When my husband and I set up housekeeping after each of us had been living alone for quite some time, we didn't have anything we needed! We had no money, little credit and hated the prospect of making more bills to cut into our already limited incomes.
We had long been devotees of thrift stores for clothing and other household articles. But we had moved to the Northern Plains and they were few and far between and seldom had what we needed in the quantities we needed for our blended family of five. That was when I discovered auctions.
The first one I attended was a learning experience. Sitting in the front row, with my baby son asleep on my shoulder, I fought for dishes, pots, pans and linens, usually bidding against antique dealers and thrift store owners.
And I had to quell my own feelings of guilt at getting ahead at someone else's expense. In this instance, the items were from a "living estate," where the owner was an elderly lady who was going into an assisted-living facility. At one point early in the sale, she became obviously distressed. The auctioneer stopped and asked her, "Louise, do you see that young man right there?" He indicated my son.
"That young man is going to grow up eating off your dishes." That exchange helped her, and me, get past our feelings. It has helped me since, and instead of guilt, I feel like I am being handed down family heirlooms at a bargain price.
I am a veteran of many auctions now, and most of our home is furnished with my finds. Here are my suggestions for attending an auction:
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to MyStory@ stretcher.com
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