The estate sale with the right stuff

We’ve had a VERY busy weekend. My family as well as the help of good friends held my mom’s estate sale this past weekend. If you’re new here, you can read all the recent happenings on this topic HERE.

Many hands were involved to make this event a success. But I’m happy to say, I do believe it to be a success. It was a long difficult haul emotionally and physically to get to this point, however such is life. It’s a step most of us will no doubt experience at some time or another. And it did bond our family closer, which was a wonderful bonus.


I get asked alot how the process worked out. I suppose the method used needs to be for every family to assess what works best for them. And I’m happy to report, our method appeared to work great for us. We didn’t have the horror stories I’ve heard others having to deal with. No. I believe we were looked upon, watched and helped along the way. Thank goodness!

The division of assets began where, what we gave mom, was automatically ours. From there, we picked and chose what memory pieces we desired to have. And the rest went to the estate sale. And from there, the remainder went to a thrift in about 5 leftover boxes.

I’m so very glad the family was able to choose what items reminded them most of mom. I myself  chose pieces I could proudly display among my normal everyday decorating so not only did the look flow, but it had meaning and memories attached. This beautiful teapot was my mom’s wedding gift.

I have beautiful reminders all over my place. And in a funny sort of way, although mom is no longer with us in human form, her spirit is indeed very prominent most everywhere you look. I grew up with this farm sign in my front yard. It’s new home will be on my stairway wall. I can’t wait!

And I believe I chose well. I ADORE everything I have scattered about. My mom’s jewelry box, teapot and pillowcase all together really makes this dresser sing in the most precious of ways and in a place I can privately appreciate and reflect.

My choices were productive too! This is an ongoing storage project I’ll be sharing soon.

As for the sale itself, what fun! My sis lives on a very busy intersection so it provided the perfect place to plunk three LONG rows of tables and create a storefront so to speak. There was so much stuff! And get this. Nothing was priced.

This was a first for me. With nothing priced, it forces you to ‘haggle’ with your visitors. But our method was not to bring in the ultimate dollar. This sale was about my mom’s things helping others. Nothing pleased us more when a sweet lady about the age of my mom came up to us and showed us how lovely she looked in her ‘new shoes’ she found under a table. She truly did looked beautiful and asked “How much?” My big hearted sis simply announced, “Nothing. Enjoy your shoes!” while I watched on with the biggest smile on my face.

Another story was about my mom’s big Wearever cooking pot. This thing was big, thick, as old as the hills and weighed a ton, but unfortunately, it had a loose handle I felt wasn’t repairable.  When a man approached me wanting to talk about all things cooking pots, I pointed out what this mammoth meant to me for it was the family popcorn making pot while I was growing up. Remember oil and kernals on the stovetop? After I shared my story, he grabbed the pot, looked at the handle, commented his story matched mine identically as his own mom had this very pot using it for the same thing. He vowed to fix it and put it back into service.

This was indeed a special sale.

My mom lived her life loving others and putting them before herself. And I believe this sale felt alot like the continuation of her unique spirit.

And the last day was the BEST. At around 2pm, we announced everything on the tables was FREE. Boxes were ready to give out. The tables hummed with excited activity as each box was quickly filled to the brim. Smiling kids, ecstatic adults, everyone could be a part of my mom this round, no matter what your financial status was.

Indeed, it was just stuff. But I’m glad we could help make others happy with it.

Now we move on to unknown territory. This new chapter is all about memories and taking the time to appreciate and understand what all just went on. No doubt the gentle reminders of my mom decorating my own home as well as my siblings’ will help bring this better understanding full circle. One day at a time.

I’m sharing this story on Funky Junk because it related to decorating. For non related topics, feel free to visit my off topic blog, Just Another Wonderful Day.

Now, go call your mom! I’m sure she’d like to hear from you today. 🙂

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Categories: Family

48 thoughts on “The estate sale with the right stuff

  1. You were on my mind all weekend. Wondering how things were going with the sale. I work for an attorney who probates estates and know things don’t always work out so well – glad to hear yours did.

