DETROIT -- After I wrote about a woman who saves strangers' discarded shopping lists, I asked to hear from other collectors.
Now I know about folks who collect not only matchbooks and blue-and-white teapots, but women's stiletto heels, sock monkeys, AOL CD come-ons, umbrella covers and bits and pieces of famous places in the world, including the Great Wall of China and the Paris tunnel where Princess Di met her death.
One 83-year-old woman wrote to say, however, that she collects only "dust and unopened boxes of Jell-O. I have every flavor."
This project was not intended to explain why people collect, but one fellow on an Internet forum said it "keeps me out of trouble [and] gives me something to focus my energy on.
"My girlfriend jokes that I will never cheat on her because I elect to stay home on a Friday night to organize my stuff rather than join my buddies at a bar."
The collectors here don't have elegant explanations, either. They call it fun, nothing more. They're proud of what they've achieved and don't mind showing it off.
(January 7, 2007) - HENRIETTA - The first year Wendy Marullo came to the annual garage sale at Minett Hall, she wasn't really prepared for all the wooden boxes and Coca-Cola items she'd want to buy. So she only brought one bag to carry things home in.
"That year my dad and I bought a suitcase on wheels and filled it up," she said as her father went on shopping and pulled a wire cart behind him. Marullo's own cart stood nearby, not quite half full of things for herself and her husband.
All summer long, Marullo, of Canaseraga, Allegany County, goes to garage sales, looking for bargains, and the indoor sale at the Monroe County Fair & Expo Center gives her a chance to enjoy her hobby during the winter.
She and hundreds of others had their pick of items from more than 100 booths Saturday. One booth offered rusty old children's wagons; another had dishes that looked like they came from Grandma's cupboard.
Lots of vintage board games were spread throughout and plenty of wooden benches, records, pictures and knickknacks filled booths.
In the '70s, actor and comedian Redd Foxx portrayed the character Fred Sanford on the hit TV series "Sanford & Son," in which he and his TV son played owners of a junkyard. Although the show's set was a simple, sparsely decorated home, you just knew it was smack dab in the middle of the messiest junkyard known to humankind.
Well, we don't live anywhere near a junkyard, but we often feel like we're "smack dab in the middle" of the one that belonged to the Sanfords. So we have a New Year's resolution that will ensure clear paths and junk-free surroundings: unclutter everything!
Here's our plan:
First, we will be giving as much as possible to charities. Yes, a garage sale is great, but it doesn't come with high returns through built-in tax credits.
Next, we will list what's left on eBay. You can sell just about anything on the Internet.
Troubled star Whitney Houston is getting the junk out of her trunk, literally. The superstar is having severe financial troubles and now due to a court order, she's selling off her prized possessions because the girl needs some cash.
Apparently having a garage sale is the latest trend in Hollywood, Tori Spelling practically sold the clothes off her back at her yard sale. The auction will take place in her New Jersey home and if your lucky, you can get your very own Bobby Brown "Boston Music Awards: Best Male Vocalist Award" (which he received in the 80's).
All you Whitney fanatics, can even get into Whitney's pants, bustiers, famous stage outfits and accessories, including intimate undergarments (gross!). The auction will take place next week and could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in welcome cash.
I'm guessing Arista mogul Clive Davis hasn’t cut home girl a check yet, cause this diva is even selling off her Dolce & Gabbana bustier bras, her four velvet bodysuits with "WH" logos, six black stretch pants, several gold, black, white and red evening dresses, and 16 wardrobe cases. Not to mention the musical instruments and props used in her stage shows over the years including pianos, keyboards, drums, synthesizers, speakers and amplifiers. Among the more unusual items are a slot machine, a leather whip and a chair described as "Whitney's throne."
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