Thursday, August 23, 2007

Filled to the brim

Aunt June's family had slogged on and off for a year to empty her house.

The house, built in 1903, had been in the family for 90 years. Apparently, every time a family left, they tucked a pile of possessions in the basement.

Add Aunt June's packrat habits to that (she saved the neighborhood newsletters in case a relative wanted to make a scrapbook), and it was filled to the rafters.

The family took what they wanted, filled one roll-off Dumpster and had a three-day estate sale and a garage sale. And the main floor was still pretty full.

As part of the purchase agreement, I offered to finish liquidating the estate.

80 boxes of vintage glassware, books and knick knacks.

Great stuff, but who else could see the potential?

When I walked into a small neighborhood thrift store, Blue Flamingo, the clerk was wearing a vintage sweater vest patterned with strawberries. Perfect.

Blue Flamingo finds the best home for donations: they sell what they can, shuttle pots and pans to programs for the homeless and transitional living, and matches other items up with other programs.

They have a backyard garden to teach people how to grow. A family literacy program. A monthly music night, where volunteers sometimes bring salsa made from the garden's produce.

The Blue Flamingo staff, some of the most genuine and gracious people I have ever met, was absolutely giddy over the stuff.

Aunt June's leftovers have moved on to fill other homes, and maybe even help a few people along the way.

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