Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Great Yard Sale of 2011

I love yard sales. I’m one of those who are likely to veer sharply into an unexpected turn to follow a yard sale sign.

Happily, my husband enjoys sales as much as I do. Some Saturday mornings, we drive around the area looking for places to stop so we can sift through other people’s cast-offs. We discuss and critique sign design and placement. (Why do so many people think the words “yard sale” are more important than the street address? I can guess it’s a yard sale; it’s the address I need to see from my moving car!)

It’s almost as much fun to have a yard sale of our own. Since we moved into our house six years ago, we’ve already had three!

We’re not sure how we manage to amass enough for a sale every couple of years. But every year we watch “stuff” creep across the basement floor, making it harder and harder to navigate through our storage space. When all pathways are blocked, we know it’s time for a sale!
We could not have ordered a more gorgeous day off the menu than Saturday! Sunny, mid-70s, with a gentle breeze. Our sale was meant to begin at 9 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. As always, shoppers turned up around 7:30 am, before we even had most of our things onto the driveway. Every time we’ve done one of these, we’ve made most of our money before our posted start time!
We weren’t trying to make the big bucks off the sale, only clear out the basement and get rid of things we weren’t ever going to use. I felt gratified any time a baby item went to a young couple with an infant in tow, or (for example) when a young man in his high school uniform shirt bought the $10 microwave, and I could imagine him putting it in his college dorm room in the fall.
At the same time, it makes me a little sick to my stomach to think of how much money we spent on certain items, only to see them resold at a tiny fraction of the price—a double-stroller goes for $20, an entire set of dishes for $25, a Baby Bjorn baby carrier goes for $5, an antique dining room table goes for $10.
Clearly some things got plenty of use, and our needs just changed over time, as the girls got bigger and no longer needed their baby equipment. But other things probably didn’t get near the use their original costs warranted, and I resolve to be more discerning before laying out big money: Will I truly use this item, or is it just going to end up as next summer’s yard sale fodder?

I thought a lot about this resolve this morning, as we went to and from church. And guess what?

On the way home, we stopped at someone else’s yard sale, and I found a few fun things to bring home….


Anonymous said...

I often think we don't own things, we live in a big circle of free-cycling. I'm a sucker for yard sales for art supplies and try-out items. It looks like you had a beautiful day. As for those bargains? It adds to the good karma to help others along on their path.

lee said...

I love yard sales, my area has a giant garge sale (thats what we call them here) over 150 houses, next Saturday, I looked at your pictures, and your books, I love books and always go for the books when i go garge hunting

scrapwordsmom said...

I love yard sales!! Haven't been able to go yet this just 2 weeks watch out, Baby!!:) said...

Yard sales are sooo much fun!
I am always in search to find art supplies, or items which can be used for my artwork.
I hope to hit a few over the summer :]

Janet said...

Yard sales are so much fun but we don't really find many good ones where I live. I saw books in your sale so that's where I would have been looking.

I'm trying to pare down on all our stuff. I think we'll probably have a yard sale this summer. It's a lot of work but worth it to get rid of stuff and know someone else can use it.

Andria said...

Quinn, I like the idea of karma in this context...makes me feel a little better about saying good bye to so many things.

Lee, have fun at next weekend's garage's my favorite thing when lots of houses decide to do it on the same day!

Leslie and April, you'll have to share any fun yard sale finds you make this summer!

Janet, a yard sale is a GREAT idea for you to do as you pare down your things. Boy, I'd love to be able to come to YOUR sale!

Parabolic Muse said...

Well, I stopped enlarging the photos because I immediately saw five things I wish I could have gotten.

these things are dangerous for me. Right now I have three hairdressing heads sitting on a shelf on my porch. People are afraid to come over.

Andria said...

Wow, Chris...I never thought to enlarge the photos to get a closer look! You can really see all our stuff, can't you? This is the ONE DAY my husband is "allowed" to wear a fanny pack; I'm pretty sure he'd wear it daily if he didn't think I'd disown him (and I would!) You really MUST post a photo of those hairdresser heads on the porch shelf!!