  2. Glad things worked out well this weekend. You got some special treasures of your moms! And I had just tried calling my mom right before reading this post. No answer, I’ll give another call!

  3. What a beautiful post! I’m so glad all went well with the sale. I will definitely go and call my mom and next time I see her I’ll bring my camera. That picture of you and your Mom, and your son is so beautiful…. I actually can’t remember the last time we had a photo together.


  4. What an inspiring post! Even though I don’t know your family I feel so proud of all of you. You hear about the dividing of an estate tearing families apart. Not only did yours bring you closer together, you brought joy to the community too. So wonderful! I’m sure your mom is smiling down on you. 🙂

  5. Donna, another beautiful and heartwarming post. The part about the shoes brought such joy to my heart, but tears to my eyes. How special!! Thanks for sharing – can’t wait to see the storage project 🙂 -Tammy

  6. Your shoe story reminded me of The Christmas Shoes for some reason – very touching.

    I’m glad everything went well and there was no fighting among siblings. You hear about it happening even under the best of circumstances, so I’m happy you didn’t have to deal with that.

    Now that you all of that behind you, maybe now you can begin to heal.

    Great post as always. WOuld love to see a pic of you and your siblings.

  7. #15 Teri, how cool! No embossing on this one. I had to go check every nook and cranny to make sure! 🙂

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying this post. If it helps anyone in any way, it’s provided the magic I always hope for.


  8. I am so glad that you had a positive experience and more happy memories of your mom with this sale. Sometimes that is the hardest part. Sounds like it was alot of fun. I am sure that your mom is smiling at all of you.

  9. You just went through ‘One of the heaviest times in life’…My condolences to you and your family… I remember doing much the same 12 years ago. Of the few things, small things, that I needed to keep; moms hair brush, her watch, a necklace that my dad gave her, a card, a seed packet she gave me days before her death, were put in a memory frame and it’s got the place of honor on my bedroom wall.
    Sending ‘good vibes’ for time to give you only special memories, with smiles.

  10. I know how hard it is going through treasures and picking out what means the most to you. I too believe this was a success Donna ~ have a wonderful week.

    PS: I have a question about something relating to your stairs so I will email you about that soon!

  11. #20 Sandy, the day indeed had a few heavy moments. When walking the isles arranging stuff, I came across a cosmetic bag my mom made. She had carefully sewn strips of fabric together creating a quilt type of outside. It stopped me in my tracks with hot tears stinging my eyes. It hurt to let that go as it was made with her two hands but there’s only so much room… I’m sure it went to a good home that appreciated her fine handiwork.


  12. I got all teary reading this beautiful tribute to your mother! I also thought that was the sweetest to just give the woman the shoes, your mom smiled when you did that!

    I’m having my 1st giveaway and would love for you to stop by!


  13. I have the exact same dresser!! It was my grandmothers and it was in her bathroom. I refinished it a few years ago for a powder bath, and in my current home it is in my walk in closet. Yours looks fabulous! Janell

  14. I sorta envy you, Donna. When my Mom became gravely ill years ago, and went to live with my oldest brother, her belongings were put up for sale in an auction. I was only allowed to take what was in my bedroom while my brothers and their wives picked and took what they wanted. Family heirlooms were passed around and left behind to sell in an auction to complete strangers. All I have now are distant memories of the things that meant so much to me growing up. I envy you because your family behaved in a respectful way, sharing with one another, and then gave away to the community what couldn’t be sold. THAT is the way it should always be in these situations. Bless you and your family. – Karen

  15. So, you not only are a talented, creative person of Funky Junk, you write from the heart. Your mom would be proud…you spread her joy and love around and that is what living is all about…or should be.
    We all are here just for a short while. The passing of our loved ones is a sad part of live, but oh, to have never known them would be even sadder.
    Love the shoe tale, hope that lady has many fun miles in your mom’s shoes.

