Tuesday, May 10, 2011


My P.E.O. chapter held its annual fundraiser, a rummage sale, last Saturday. I devoted Friday to helping set up and Saturday to supporting the sale – both with my presence and my donations. I love the rummage sale because I always find great stuff. Here’s this year’s list:
Rival Crock Pot Cookbook (now I have one for the farm)
Fabric (a border print, 2 yards)
Napkins (2 sets for machine embroidery)
Flour sack towels for embroidery
7” zipper (zippers are becoming hard to find)
BHG’s Treasury of Christmas Crafts and Foods, 1980
Several novels, including Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, which someone recommended to me as a “must read”
Various ceramics which caught my eye and said “take me”
A pair of loafers for Mike, new
A pair of the cutest stuffed bears in Christmas garb
A box of vintage all-occasion greeting cards
A 12-cup coffee pot

This year my real “find” was a 7-inch shelf or dresser doll produced by the Duchess Doll Corp in 1948. These dolls were mass produced cheaply and are not rare. This one has been well loved and seems rather fragile. Someone took the trouble to re-dress her years ago, but in her new life with me she will undergo a major make-over. I’ll just add that to my ongoing list of things I plan to do. 

The rummage sale is always fun. It’s interesting to see what sells. A beautiful beaded holiday top was instantly located and went out the door first thing. A kitchen utensil that I recognized as matching some my mother had from the ‘20s also left early. 

It’s also interesting to see what’s left behind. For instance, round placemats, gold in color, originally purchased for $12.00 each and showing no sign of wear, didn’t sell. In fact, several sets of "like new" placemats were left behind on the textiles table, which looked at the end of the sale just about as it did at the beginning. Clothing doesn’t sell. Toys and stuffed animals never sell. The jigsaw puzzles, nicely displayed, didn’t generate much interest, though they have in the past. No one wanted the punch bowl I donated. (I knew when we didn’t use it at Hallie’s wedding, we don’t need it, but I brought it back home rather than let it go to charity.) 

Year to year, it’s unpredictable what will move. For instance, last year someone donated a collection of “Beanie Babies” which was still mostly intact at the end of the sale. We couldn’t give them away! This year a woman was asking for them. She buys them at rummage and yard sales and then ships them to her son who is in the service overseas. The servicemen then give them to the local children. But this year we only had two or three. So, I suppose a lot depends on who actually comes to the sale.

A rummage sale is a lot of work – set up, re-working the tables, watching the doors, negotiating with buyers (a thankless job, in my opinion) and then disposing of the remains, which looked to be about three-fourths of what we originally set out. So why do we do it? Well, in the end we took in $1577, and we just can’t think of another fund-raising activity that will enable us to so nearly meet our budget in just one weekend. KW


DrJulieAnn aka The Modern Retro Woman said...

I used to love haunting rummage sales but there doesn't seem to be a lot of them where I live now. My mother-in-law has been part of the symphony guild in her city (it used to be a town when The Mister and I first met!) for close to 50 years. They used to have an annual rummage sale but about ten years ago it stopped being worth the effort so they switched to solely conducting estate sales. It is still a lot of work for the guild members but they don't have to worry about storage during the year anymore, renting a location for the sale, and it is the responsibility of the people sponsoring the estate sale (usually children of a recently deceased parent) to dispose of the unsold items. My understanding is that they have five or six sales per year so their budget has increased quite a bit so they can give out more scholarships.

drMolly, the BeanQueen said...

I always like rummage sales, but one needs to have lots of time to sift through the enormous amount of stuff that is there - to find the gems, I mean.

Leah said...

My goodness, you brought home a lot of stuff. My eyes lit up when I saw your Rival Crock Pot Cookbook. I have a well used little 80 page booklet that I refer to all the time. It came with my tall avocado green CP in the late 1960's. A couple of days ago I made the "Chicken in a Pot." It is just wonderful. The house was scented with celery, onion & basil smells, as well as the delicious chicken.

When I cook a recipe, I make a note at the top of the page with my rating. My rating system goes like this: fair, ok, good, very good & yummy. I have a lot of "yummies" in this little book.

What people may not realize is that a crock pot recipe will do fine when cooked in a large pot on the stove. Obviously, the cooking time is much shorter and you will need more liquid. The recipes in my old Rival CP booklet are outstanding. Rival Mfg. Co. is in Kansas City, MO, the area where I lived most of my life. I wonder if the recipes came from the local people like home economists, restaurants or even the employees at Rival.

Kathy said...

My P.E.O. chapter discussed dropping the rummage sale last year. The issue is not the money but the fact that our membership base is growing older. Every year it's a little tougher to gather an adequate workforce. The public is not fooled, though. They are looking for good stuff at rock bottom prices.

I have no idea how Rival developed recipes for Crock Pot cookery. I just assumed they have a kitchen/lab. Those basic recipes are very good, as you say, Leah.

Chris said...

You made some serious money!! Well done! It sounds like you found some great purchases. I must admit to not attending such sales, though I'm more than happy to contribute items for sale. I tend to be more and more a minimilist.

Kathy said...

I can't call myself a minimalist, I'm afraid, but my interests are growing more specific. I suspect yours are, too, Chris. At this time of life, we just don't need to add a lot to our storehouses, but there are still things that inspire, and I think that's good.