Monday, December 10, 2012

The Estate Sale Diaries- The Second Hand Kitchen

I have written in the past about how sorry I am not to see young people at estate sales, for they are the very people who need them the most.

Imagine you are a young person standing in an empty kitchen in your first apartment. Your mother has give you a few old pans, an oven mitt, a set of flatware. Everything else-you must find yourself. Imagine how delightful a search this would be if you lived in Buenos Aires or London or Paris. Think of the old shops, the flea markets-

But let us come closer to home and farther from dreams. Let us pretend that you are a young professional woman- a Registered Nurse- and you and a friend decide to splurge on living and to rent an apartment in The Gulch in downtown Nashville. An exciting zip code with nightlife and restaurants, and not more than a few blocks from the Hospital district.

You have a car loan. You have student loans. If you cannot pay the former a wrecker comes for your car. If you do not pay the latter you lose your nursing license. These are non negotiable expenses.

No matter, you think, you can go to Bed, Bath,and Beyond or Target and use your credit card to put together a working kitchen. That is you could if you had a decent amount left to charge after going to the Coach handbag counter and the upscale shoe store.

Or, if your credit card has reached your limit, you may have to send your money to China- by buying at the dollar stores.

And you will get what you pay for.

Do not dare tell me you are too tired to go to Friday morning estate sales because you worked a 12 hour shift all night in the ICU. You are 24 years old! You stay up to go out with your friends for breakfast and mimosas. Or you might stand in line at The Pancake Pantry. Or stay awake till noon so you can get a second look at those shoes you saw at Nordstrom's.

Get in your car, drive to West End or West Meade, then once inside the sale, head to the kitchen. Buy the Kitchen Aid vegetable peeler for 50 cents, and the Pyrex measuring cup for a dollar. Kitchen towels, soup ladles, can openers. A buck apiece. Grab that food processor for $30 and that old Waring Blender for $5. Look under the table where you will see a big slow cooker. Yours for $12. Those stainless steel skillets beside the cooker- Emerilware. Made by All Clad. Take them home for $8.

Whisks, mixing bowls, useful knives. A coffee grinder. Remember that you cannot stir soup with a high heeled shoe or bake in a handbag.

Buy that battered copy of "The Joy of Cooking" you see in the bookcase over the counter.

Spend $100 on what would have cost you many hundreds more new.

Unless of course, you never intend to cook. Perhaps you will be like one of my old neighbors here at the apartments. She was a federal judge who kept rooms in Nashville and a house in Knoxville. She did not cook, could not open a can because she had nothing to open it with, and she kept her legal files in her oven. She did not even own a microwave, and she ate every meal out.

I doubt any young person will read this post, since my rather limited circle of readers are most likely over 40. But some of you may be the mothers of young women in first apartments. Perhaps you could pass on my advice.


Nan said...

I'll bet they don't know such things exist. In small towns, there will be ads in the paper but in a city you might not get that far into a newspaper, if indeed anyone reads them anymore. I know I don't except for the weekly local one. Great, thoughtful posting.

betsy said...

The Estate Sale companies in Nashville are active on the Internet, and The Tennessean newspaper has a section in Classifieds just for such sales. Lines form outside an hour before the sales open, though the early birds are usually Ebay resellers and dealers.
These people are not usually after kitchenwares. Nor are the older salegoers, who already have a blender and a Mr Coffee machine.

Immigrants- the Hispanics and the Kurds-also go to these sales though the Kurds seem more interested in yard sales. None the less, they are smart to know a good buy when they see it.

Clementine Moonflower said...

I have always bought a lot of things at thrift stores (and prided myself on that!), but before reading your blog had not really known about estate sales either! And I just turned 40 this year, lol :) I signed up for the emails for upcoming sales, so you may see me there someday!