  16. I remember doing that with my siblings. Clearing out the house. We had a smooth transition too, and I have only good memories of the time when we saying goodbye to our parents and our childhood home. Last year we did this at my in-laws. And that was a story in itself. So much stuff, so much work! It took us months, but again in good harmony, thank god.
    And I can totally relate to the small things being the most precious. I have my mother’s rolling pin for instance. I don’t have much need for it, but every time I do use it, it makes me feel close to her. So much more than any expensive piece of jewelry or such could ever do.
    Enjoy your ‘things’, enjoy the memories.

  17. I wanted to thank you for sharing these few memories of your mom. It sounds like she certainly raised kids with hearts which is a wonderful tribute for any mother.

  18. So glad all went well. I know times like these can get a little tense. I love your jersey sign. My son raises jersey cows and would love to get his hands on one like this. We normally find Holstein signs – not Jersey. Everything looks beautiful and what fond memories these pieces will keep alive.

  19. Donna,you do indeed make me proud to be your sister! Thank-you for this ,it is so beautiful. Mom would truly love this.Keep it up, you warm my heart. Wendy

  20. Once again I’m getting a ton of traffic from your site, so I stopped by to see why! Thank you for featuring my keys!! I just LOVE that paper bag background and it’s so easy!!! Thanks again for the feature. You rock!

  21. I am so glad the sale was a success and I’m glad it brought your family closer. You too often hear of people fighting over the dumbest things. I’m sure your mom would’ve been proud.

  22. Well Donna…I held it together until I got to the “new shoes” and I lost it. ((sobbing)) reading through tears is not easy.

    What a sweet touching story…sounds like your momma raised some wonderful children who realize that nothing is more important than their family.

  23. What a beautiful post! Your Mom would be so proud of you all and I am sure she loves that her things are helping others now…
    I am fortunate to have sisters and a brother who put family and relationships first too. We are truly blessed! Thank you for sharing this inspiring post!

  24. The most precious gift is that you have the memory and love of your mom with you always- a treasure never to be lost, misplaced or taken. You are so extremely blessed to have the mother you did. Thank you for sharing this sweetness with all of us!!!

  25. My mom recently moved far, far away to Oklahoma!

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful generosity and sweet sentiments for your mom. She would be proud!

    I’m off to make a call!!!

  26. What a beautiful post and tribute to your Mom. I think she would have been proud of all of you for the way you handled everything and helped others! Things will be different but she as you know will always be with you. I like the items you choose and how they make a vignette meaningful to you.

  27. What a wonderful tribute to your mom and your family. You had such a fabulous yard sale. I am sure your mom was beaming from Heaven above.

  28. I loved this post. It brought back some memories about when I had to go through this same process. I’ve posted about it in bits here and there. I too gave many things away. It wasn’t about making money, it was about making sure things went to a good home and were appreciated. I kept far too much because some things I just wasn’t ready to part with but little by little I still occasionally give things away. You’re over a hurdle but there will be more to come especially during the full first year. Then, the pain eases and the memories are wonderful. It’s been almost 10 years for me; sometimes it seems like ages ago and sometimes it seems like yesterday. This blogging thing has been amazing since I get to share some of the things I inherited and share wonderful stories of my parents. Hang in there.

  29. What a touching post, Donna. Sounds like the whole process of the sale was therapeutic. The “memories” you have selected from your Mother are lovely. Thank you for sharing!

  30. Donna, I’m sure your mom was smiling right along with you and your siblings! We have just gone through my parents home in the last few weeks and will be having our own sale in the next several weeks! We each took things that reminded us of our parents and had special meaning for each of us. And it’s very comforting having those special pieces all around me each day to remind of what great people they truly were!


  31. I know your mom was so proud of all of you! What a wonderful post and great memories. I love the sign you got, can’t wait to see a photo on the stair wall of it. Blessings, Vicky

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