Loose Ends: Treasures into trash

The local historical society’s recent fundraiser gave quite a few residents a jump start on spring cleaning. Items for appraisal were brought in by attendees of the event and a silent auction followed. The popular television show, “Antiques Roadshow,” has introduced the process. People continue to be fascinated to watch as owners of seemingly ordinary household objects learn the history behind the family treasure and its monetary value.
One old piece of junk hauled down from the attic becomes an antique, as another turns into a piece of junk. What is it that makes us care about the monetary value of a family heirloom? Is it that we plan to sell it or is it that it justifies all the efforts it took to pass it down generation to generation? More often an appraisal of a cherished collectible or antique gives the owner a peek into the past and might reveal important details about the time period in which the object first originated.
Discovering the monetary value of auntie’s Victorian hat pin collection or grandfather’s Civil War inkwell does more than increase the personal value of an item, it often answers an unasked question or two. Is this really worth saving after all these years? Could this be the treasure of all treasures that make it a good investment?
There seem to be so many “collectors” out there, whose unkempt yards and tumble-down houses are the bane of their neighborhoods. Trying to encourage other folks to get rid of their “collections” is the cause of many disagreements. They may have started out keeping a few family treasures in their attics or basements, but things just got out of hand. After all, they may explain to their complaining family and neighbor’s, “You never know when you’re going to need this thing.” Trying to encourage other folks to get rid of their “collections” is the cause of many disagreements. That is the reason the old saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” still rings true.
There must be a local organization that wants to do a little fundraising of their own this spring — it would be use reverse psychology. Treasures to Trash Days would give everyone the chance to go to a designated spot outside the town (private land rather than the public landfill) and not only haul their stuff there, but pick one item to haul back home. The rest would be fixed up by the service organization members and sold at yard sales throughout the spring and summer. The key to such a program’s success would on disproving that other old adage, “You can’t get something for nothing.”