Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Giving Junk a Second Chance at Life - Vintage Birch Barn

Old, rusty, in a word "ugly".  We all know what I'm talking about.  The garage sale finds, family "heirlooms" and other assorted junk that occupies the dark corners of our basements and walls of the garages.  We are relatively new into our home, having lived here only since November 2010.  But my mother, that is an entirely different story.

She has lived at her present address since I was two, that translates to having lived there since 1975.  Married to my father for 39 years, their home became a repository for all of his and her finds.  Yard sales, estate auctions, heaps on the curb when the students move in Madison.  You name it, they found treasures there.  And they did, many nice things.  But life marched on.  They sold the cabin up north, and all the decor there took up residence in the garage and basement.  When my father died in 2009 my mom realized that she should give some thought to "what happens with all of this stuff".  The loss of my father has been too harsh for her to take action, until today.  Realizing that the items in her ranch house were not going to migrate to my newly acquired ranch house, she decided it was "time".

And a phone call to the women behind Vintage Birch Barn of Evansville, Wisconsin was made.  Erin and her husband Frank arrived with a truck.  Several loads later my mother's home was less cluttered.  She was paid a nice sum of money for her items, and they are now headed for a second life.

Interior of Vintage Birch Barn, Main St., Evansville, Wis. - Image, 2013, M. Gustafson Gervasi

Erin and Frank call themselves "pickers".  What you discard they spiff up and sell in their store in Evansville, Wisconsin.  There is no web site, just a page on Facebook.  A hidden gem in my opinion.  How did I find her?  A typical connection, we've known one another for nearly 30 years; she is the younger sister of a close childhood friend.

Can this story be any better?  A cluttered home is cleaned, at least partially.  A widow on a fixed income just got a nice sum of money for parting with unwanted items.  A daughter has a little less to think about "what to do" if an when mom needs to move.  Items that most likely would have ended in the dump will now provide revenue to an enterprising local business in a town where my family once lived.  My only sorrow is for those who don't live close enough to benefit from Vintage Birch Barn -- either as seller or shopper.  If you are too far out of the area, see if you can't find a similar venture in your area.

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