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The Art of Estate Sales©

by Caroline Ashleigh, AAA, USPAP



We’re Americans in the twenty-first century. We have more stuff in basements and attics and back rooms than we can ever use in a lifetime. Or three. The problem is compounded by the fact that we’re living in the wealthiest country in the history of the world, and even as we know we should be winnowing, we are wallowing. It’s hard to let go of objects because they are full of stories: our stories, our families’ stories, or, if we’ve been haunting tag sales, the antiques mall or flea market, other people’s stories. They speak to us, as Yeats once said, of what is past, and what is yet to come.


We can, in fact, never be free of our stuff until we have dealt with the stories it carries. In the end, it does indeed tell us something about who we are. And it’s what we make of it, and what the future owner makes of it and does with it - one quilt, one pickle fork, and one cookie jar at a time. Will the new owners create their own history for these objects of our affection, and will their legacy live on?


Everyone is a winner at an estate sale. All the wonderful things that are sold at an estate sale will have a new life. Some other baby will sleep in the wicker cradle and some other mother will rock it to sleep in the rocking chair.


“It is in the spirit of recycling, recreating and renewal that estate sales find their greatest meaning.”




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