall of bins...

And more bins (not just labeled, but the categorization even extends to the color coding).

And the piece de resistance....first each metal bin is labeled, within their individual metal drawer...

Then the exterior of each metal drawer is labeled....

And then each row of metal drawers (approximately 200 total in this unit) was labeled. This complete unit was priced at $200, included all contents, but the buyer had to disassemble
it from the brick chimney and ceiling joist, then remove it themselves. The liquidators couldn't figure out quite how to do it.

They don't make guys like this anymore. And these guys were the reason we won the war.


  1. Hey Carole! Great post! and it leads to so many questions. What about those "OK' stickers? Perhaps it signified he had checked the contents for strays? Wonder what he did for a living? Did he build stuff or just collect, in case he needed it someday? What about the rest of the house? Organized in a similar fashion? What would he think if he looked in MY cabinets???:) I used to dream that the men in my life could progress beyond garage file cabinet drawers labeled "batteries", "lights", "tools", "_____". :))Have a great day!!

  2. Hey Janice! This guy worked for Norfolk Southern Railroad -rest of the house was very similar BUT one thing we noticed was there was a lack of "hmemade" items in the house. So we were left wondering exactly what he did in that incredible workshop. Personally I was also thinking this was a possible case of Asperger's....