Downsizing Sale Is In The Books

Wow, it's been nearly a month since my last blog post. The time has really flown! I have been very busy preparing for the second portion of our downsizing sale in Scottsdale. I have owned the home for just over three years now and I still have some items on hand which the previous owner left behind and we do not need. Most notable is the Allavino wine refrigerator. I thought this would be so easy to sell but it has been a real challenge. It is currently in the garage taking up space but at least it has a nice finished pine top so I could display other items on it. It runs but I am not sure how well it works. I originally tried to sell it two years ago for $600 but no takers. I started it out at the downsizing sale for $400, eventually going to 50% off but still no luck. I was able to sell the microwave oven, the 1972 scary pottery garden lantern which was broken like crazy and glued back together and the cracked Mexican pottery planter which interestingly enough, all sold for $20 each. I also sold just about all of the IKEA kitchen shelves for $5 or less a piece. In addition to the wine refrigerator, I have remaining a Hunter outdoor ceiling fan, a black metal storage shelf, one of the IKEA kitchen shelves and a heavy duty TV wall mount to contend with. I learned that St. Vincent de Paul does donation pickups so maybe they would be interested in these items.

As far as jewelry is concerned, I did not sell quite as much as last year but was still very pleased with the results. The attendance was not as large but I only had time to do the estate sale advertising. I did not have any costume jewelry for sale and not a lot of budget-friendly jewelry. There was the collection of Tibetan jewelry which I did sell a number of pieces of. I did not have time to polish and price any "regular" sterling silver jewelry and the few random pieces which were ready that I did put out for sale all sold except for one bracelet. The vintage Native American jewelry was most popular and I sold some vintage and new Mexican pieces as well. The new Native American, not so much even though I double discounted it. I think I will put the artisan signed pieces online and liquidate the rest for my cost. I will definitely place more emphasis on the regular sterling jewelry next time.

Overall I was absolutely thrilled with the way the garage turned out. The handyman needed to make two trips but he was able to put up all of the shelves on one side wall of the garage and the electric fireplace on the other side wall. The weather has been unseasonably warm - last year we were freezing in the mornings but this year it was pleasant right from the start. I turned the fireplace lights on for ambiance but did not turn the heat on. I found a pair of round mirrors with black frames at the local thrift shop to hang above the fireplace, they look cute but I think I will still be on the lookout for something better. When we had the dining set here, I had purchased a quirky bonsai / pine branch arrangement to put on top of the china cabinet. For now, it fits perfectly on the mantle in the empty space below the staggered mirrors. We have one of the beautiful large clothing racks on each side and once the wine refrigerator is gone, we will also have room for two shoe racks for shoes for sale. Since the fireplace area did not have items for sale, I did not take a photo of it but I will post photos next time.

We went to a local paint store and Mother changed the color scheme on our two "fancy" jewelry cases from the fall-like Brie's colors to black with metallic turquoise brushed over it. I would say Mother got them about 90% done but then decided to stamp a bunch of rubber stamps on two sides of one case which looks pretty crazy. I think it's too busy so she will need to paint over this. I would also like to replace the plexiglass with regular glass so the jewelry is easier to see.

I also was able to stage the shelving with the Tibetan jewelry collection on one side and vintage Native American turquoise jewelry on the other. I was able to make use of all of the different props I had on hand and was happy that I did not need to purchase anything. The only thing I did not love was the row of purses on top because they are so random so next time I will think of something else to display there and get the purses online. I even had room for my Harman Kardon Onyx Studio speaker and went with the Holly channel on Sirius XM as the music choice for the weekend. It is the perfect mix of classic and modern holiday tunes and is always upbeat which is perfect for shopping. We had a lot of room behind the row of tables and I have an extra area rug which I put down on the floor for us to walk on. I am going to keep half the room up in anticipation of the community garage sale which I hope will be held in February again.

