Saturday, September 29, 2007

GARAGE SALE AMERICA by Bruce Littlefield

As the approach of fall settles across America, you've got to I really need all this stuff in my house? Or vice versa...OMG! My home needs something unique & special because it looks just like the latest catalog of Pottery Barn! Well, buyer & seller beware, Bruce Littlefield, author of GARAGE SALE AMERICA, has just written the perfect book on how to garage sale shop America like a pro. What? Are you kidding? A book on garage sale shopping? No! This isn't a joke. Everyone needs help and shopping a garage sale can be one of the most frantic shopping experiences that a girl can face! This quarky book is nothing short of a hiring a professional garage sale shopper to help you sort out all the issues that could potentially come up. On top of that, Bruce did his homework. With a thousand dollars in his pocket and a map to America, he struck out across America in search of garage sales and the people behind them. There really was no better way to for him to collect, research, and organize some of the best tips that this country has got to offer.

One surprising element of this book, is that his garage sale expedition is also a wonderful cultural record of America today. But, don't forget at the heart of this book is a wonderful guide to shopping and hosting garage sales. It is packed with tips on how to buy and sell anything and everything that ends up on the table. 

Ultimately, garage sale shopping is a passion. It's the journey that's the destination, as they say. Get swept up in this sweet and happy style guide to shopping at on your neighbor's lawn. This is one book, unlike the brass elephant lamp sitting next to your bed, that you'll never ever want to part with!


The Interview

Bruce Littlefield loves to design, garden, write, and laugh. It'll be evident in this interview that his style and advice is every bit as charming as his wit.

Moderngirllogomini 1.    Bruce, you are an American culture expert and a garage sale king. How do you know if you’ve got junk on your hands or treasure? 

If you can't remember where you got it, what it is, or if you've been saying you'll fix it for more than a year... IT’S JUNK!  Value is what it's worth to you. And, I find that only things with a story (or gold content) are actually valuable to me. For example, a shell that a wild dolphin dropped in my hand and my grandfather's wedding ring have such value to me that I could never part with them, even though they probably have very little monetary value.

Moderngirllogomini 2.    Have you ever come across something that shouldn’t have been sold like a personal letter found inside a book?  If so, what did you do about it?

Human hair and Preparation H. I've seen both at garage sales and both grossed me out. The human hair was a woman's family collection, each envelope was marked "Little Timmy, 1936" and "Uncle Fred, 1940." Asking price, $35.  The Preparation H was partially used!!!!!!!  It was going for a quarter. Both, I had to pass up. As for finding letters, I love when things like that are sold.  They have new life. I think the writer would be thrilled to have a new reader, especially if she's dead!


Moderngirllogomini 3.    I know people that hold onto everything for dear life because “one day it’s going to be worth something!”  What advice do you have for pack racks?

Unless it's your grandma's wedding china, get rid of it. Look, only things that mean something to you are worth something...Otherwise, let it mean something to someone else. Don't be scared to even let go of a family heirloom if you think it's going to the right person. I'm always amazed at the notion of keeping something in a sealed box, like a Barbie, hoping that one day it will be "worth something."  That poor little girl that has to stare at that thing and not play with her. Can you imagine the torture? {He laughs} Get that babe out of the box! Don't try to start a museum..Mattel will take care of that!


Moderngirllogomini 4.    When does garage shopping become an obsession? For example, I lived in Chicago and it just so happens that the garage sale shopping was extremely awesome.  Now after a few months of this, I realized that I had issues with collecting table service. I mean I could serve a party of thirty! What advice do you have on collecting objects from garage sales in which you only have one opportunity to buy?

I talk in the book about the "one that got away." There's nothing worse! It eats away at you like a bad dream.  My advice is...If it's a good price, grab it.  Then, host a brunch for 30! Your friends will love you, and if a piece gets broken, you're not crying.


Moderngirllogomini 5.    After the spirit of the hope-based adventure (as you call it in the book) dies down and you’re left with a bunch of stuff, what is the best way to integrate new garage sale finds into your home?

 There are two ways:  First,immediately start using the things that are useful, like glassware, tablecloths, fancy espresso makers. Second, find what things give you emotional satisfaction and decorate around it. In the book, I talk about the old kid's camp truck.  It belonged to a kid named "Butch."  I designed the guest room in my house around it.  Guests love to stay in the room I call "Butch."  Everything in there is for a kid and it's so much fun!


Moderngirllogomini Bonus Question!!
Is there any object in America that you are praying to find sitting on a garage sale table? Is so, can you tell us what it is and what you would do with it?

Keep your hands off the Franciscan Starburst dishes!!! Sold only in jewelry stores in the 50s and 60s. My grandmother and her friend Reba collected it and gave it to me. I adore it and finding a piece at a garage sale is equal to a mountain climber topping everest or a gold miner yelling, "Eureka!"

With that, enjoy one of the last perfect weekend's in September. Host a garage sale or visit one, but make sure that you've got a copy of Garage Sale America in your hands! It'll help you unload or acquire all the riches and wonders of the world!

Watch Bruce on the Today Show talking about Garage Sale Shopping!

Need immediate help on eliminating clutter? Watch this!

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