Years ago, I knew a person who made a living running estate sales on ebay. After someone died, the family would contact him to sell all the deceased’s belongings online, and my friend would receive a percentage of the profits for managing the sale.
As I look around my own home, I am trying to imagine what items would generate revenue in an estate sale if I were to buy a one way ticket to the other side. A quick survey of the room I am sitting in reveals:
- One box fan, permanently set to “high” due to a broken control knob.
- One filing cabinet, with one busted handle.
- 1,000,000 paper clips, never used.
- 10 year old glue sticks, half dried up bottles of paint, Styrofoam balls, and an empty Whitman’s candy box filled with cheap plastic buttons.
- Two sombreros (original price $2 each).
- A pile of used file folders
- A 2012 calendar
- A coffee can of pencils (points broken) and pens (some still have ink!)
Everything else is junk, so I think I can stop here.
Maybe the outlook would be better if I left my home office, and took inventory in the rest of the house – but I don’t think so.
No one would mistake this for a model home. I think it’s cute, in a shabby chic sort of way, but nothing has escaped the scars of a life spent with children and pets. Most of our furniture came to us used. Table tops and dressers are scratched. The stereo is old and the speakers are shot. We don’t own state of the art anything. Our belongings bear the marks of a home lived in. We don’t simply use our furniture – we use it up.
Before I married, I would fantasize about the home I would have “someday.” I pictured matching lamps on expensive oak end tables, complimented by tasteful artwork hung with care above the plush sofa. Family photos – all of us wearing matching shirts and happy smiles – would peek out from their places on the polished coffee table.
I pictured stuff that would fetch a pretty darn good price at an estate sale after I kicked the bucket.
That’s not what my house looks like. There are smudges on the walls and the kitchen floor seems to be a super conductor for pet hair and dirt. Instead of expensive framed photos, my daughter’s original artwork hangs everywhere I look. The end tables need to be refinished; however, I still insist that family members use coasters. There are piles of shoes in every room. Lamp shades tilt. Family pictures are everywhere, but usually one wise guy is giving someone bunny ears, or someone’s eyes are closed, or a mouth is hanging open because we can’t all pay attention at once.
As far as estate sales go, I’m sure my home would be a real bust.
As far as real life goes, it’s worth everything to me – not for its value on the open market, but for its place in my heart. Those whom I love most in the world are here in this in house with me, and our furniture bears the dings and scars that remind me of their presence. I wouldn’t change a thing about my home…pet hair notwithstanding, of course.