Saturday, April 28, 2012
Weekends during the spring and summer usually include seeing yard and garage sales in every residential block, in church yards, and the listings in the local newspaper take up an entire column or more.
Back when my kids were little, I went to every yard sale I could. My kids wore used clothing, because I was not working, and the money had to be stretched as thin as it could be stretched. They got new clothes for birthdays and holidays, but summers were often spent in shorts and t-shirts or tank tops.
This morning, Dennis took me to Concordia to eat at a restaurant for breakfast. Usually, I grab a couple of slices of toast and a glass of juice for breakfast, or microwave a frozen breakfast sandwich of sausage, egg and cheese. Only occasionally do I cook myself a full breakfast. I’ve just never liked cooking for one.
Anyway, we were driving through Concordia’s residential area to get to the restaurant, and there were yard sales going on. People were standing in front of makeshift tables laden with used kids’ clothes, small appliances, wall decorations and I even spotted some bicycles and riding toys.
Suddenly that primal urge hit me once again. I wanted to stop and shop. I haven’t shopped at garage sales and yard sales for years, because in our old house, we were so terribly crowded with what we already owned, and now in our even tinier new house, there is no room for anything here, either. Besides, my kids now have kids of their own, and some of them are in the teen years, where under no circumstances would they wear someone else’s cast off clothing. Heaven Forbid!
So, I don’t really know what I would shop for at these yard sales, but it seemed almost instinctive to stop. I stifled that urge, however, and we drove on by, not once but twice—once on our way to the restaurant, and once on our way out of town. What is it about yard sales that attract women so much? I understand the need for inexpensive baby clothes and equipment and toys. Have you priced the new stuff in the stores? Yowza!
Antique hunters often find rare treasures hidden in the piles of junk sold at yard sales. Someone who really likes decorating in the style of the 70s and 80s, might find something to put on their walls. But I don’t fit any of those categories anymore. So why did I want to stop?
Is there a yard sale gene in our blood? We’ll call it YS1971. 1971 was the year I was married, and first started going to yard sales. I have had the urge to stop at all yard sales since that time. How do we cure this disease? Is there a treatment?
I have had many yard sales in my 40+ years of marriage as well. I’ve never really made enough money to accomplish anything, but I did get rid of a lot of stuff I no longer needed. I now have two houses full of stuff that I need to sort through and eliminate.
A new twist to the yard sale is to take a picture of the item you wish to sell, and post it to local buy/sell pages on Facebook. I’ve seen items snapped up in a matter of seconds after being posted. Some people think their merchandise is worth almost new prices. They soon learn that yard salers do not pay almost new prices for used items. Most items sell for perhaps15% of new cost, or less.
I’m thinking about supplementing my nursing income by placing these free ads on Facebook and getting rid of some things that I have no room for. I have an antique bedroom dresser and vanity that is in pretty good condition. I’m going to take a photo of them and post them online. It’s really the ideal way to get rid of things. The ads are free, there are no shipping costs, the people who buy the items know me. They come and pick the item up and we exchange cash. What’s not to like?
Perhaps the future lies in attending yard sales, buying the best stuff, then selling it again on Facebook? Hmmmm..I’ll have to think on that for a while.
In the meantime, happy yard sailing!