This is a long post, but one that other Junk Girls can relate to and I think will find entertaining!
I think it's about time that we really address the "magical" and "glamourous" life of a junk girl.....
I put the words in quotes because any true junk girl with a passion for trash to treasure projects will tell you that this life is more dirty, grungy and time consuming than most people think!
Let's first address auctions.....
1) Auctions are not pretty. While yes, you can find great scores and unique items, auctions are usually found in smelly buildings with muddy parking lots that leave you feeling substationally dirtier than when you arrived.
2) Auctions are lonnnnnng and tiresome. You scan the auctionzip.com pictures, read the descriptions, check out the preview the night before and get very excited about the possible treasures. However, usually there are 123480734957 items in between each item you want. You so desperately want that vintage oak table with the great knobs, but you must wait for each Hummel, train car, glass dog figure and box of junk to be auctioned off before you ever get to your precious table. By the time you get to your table, your feet hurt, you're hungry and you're a little itchy for reasons listed below.
3) Auctions are full of quite the variety of people. First, of course you have your dealers (we'll refer to them as the ultimate enemies) who usually bid on the nice furniture and put most desirables (you know, the ones that don't take 7 hours of sanding and painting) out of reach. Second, you have retirees who've made a life out of hanging out at the auction picking up all of the $1 items that no one else wants (We don't hate these people). We actually find them rather entertaining. At our Monday auction, we watched a lady drool sound asleep for over an hour. Needless to say, she didn't win any bids. Third, you have the folks that make you a bit uncomfortable with the "revealing crack" pants, excessive amounts of body hair, not a set of teeth between them and an odor, well those of you that have ever been to an auction know what i'm talking about! We like to call these people the "auction folk".
4) Auctions can be very disappointing! You wait an hour to get to those two pieces of furniture you've had your eye on. You set your price limits, we'll say $50 for each piece. The bidding starts, first bid $10, you're excited thinking "yes, maybe i'll get this for 15 bucks". And then the disappointment starts. You don't even get your hand in the auction before that piece is sold for $175. You walk away sad and empty handed.
5) Auctions can make you spend more than you wanted! I'll address this with a story.....Wendy and I attended an auction in Pennsylvania, a good auction with lots of desirable pieces. Well, others thought so too. The first table, beat up, no hardware, and possibly missing a leg, one we'd said we would spend $20 on, goes for $125. Really??? The bidding continues. Furniture goes for ridiculous prices. Finally, the small drop side table comes around....well let's just say I refused to come home empty handed and we spend $35 on a table that we couldn't even sell for that.....Ugh!
Let's next address the strain on your car....
1) Sometimes you think your car is bigger than it is. You buy 10 pieces of furniture and are sure you can get them all in with room to spare. After 4 pieces the car is packed. What's a girl to do? CRAM CRAM CRAM! You fit pieces together like a puzzle, scratch up the interior, rip the roof fabric and almost crack a window just "checking" if the hatch will close. Junk Girls make the most of their time.
2) Most pieces of furniture (again, the ones that have "character") usually have a lingering smell of "old". After loading your car completely, you get in to leave and the smell is overwhelming. I'll also explain this one with a story....Wendy and I went to an auction yesterday. We got this great trunk that I saw potential in. As I went to pull off the "batting" that was coming out of the cushion, I realized that it wasn't batting at all, it was LARGE amounts of cat hair.....Eww. Convinced that I could not put this in a closed up car, I kindly asked for scissors than ripped off the fabric and batting while the other auction attendees watched. I've got no shame.
3) Bugs. Yes, old pieces often have bugs. Again, i'll use a few stories to explain this one. After a day at the auction, Wendy and I were headed for more shopping. Out of the corner of my eye I see something moving. Nope, not a running bull beside the car like I prayed, nope, it was a spider. A big, hairy yucky looking spider crawling across the dashboard looking for one of us to eat. I scream, Wendy screams, then "thud thud thud thud". Yes, that's us running into the rumble strip on the side of the highway almost killing ourselves. We're still not sure where that spider is! How about the buzz you hear in the car but aren't sure what it is until a stink bug flies right into your hair? Also quite hazardous! Bugs are a very dangerous side effect of being a junk girl!
Next, let's take on the risk factor!
1) Old pieces have lead paint amoungst other terrible things. Do we avoid these pieces? Nope! We put on the stylish gas mask and sand away. A junk girl has no fear!
2) Sometimes you get that feeling that your breath's been taken away. Did you just see an awesome vintage dresser? Nope, the sand dust in your lungs just migrated. Rough....
3) Junk girls don't rely on men to move things! We'll use an example for this one. Wendy and I had this great 50 inch table that was extremely heavy! Wendy being pregnant couldn't help me move it, so I built up my adrenaline, picked it up like an umbrella and went on my merry way....Junk girls never let obstacles get in their way!
4) We deal with very dirty things. For example, Wendy and I went to a place with great stuff, but walked away with chicken poop on a purse. That can't be heathly....We just let it wear off with time...
5) You can find yourself on the other side of the law.....let's just say, i'm the only person I know that managed to get a parking ticket while at a yard sale.
Why do we put ourselves through this you ask? It's for the rush, the rush of seeing that piece that no one saw life left in just shine. The fun is seeing past the rough spots of a piece to the hidden potential. Being a Junk Girl is a passion. It's a remarkable outlet for creativity. It changes the way you think. Your mind is constantly looking at things going "What can I do with that?" Being a Junk Girl is a thrill ride. Why do I do this? Because I love it.