Sellwood and Garage Sales


May I gloat for a second? The other day my friend Cris had a top-notch garage sale in Sellwood, with good furniture, textiles, sushi sets, and costume jewelry. I found four vintage pins to add to my collection displayed on my jackets for special flair. I also came home with a stack of textiles, including two saris and four silk boudoir pillow shams.

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Clearly, not your regular garage sale!

Friendly reminder on garage sales: When you hit that fantastic sale, try to exhibit some restraint. I failed in the restraint category the other day. Spectacularly. If restraint is a problem for you, try instituting this rule: if you bring something home, you have to get rid of something. Try a one-to-one ratio for ease. So when you pick up that nifty beer stein with a naked lady on it, make a decision in that moment what you are going to donate/pass on to make room for the nifty new item you wish to bring into the fold. Try to actually stick to this rule at least 50% of the time - even that's a challenge. After years of practice, attempting to imagine what I will jettison has become such a chore that I often resist purchases. Also, remember to take cash. Would you take a check from a stranger at a garage sale? No, you wouldn't. Take cash. I witnessed a gal trying to use a check at this sale. The sellers politely requested she hit an ATM and return.

Garage sale season is NOT ending yet! You've still got time to grab your holiday list and get started. Don't have a holiday list? Start one. While the interminable soccer games are happening on Saturday mornings, hit a few sales. Or, better yet - start a swap amongst your friends. If you're a seamstress, organize a fabric swap within your group or at your favorite fabric store. Having grown up with a sewing mom, I know that seamstresses have fabric they buy and never use. Same with knitters. With any crafter, I suppose. Arrange a swap and refresh your inventory. Rainy season is coming up (sob!), and you'll need crafty indoor pursuits.

Back to Sellwood. If you find yourself in the neighborhood with a few minutes to spare, here are a few places to occupy an hour or two of your time.

For sustenance, start with the Jade Teahouse, boasting awesome Asian food with non-traditional menu additions, like french fries. And this place is also an excellent patisserie. Try the macaroons and sesame "bombs" with your Vietnamese iced tea.

After lunch, walk next door to Unique Antique, one of my favorite antique stores in town. This place has super cool stuff, and the OCD part of me loves the organization. Plus the owner is a great guy who enjoys talking about his inventory. For example, when I mentioned that I felt an old stadium chair, complete with rails for attaching the chair to the floor, was over-priced, he was not upset. On the contrary, he said that since I complained, he would negotiate. Negotiation! What a beautiful word. I did not purchase the chair, as there is no chair I am currently willing to jettison. But he was willing and we had a fun conversation. Stop by. Negotiate. Have some fun.

A little down the road, on Milwaukie, is ReSaleArt, specializing in used Oregon and Pacific NW art. If you have a favorite Oregon artist, check out the website to see if they are currently represented in shop. But maybe you should just stop by the store and check out everything they have. The inventory is wide and interesting, with good prices, too. And as you know, local art is a wonderful holiday gift, wedding present, or gift for yourself (if you need perking up when summer ends, as I do).

Garage sales, swapping, used art. All cool stuff, all keeping goods out of the landfill and out of people's moldy basements. It's kind of like shopping for a cause, but it's really just shopping.

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