A celebrity visitor came to our sale - a man and his daughter, the man dressed in Chicago Bears gear. Mother said "what team is that?" and they said "it's the Bears!" It turns out the man was Bob Wallace, a former Bear who played from 1968-1972. He was a tight end and wide receiver. We let them know we were from Chicago! Mother mentioned Ernie Banks for some reason and Bob said "that's my wife's cousin!" His daugher let us know he has an account on where people can buy his merch. I looked him up afterwards and found we share the same birthday and that he was born about a year and a half after Mother, making him 78 years old. He was before my time but as a fan I really appreciate the sacrifices the older players made to elevate sports to what they are today. They did not earn much but did it for the love of the game and the fans.

We did have one unpleasant event occur - on the last day we had a good crowd and a lady asked if we had a bathroom. I apologized and said no, we have two barking dogs inside. Somewhat later, a man asked how late we were going to be open. Melinda said 3:00, are you coming back? He said oh yeah and then left. All of a sudden Melinda said something smells really bad, that man passed gas. We could smell it too but figured it would dissipate eventually. It did not and only seemed to get worse. At least 10 minutes later I went out to the driveway to put some of Mother's items out for sale and I saw a huge pile of diarrhea on the driveway right in front of where the garage door closes and very close to where Melinda was sitting. I was so surprised that none of the customers pointed this out to us and were all shopping normally. That was no fun to clean up and we had to lose a pair of good rubber gloves in the process as we did not have any disposable gloves on hand. At least it was not too far away from the drain so after I scooped everything up the water had a place to go. We both said this is just like at the estate sales!

Rachel and John visited for about two and a half weeks prior to and including Thanksgiving. I was not able to be a very good host due to everything going on but I think they enjoyed themselves. We ended up getting the Costco Thanksgiving dinner. I know this is un-American but Thanksgiving food is not my favorite. I like turkey and eat a turkey sandwich nearly every day normally. All I eat at Thanksgiving is turkey, stuffing and dinner rolls. I thought the Costco turkey breast was great, the best I have had at Thanksgiving in a long time. The stuffing was good but very salty. All they had available at the Costco were Hawaiian rolls which I like well enough. My companions went a little overboard and got an apple pie, pecan pie and tiramisu. None of these desserts are appealing to me but I did help with the apple pie which was good warmed up. Unfortunately someone in the household got a little overzealous and threw away the entire pecan pie and the rest of the apple pie. I hate waste so this causes me anxiety.

Kuochun purchased this mini freezer from Wayfair as the current freezer drawers do not hold much. Food seems to spoil more quickly here so it makes a lot of sense to use frozen food. There would have been plenty of room to store the pies here until someone was ready to eat them. Now we have both a mini refrigerator and mini freezer in the garage. We tried to sell the refrigerator but there was no interest so we kept it and it holds extra drinks that do not fit in the kitchen refrigerator, such as the three bottles of orange juice we buy at a time from Costco. The handyman had a little extra time so we had him put together the stand I bought last time, it is great to have the refrigerator elevated. The setup is a little elaborate though so when these conk out I think we should get a combined unit.

Preparing for the sale and estate sale work has taken up most of the time this past month but we were able to get a few other tasks accomplished. Kuochun and I signed up for the senior center fitness room once again and have been doing our best to get there three times per week. I have stayed on the treadmill with a level 7 out of 20 and moderate speed, 20 minutes on a rolling course and 20 minutes on intervals. Kuochun does 20 minutes on the treadmill on a rolling course at level 1 but a higher speed and 20 minutes on an incline machine where you move your arms and legs. Last time the TV on the end only played old Westerns which I hated. I did not think it could get much worse but this time they were playing super creepy paranormal stories from the Travel Channel which I do not think is appropriate. We did say something and it has been changed to game shows which is awesome. The other TVs have a mixture of daytime talk shows and HGTV which is good as well.

Mother and I went to the Old Brick House pop-up in Mesa which we just love. This time we went Wednesday evening because the handyman was coming the next day. The weather was pleasant but the line to get in was a block long. The parking lot was jammed so we had to park two blocks away and that was lucky to find because Mother has a handicap placard for the car. We waited in line and finally got in but it was so crowded, it was difficult to manuever Mother around in the wheelchair. I ended up placing her in an empty space and walking around myself. It was the first time we did not buy anything because although it was gorgeous as always, it was 90% Christmas decor which we do not need. It is already time for the next pop-up sale next week! From the e-mail photos there is still a good amount of Christmas decor but other items too. We will probably try and find time to go.

