The Allure of a Yard Sale
I swore I wasn’t going yard saling this summer. I spent the last two winters sorting and getting rid of thirty years’ worth of STUFF. The last thing I needed was more, but I couldn’t resist.
It is all about the hunt. My weaknesses are books and vinyl records, circa 60’s and 70’s along with anything else that catches my eye. You just never know what kind of treasure is out there waiting to be discovered. Pretty glassware catches my eye, especially if it is antique. I donated most of my stemware to St. Vincent DePaul. No matter how pretty it is, sparkling in the sun, I don’t need anymore.
And, anyone who goes to a retail store and pays full price for exercise equipment should check out the yard sale circuit first. There are great buys to be had on anything exercise-related. Believe me, I was tempted to buy a very nice exercise bike the other day, but I’m out of space. My exercise room is full.
I found my treadmill one day when I was taking my morning walk. It was sitting in front of a house by the sidewalk. A sign was taped on the front declaring that for $75 it could be mine.
Later that week, on a Saturday afternoon, I was driving home from shopping in Jackson when I saw a man in the front yard. I stopped and told him I was interested in the treadmill. He showed me how it worked, found an extension cord and let me try it out.
Before I could agree on the price he said he’d be happy to get $50 for it. I offered him an extra $5 if he’d load it in the back of his truck and deliver it to my house, three blocks away. He even put it in my mud room for me.
My son wasn’t too happy when I asked him if he could get it upstairs. But he called a friend who lives here in the village and together they carried it upstairs and set it up, ready to use.
But back to yard saling. At least twice, that I can think of, I’ve asked a seller if they were sure they wanted to sell an item. The first time, I found a stash of great old rock ‘n roll vinyl albums from the early ‘70s. The records were scratch-free and the album covers were in excellent shape. People will buy the records just for the artistic value of the album covers. I buy them for the music. I have a vintage 1970’s era Pioneer stereo system complete with a dual cassette deck, AM FM radio, CD player and a turn table. I don’t know what I’m going to do if I ever need a new needle.
I felt guilty for buying the albums at $1 apiece. The seller explained how he no longer had a phonograph and he’d been storing the records in a closet for years. I pulled out my money and they were mine.
The second time, a robin’s egg blue depression-ware serving bowl caught my eye. It was gorgeous. I’d never seen that color before in all my years of antique shows and yard sales.
I asked the young man running the sale how much he wanted for the bowl. When he said $2, I wondered where his grandma was and what she would price it at. It was probably her bowl. I knew it was worth ten times his asking price and probably more. I’d gone through a phase of buying and learning about antique glassware and china a few years back. I asked if he was sure of the price. He said, “Yup. $2 will do it. I dug two $1 bills out of my pocket and handed them over.
And then there are the books. I had so many when I was still married that I had to smuggle any new purchases into the house. As much as I love to write I also love to read. I can’t stand not being in the middle of a novel for more than a day or two. I donated three boxes and two paper grocer bags of books to the library book store this year. That left me with one over-flowing bag of books that I couldn’t let go of.
So far, I’ve managed to stay away from any book sales, but a few novels, either written by favorite authors or with great interesting titles, have crept into my arms at yard sales. For fifty cents, I can have hours of escapist entertainment. A better bargain you can’t find.
I’m not into competitive yard saling. I don’t have to be there 30 minutes before the sale starts, but I do get there fairly early. My favorite sales are the city wide or neighborhood sales. And, I’ve learned to never ever follow a sign down some back road that leads to nothing. That sale was over weeks ago and the sign wasn’t taken down.
So I’m back in the game, looking for treasure and loading my trunk with goodies. I’ll have to put my house back up for sale in a few years as an incentive to sort, toss and donate all those the items I thought I had to have but never found a use for.