Thursday, May 26, 2011

Behind the scenes at a rummage sale

Yesterday I learned exactly what it’s like to be the person who sorts through all the donated items collected at a thrift store when I helped organize a massive rummage sale for a local charity.

I know! Sounds like a thrifter’s dream job, right? I envisioned myself unwrapping box after box of long-forgotten-yet-still-perfectly-intact vintage Christmas ornaments or maybe opening tissue-filled storage bins with carefully preserved and perfectly clean vintage linens...
I was assigned clothing. 

Mountains and mountains of clothing.
 In plastic bags and boxes and shopping bags and just plain WOW.  There was and still is a lot of clothing. I made a dent in it – sorting the sellable from the (insert any gross reason why here) unsellable. Dodging dried bugs and random non-clothing ‘surprises’ tucked inside along with the occasional bag of someone’s garbage (oops)  that I hope was accidentally mixed in with the donations since it was all in trash bags.
And there were so many donations of one shoe, one sock or one glove.

these pretty dishes were donated to the sale
I did eventually make it over to the non-clothing side of the building to preview the  treasures that might be waiting and there were quite a few. 

My friend who is in charge of the rummage sale gifted this to me as a thank you. She knows what I like.  :-)

by the sale date of June 3, this warehouse will be packed!
I’ll post the details about shopping at this rummage sale in an upcoming post on my other blog, Vintage Market Guide. If you’re from the Portland, OR area and plan to drive to Farm Chicks, you’ll probably drive right through my town and may want to stop and check out this rummage sale on the first weekend of June. 
Great deals happening on single shoes and gloves.


  1. Ha! Many, many years ago when I was first comptemplating going back into the work force I thought perhaps I should just get a little "fun" job instead of going back in the corporate world. I went and applied at a local thrift store thinking EXACTLY like you. Oooooh, dig through treasures all day long! Well no. They said they would hire me and my job would be to put price tags on used blouses. So much for that idea!!

  2. I wish I lived closed enough to go to your rummage sale as well as to the Farm Chicks! Great post...makes you appreciate what the thrift store workers have to search through!!!

  3. I think possibly were sisters from another mother. LOL! So glad I found your blog.
    I'm not even sure how it happened, but it did.

    xo jeanne.

  4. I used to volunteer at a Hospice thrift, and can't even tell you how many used Kleenex I found in pockets! Many, many icky used slippers, stained clothing, etc. Wish I could go to your rummage sale, but I'm w-a-y down here in south Florida, where our yard sale/rummage sale season winds down over the summer.

  5. I'd love to come shop in the "vintage" section where I could buy those pretty plates. I'd be thinking the same thing....vintage goodies to open and organize all day long. I have that same cute. Hope your rummage sale is a huge success.

  6. Those plates are gorgeous! Hope you didn't find too many other gross surprises in that giant pile of clothes!

  7. to think I used to do this everyday for a living managing thrift stores in St Louis, kinda miss finding awesome stuff when sorting, you just never know what you are going to come across.
    Lots of bad but there was always at least one really awesome find a day.

  8. Oh my goodness!
    How incredible are those ornate gold dishes!! Drool!
    I would snatch those up in an

    Stop by to visit anytime, if you wish!
    Ciao Bella!


  9. I'm sure you earned some good junking karma today. I'll make what could be a very long (and somewhat entertaining story) short by saying I was in South Florida after Hurricane Andrew at a donation center, where someone graciously donated a very large box of rusty wire hangers. (Because the first thing you think of when your home has been flattened is: Hangers!)

  10. That basket your friend gave you is so great! Hopefully, you can find some more "good stuff" as the warehouse fills. I will send good vibes your way for a great vintage linen find!

  11. I've dont that sorting too and it just amazes me the things that people donate to community rummage sales- socks with holes, baby bibs with stains, clothes with serious odor problems- before donating, people really need to ask themselves- if I don't want this, will anyone else?

    (I've also heard that the sorting and pricing of the vintage collectible is a job that can take 20 years to move into!)

  12. I do this every year for our local church with the boy scouts. I am a floater that supervises the scouts. I have more fun sifting through the stuff and finding the treasures. The boys love it. What wonderful finds you found...Smiles...Renee

  13. God Loves the Merciful! I know about the rummage sale nightmares myself...stained and ripped clothing, mildew and mold, even a dirty diaper tucked among the trash bag donations and a bottle filled with what we assumed was curdled milk! Yes, oh yes, know exactly what you had to go thru...but endurance is salvation, and in the end, your gift was worth it...cant wait to see your next post...remember to pop on over to The Cranky Queen and enter the giveaway; Deadline May 29th! Thanx for sharing! Tiff

  14. Sorting out all the awful stuff does sound terrible. But I bet it will be a lot of fun for the shoppers!!!

  15. Hahaha! Sorry, but you made me laugh! Guess we get the good with the bad, hu? For your hard work I bet your showered with lots of goodness!

  16. Wow. I know thrifting and picking is work but this paid off.

  17. I just had to comment on Barbar's memories of sorting donations in FL after Hurricane Andrew. My husband, two daughters and I also sorted donations then and it was really shameful what people had donated. Combs and brushes with hair still in them, used toothbrushes, etc. etc. I believe the donations had come in from across the country and so much of it couldn't even be used. Hope YOUR sale is a success.

  18. Don't knock single shoes or gloves. They can make some dandy craft projects!! Of course, I'm picturing adorable Christmas mittens, leather gloves and kitschy shoes. And I KNOW better! Feel like you have to take a shower with a toothbrush after you're done, don't cha?!! I do however like your planter/basket and those dishes. Hope you're having a great weekend. - Kathy

  19. I just didn't realize what it takes to put on one of those big charity garage sales until I got a "behind the scenes" look. I commend all of you for volunteering your time. Looks to be one great sale!

  20. Well, I'm always in the market for more lone socks.
    I've come to the conclusion that I'm not really a thrifter/garage saler way deep down. I'd like to think I am, but I only seem to be able to muster up the excitement for the ready made shows these days. Which of course means the hot deals are also off the table, which is a total bummer.
    Glad you got yourself a nice parting gift. That basket is a cutie!
    Hope you had a wonderful, long weekend.
    Meadowbrook it just me, or is Blogger being obnoxious with the whole no-profile login comment posting?

  21. Going through bags of clothing is a bummer....but finding those ornately decorated dishes must have made it worthwhile!

  22. I have worked these sales, there a lot of work. If you are sorting your have to go through a lot of trash to get to a gold nugget. I just signed on as a Follower,per Cindy (Retro Revival) suggestion. Hope you will take a look at my blog I just posted about a cross stitch sampler and vintage hat I found last week. Good finds.

  23. Oh, I am so much like you, I could have written this! My bubble is burst -- no perfectly intact ornaments, huh? Ah, well!

  24. I wonder if you might be able to sell those single daughter keeps planting things in hers!

  25. I absolutely adore those Austrian bowls!! The sale looks like so much fun! Om my gosh! :-)


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