the rare and elusive winter garage sale.

First things first, I used a random number generator to choose a winner for my blogiversary giveaway and that winner is Tamara Pompilio.  Congrats Tamara!  I also want to take another minute to thank all of you so much for the kind comments left on that post.  They served to remind me that there are plenty of you out there reading along and that really motivates me to continue trying to provide some awesome content for you!  So let’s get on with that, shall we?

Last Saturday my sister and I experienced a phenomenon rarely seen here in Minnesota.  A winter garage sale.


I feel a little like a wildlife photographer who finally got a shot of the rare and elusive snow leopard.

My friend and Carriage House Sale partner Sue gave me the heads up on this sale after seeing it posted on Craigslist (thanks Sue!).


Debbie and I had to make two trips to the car to load up all of our goodies, so that gives you an idea of how much stuff we found at the sale!  I have a plan for that pile of silver, by the way.

It helped that the person selling was a bit of a collector and was moving to a much smaller place.  She’d already had several sales where I’m guessing things were priced higher.  This was her final ‘everything must go’ sale.


And she literally meant everything.  We took things off the walls like that ‘Washroom’ sign and the enamel soap dish in my first photo.  I also purchased two rugs right off the floor (and they had the dirt to prove it).

And this birdbath came right out of the garden.


As I mentioned in my post about finding vintage ornaments at garage sales in the summer, it’s always a good idea to grab off-season items when you see them like these Halloween books.


I saved ‘find of the day’ status for this gorgeous old camera.


When I came across it in a pile of other items it looked like this …


It is in pretty rough condition on the outside.  And I’m guessing that a lot of of shoppers didn’t even realize what it was.  When Debbie and I first got it home we couldn’t get it open and I was beginning to think that was probably why it was priced at only $3, because it was permanently ruined.

But I asked Mr. Q to take a look and he used a little ingenuity and got it open for me.

One thing you probably haven’t figured out from these photos is that this camera is ginormous.  Here it is next to a similar camera that I already owned, just to give you an idea of its size.

winter-camera-sizeSee?  Ginormous.  OK, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it is almost a foot tall.

By the way, I purchased this camera without getting it open because 1) it was only $3 and 2) I had a massive pile of other things in my arms that I was trying to juggle.  Normally I would recommend making sure you can get the camera open and that the bellows are intact before you buy one.  I did end up with a camera like this once …


Those bellows were permanently stuck to the back of the camera.  They are very fragile, so trying to force them out would likely just rip them to pieces.

So I was very happy to find that my latest addition to my non-collection of vintage cameras was in good condition on the inside!

By the way, that snow you saw on the birdbath arrived overnight Saturday.  On Sunday I awoke to this gorgeous view from my window …


I ran outside in flip flops just to capture a couple of quick photos.


That snow practically looks fake, doesn’t it?


Luckily all of this snow arrived after the winter garage sale.

Do you find many winter garage sales in your neck of the woods?  Or are they as rare and elusive as snow leopards like they are here in the frozen Northland?

20 thoughts on “the rare and elusive winter garage sale.

  1. What wonderful finds! I love going to sales where the person was a borderline hoarder/collector, there’s so much to find. Your snow is so gorgeous and it’s funny, the photo on the cast iron caused me to think, it’s almost fake looking, it’s so perfect. And well, yes, there are lots of winter garage sales here cause it’s still in the 60 degree range here in Texas. Our leaves just turned last week (and not many of them have pretty color cause it takes cold to change colors). But I think the estate and garage sales will drop a lot over the next few weeks due to the holidays.


    1. That snow stayed ‘perfect looking’ until about noon or so, then it warmed up and started to melt. So I’m glad I got out there and captured it in a photo. I’m envious of your year round garage sales Laura!


  2. No garage sales in southern IL in winter sadly. That one was a gem tho. Would be hard to go to work today with that gorgeous scene in your backyard. There’s something so beautiful about a barn in the snow…..


  3. Garage sale snow leopard is like my thrift store unicorn, I will be using that one 😉 Amazing finds!!! It’s even more fun when it’s off-season!


  4. Love your finds. The washroom sign is great. Vintage cameras are very intriguing. You have a really nice variety of them too. I wanted to say collections but I know that’s a no no. Here in northeastern Indiana we don’t see many winter garage sales but every once and awhile someone will advertise a sale in a heated garage. I suspect those are people who are under a time limit bc of moving or something. Anyway we got our first snowfall here last night. About 2 inches with a little more north of us. I think winter is here now.


  5. This is not the first time you have disparaged the camera sans bellows – and not the first time I have lusted for it. I know you see the beauty of it or else you would have found a way to rid yourself of it. This is your black swan and I am sad whenever your trot it out as a warning to garage sale buyers. Look at it again for all the beauty it has or DARN IT, send it to me where I will give it the featured part in décor it so richly deserves! Don’t make me take you out to the woodshed…..
    Congrats to the winner (I knew it wouldn’t be me cause I have a permanent “L” affixed to my forehead!) And lucky you to have found the winter garage sale! You should have taken photos of the sale itself and posted on the same website featuring photos of Big Foot lumbering in the woods. (P.S. Those photos of Big Foot are me searching for a winter garage sale).


    1. Ruth, so funny, when I pulled out that photo to use again I thought of you! I actually tried to give the ‘bad bellows camera’ to another Ruth. I had you mixed up. She looked very puzzled when I mentioned it and clearly had no idea what I was talking about. I think I should send that camera to you. It is languishing in a drawer and I know I’m never going to get around to doing anything cool with it. Email me ( your address and I’ll pop it in the mail for you!


  6. Looking forward to seeing what you have in mind with the silver. You picked up some great stuff. I love the wall hung soap dish. To be honest I have never even thought to look for garage sales in the winter. While you are getting that beautiful snow we when tend to be getting rain. We get lots of rain in the winter which by January turns to freezing rain.


    1. You won’t have to wait long Victoria. I cranked out some silvery projects yesterday and will be posting them on Wednesday! Be sure to watch for that post 🙂


  7. Love your photos…so beautiful. I’m happy to see snow right up until I have to drive somewhere in it. My little Ford Focus is awful in the snow, so I need to make a trip to get some sand rolls for weight in the trunk, which really does help. Anyway, like Victoria, I’m waiting to see what you are going to do with the silver…


  8. I love your blog! It’s not just pictures, it’s feelings. It makes one want to do things and go places. Drink hot chocolate!. It’s a spirit one feels when reading your blogs!


    1. I totally agree Joyce it’s like we all get together for coffee and chat. It’s such a friendly place to visit. Better than retail therapy .


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