An occasionally updated chronicle of estate sales in the city and suburbs of Chicago.

"It's such a guilty pleasure..." Lynne Stiefel, Pioneer Press

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Park Ridge Rat's Nest

If you're the type of person who's bothered by the idea of growing old surrounded by piles of junk and your own filth, find the exits now.

Here's something you don't see very often. Stuff from the inside piled up on the outside.

There sure was a lot of it.

People were frantically digging through this like there were hundred-dollar bills buried somewhere beneath it.

You know that song from Hedwig and the Angry Inch called "Wig in a Box"? This is the box.

You entered the house through the kitchen. It was a tiny little thing, crammed full of stuff. The sun seemed to have a hard time getting through those windows.

The bathroom down the hall was a mess, too. You could buy cards for only $1, loose cards for an amazingly low price of .10, loose linens for just $1, wrapped sheet sets from $5, kitchen towels/pot holders for .50 and soap only .50. The only downside is it comes from here.

This was found outside the bathroom. That's Oprah Winfrey's signature at the bottom. Way back in the day I used to work at Harpo, and know that these cups were only given to people who appeared on the show. So whoever lived here must have appeared on TOWS. (That's what we called "The Oprah Winfrey Show.") Considering the state of this place, I can't imagine it was one of those "simplify your life" or "live with less and love it" episodes.

These big-eyed cuties were found in a bedroom. It was the third time I'd seen art of this style today. They look like they're ready to strike up a tune. Perhaps "Dance This Mess Around."

UPDATE: A helpful reader recently shared some history on these little ladies. According to her, they were given away as premiums by one of the grocery store chains back in the early 1960s. You saved enough receipts for milk, bread, meat and eggs, and you could take home these prints -- and possibly, several others in the set -- for free. Judging by the prices these were being sold for in 2009, their value has increase only slightly.

The dining room was a short walk down the hall. It, too, was stacked and packed with stuff going back at least 40 years.

This was laying in the center of the table. She seems as overwhelmed as I was.

The living room. There were actually a couple of pretty nice end tables in this room for $30 each, and I'm in the market for end tables. But when I looked closer at one it was covered with mouse droppings. I passed.

Stairs to the attic. That's a rubber glove laying on one of the risers. It's there because the people running the sale were giving them out as you came in. Someone must have dropped theirs on the way up. I bet they were sorry when they saw the attic.

It was a big space, and -- no surprise -- also packed. On more than one occasion I heard somebody remarking, "Where do you start?"

There's no telling what you might find up here, if you had unlimited time, and no allergies to dust or mold.

But the attic looked like cozy and well organized when compared to the basement.

This is the entry. Looks like someone already hit their head pretty hard on that overhang.




This was a shower. Thinking about that makes me want to take one. But not here.

Magazines and catalogs were piled everywhere.

Some of them went back to the early sixties. I liked the "flabby youth" headline on this one.

When I climbed up out of the basement I saw this. Um, no thanks.

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