We finally made it to the local fabric store called Boca Bargoons which seemed to be like Loomcraft at home. We were looking for some fabric to cover the chair seats of some dining chairs Mother bought from Old Brick House at only $5 each last time to fix up. They were having a 50% off sale but the prices are way higher than Loomcraft. We did end up purchasing some fabric but it was the only one in the store that we liked. A lot of the fabrics came from well-known design houses but were outdated. We will not be back again.

I did a little Black Friday online shopping to take advantage of some deals. I have not had the chance to use this product at home yet, but since it was 30% off I ordered another AquaPure as well as a veggie washer for here. AquaPure is a pesticide purifier that very thoroughly cleans produce. I ordered a veggie washer for home (a total of two) and was not happy to find that the company decided to do a 50% Cyber Monday discount.

I love my Beast Health blender for smoothies but the blade is not easy to clean. I was really happy to see that they have come up with a couple of accessories for cleaning and scraping the smoothie down from the sides of the container at a little discount for Black Friday. The cleaner works great and I am going to use the silicone scraper to get the last of the product out of jars such as pasta sauce and pesto.

Hulken specializes in foldable bags on wheels, they are so handy for schlepping stuff around. They had a 20% off sale on their black bags so I ordered both medium and large. I have them at home but the black in medium and silver in large. Once I took the silver one to the post office to mail packages and a lady asked me if I was doing a food delivery!

Although they are pricey, I enjoy Simplehuman products. We have the large garbage can with lid here and I have the automatic soap dispensers at home.  I purchased this paper towel holder with built-in spray bottle for cleaner during the Black Friday sale. The white color looks great in the kitchen. The cleaner has a very pleasant scent and comes in tablet form. It mixes with water right in the bottle. Someone who shall remain nameless knocked my automatic soap dispenser which was here on the kitchen floor and it no longer works. I was going to order more but was not thrilled about it. Then I discovered they have regular dispensers that only require one hand to dispense! I ordered two for the kitchen and two more different ones for the upstairs bathroom. They were not on sale but I am so happy to have them and these products are making life easier.

Finally, I have been using Z Skin products for a few years, ever since I saw the owner of the company pitch them on a Shark Tank-like show. The sunscreen especially is the best! It does not even feel like sunscreen going on. The prices are very reasonable even at full price but I stocked up during the 50% off sale. They are handmade and organic and take a while to receive but are worth every penny.

We also spent a lot of time at Cox which is the local cable TV and internet provider. It is not pretty but Kuochun now has a TV in his room. We got him a stand on Amazon because there is no wall to place the TV on. It is acceptable for now until I have the second floor remodeled, then we will probably switch rooms and I will go without a TV. It took a couple of go-arounds but we were able to upgrade the TV equipment. We have a tiny nearly wallet-sized receiver on every TV and no large DVR box. I also upgraded to be able to record six programs at once, it was only two programs before and Kuochun's House Hunters recordings kept bumping off my recordings. On our last visit, in order to save money on the cell phone and Cox bills, I moved Kuochun's phone, my phone and the business phone to Cox. Unfortunately we can no longer use my old iPhone XS Max as a business phone because it has a physical SIM card. But I purchased a TCL phone for a low price and I will plan to sell the iPhone.

We have not had time to eat out much other than the occasional Chipotle bowl but did make it to California Fish Grill which we both really enjoy. Babbo Italian Eatery is always on my short list and I hope to get there soon.

Next week the plan is to recover from the downsizing sale, get the car back in the garage and move my photo studios down now that the weather is cool enough to work there. I am so glad I chose a home with a real garage as opposed to a carport, business storage would really be a challenge without it. I will be sending the jewelry caravan out to a couple of local estate sales so I need to prepare for that as well. I am very behind with posting items online and unfortunately missed the Vendoo deadline and lost the 25 listings for the month that I paid for. But I saw that I can sign up for a "coffee talk" session with Vendoo and gain 20 of those listings back.

I am definitely looking forward to things getting back to normal, as much as they can be. Mother will be starting two different rounds of therapy, each twice per week for 8 weeks so there will be many more appointments to take her to.

Until next time!