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What Is It?

We found this last week. It did not look like this. It was collapsed flat in a box and the cross pieces were bundled together separately. We’re just guessing they go with it because they were close to it….and obviously, something is supposed to fit on the hook things down each side. So far, we’ve speculated a trellis, a magazine rack, a display rack for jewelry (yes, it’s a little big for that), a tie rack We’ve Google Lensed it. That didn’t turn up anything. Any ideas would be much appreciated! We’ll give you the opportunity to guess, then we’ll ask the owner, always the last option for us. We like a challenge!

Strikers arranged with pottery vases, books and other objects
Strikers arranged with pottery vases, books and other objects

When in Doubt...

But when we must ask the owner, we sometimes get hysterical responses. We had a sale for a dear friend a year or so ago. She and her husband were downsizing. They were collectors. Some of their happiest weekends were spent roaming antique stores and malls, searching through junk shops and flea markets. They collected vintage cookie jars, pitchers, salt and peppers, coin banks, old bottles, antique pottery, anything Raggedy Ann and Andy and….strikers. Do you know what a striker is? Well, we had never heard of them. Strikers are exactly what they say—something with which you strike a match. They come in all sizes, shapes, and materials. Some are made of porcelain, some pottery, some glass, some are very ornate, some include a holder for the matches. And there were a LOT of them. We didn’t count but I’m betting we had 30 or 40. The one thing they have in common, we learned, is a rough spot to strike the match. But they were not always obvious so we would take a pic, text it to the owner and ask, “What is this?” Invariably she would reply, “It’s a striker.” Until she didn’t! I wish I’d saved the picture of the object we sent. To tell the truth, I can’t even remember what it looked like. I do remember the response though. “I have no idea!” she said, “Can’t you just make something up?!” Debbie, Nell and I cracked up! We love our job!

Impeccably arranged tools on a workbench
Debbie's neatly arranged tools on a workbench

Fast & Organized! Last week I mentioned that the three of us have different strengths that, we think, contribute to a successful business. One of the hallmarks of a DN&D sale is how well it is organized. Well, that would be Debbie. Debbie, if you didn’t know, is a retired elementary school teacher. For years she arranged the spaces in her classrooms to make learning easy and fun for her students. That skill has certainly carried over to and benefited our estate sale business. When you walk into one of our sales and see all those utensils lined up in a row on the kitchen counter, that’s Debbie. When you see all the screwdrivers and wrenches neatly laid out on the work bench in the garage, that’s Debbie. She is also fast! She can turn a totally disheveled room into a magazine-worthy space in about 3 minutes. She just sees in her mind’s eye where things should go. The before and after pics? It's pretty magic! Favorite tool: camera on her phone (and she's going to be upset because there's one scraper in the pic above not in line! Sorry Deb, only tool pic I could find.) Second best skill: Restaging during the sale so people see items in a new light.

Sparkling silver and crystal
Sparkling silver and crystal thanks to Nell

Cleaning Guru The sparkling china, crystal and silver you see on our tables and in our china cabinets? That would be Nell Wallace. She is our master cleaner/shiner-upper. Silver will be polished. China and crystal will be washed…often by hand! But the cleaning is not limited to tableware. Nell also cleans refrigerators, planters, pots, floors, driveways. Favorite tool: toss up between battery-powered blower and hose. Second-best skill: Making sure that every cabinet, closet and drawer have been opened and checked.

Debbie’s sister and brother-in-law came to one of our sales shortly after we started our business. It was a BIG house and we needed extra hands. Gwen and Robin were kind enough to offer their assistance. BIL Robin is a decorator in the Birmingham area and goes to many estate sales. We asked him for an honest critique after our sale was over. Of course, the dining room table had been set up perfectly with our client’s china and crystal and silver. “Do not set the table,” Robin advised us. “It’s not necessary. Stack it up. People can see it just fine and it will give you more display room on the table. Oh, and do not polish the silver. People interested in silver can envision what it will look like when its polished and it will save you a ton of time.”

Stacked china
Now we stack....most of the time!

Well, we did take the “stacking it up” to heart but we just CANNOT stand not to polish! (Sorry Robin!:) Unless we are really pushed for time, our silver will be polished—at least a piece or two. And we have Nell Wallace to thank for that. We think part of our job is to present our client’s items in the best, shiniest, most sparkling light possible!

Techno Nerd I’m the tech/research/graphic design person. If it’s on the internet, I will find it! If there’s a faster, more efficient way to do our job by using technology I will find it. From the point of sale system we use for check-out, to finding a template for printing our price stickers, logo/sign design and social media, those kinds of things are my bailiwick. Earlier I mentioned Google Lensing items. Did you know that you can take a pic using the Google Lens app and it will find similar items online? More magic! It lets you search what you see rather than trying to find the words to describe something. It often speeds up our research. Favorite tool: my iPhone. Second-best skill: picture arranging.

We Can Help So we all have very different skill sets that, when combined, allow us to put together a sale that we think everyone enjoys and that yields the best results for our clients. One trait that all three of us share is our love of people. We think our clients and customers are special folks. Over and over we hear during our consultations how overwhelmed people feel when faced with the liquidation of a household, whether they are downsizing or settling the estate of a loved one. We KNOW how that feels. This really is a ministry for us. We have been through it with our parents. It gives us the greatest pleasure to say, “We can help.”

Mark your calendars for August 27-28. We will be in Athens. Debbie will begin loading photos to soon so watch Facebook and Insta for that announcement. We hope to see you there!


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