Spike is correct in that cash is tight (like Mikesnow mentioned, largest purchase of my life). Got a baby on the way as well, so I'm looking to keep the financial investment to a minimum.
I know that means sacrificing quality, but right now I just really want to do something about the mess in the living room corner. At the same time, I don't want to just discard all of these speakers if they are functional. The previous owners did say during negotiations that the setup is functional, but that I would need my own receiver. I think they were planning on doing their own system in their new house, and they were much more well off financially than I am so they didn't mind leaving these behind.
As for a schematic, I honestly don't have any idea which wires go to which without any stereo to test them out. I have seen one outside in the backyard, two up in the corners of the living room, and I think there is one in the bedroom also. Should there be 2 wires per speaker coming out of the wall?
@Waco, I figured as much about the switch-box. I didn't know I could get that kind of functionality in a moderately priced receiver or if the switch was necessary. Obviously I don't want every speaker to be on all the time.
The speakers themselves look to be all Sony, the switch is the only Radio Shack piece. I don't have an old boombox, but maybe I'll ask my brother if he has one lying around that I can mutilate.
Thanks for all the input... if there's anything else, feel free to let me know! I'll move ahead with trying to test these things out, and if they work I'll look at some reviews for receivers. Long term goal will be to have it all either re-wired or get a new system installed wirelessly (sounds like that will either sacrifice quality or will be expensive though, or else why do wired speakers still exist?).