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Yard Sale July 11, 2012

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Last weekend I participated in my first-ever yard sale. Months ago, Lynda and Laura and Martha and Deb and I had decided that we would set up shop on the day of the annual townwide sale, figuring that together we would have enough stuff. Lynda, who had the most stuff and was the most motivated, also has the best yard: flat with two trees to provide shade.

Because I’d had to go through the process of emptying the basement and first floor of my barn in the spring, I’d already done the bulk of the work in preparing for this event. As time passed, I realized I was not going to be able to go through my attic too, but I figured that if this sale went well, I could get through the attic in time for next year’s sale.

There were a couple of competing philosophies going into this. Some participants were of the make-money camp. Others were of the get-rid-of-this-now camp. The longer I spent sorting and trying to price stuff, the more I fell into the latter camp.

Clearly, unless one has some amazing in-demand stuff, one is not going to make, say, even close to minimum wage when considering the work involved. In my case, nowhere near. It’s best to think of any cash coming in as very slightly offsetting work that needed to be done anyway. And if someone else takes an object away, I don’t have to deal with it anymore.

Laura, Deb, and I set up at Lynda’s, and Martha was directly across the street.

We were prepared for the early birds to sweep in and then for things to get slow. In fact, the opposite happened.

I sold things I thought would never go. I didn’t sell things that I thought would go right away. I was perfectly willing to haggle and did.

I only purchased three items.

It rained, a little, but the trees protected us.

After the sale, Martha, who works for the food cupboard, decided what could be donated. We left a pile of things marked “free” on the sidewalk. The majority of that stuff went.

Before the sale, I had given some things away to neighborhood kids. And an artist. And my sister.

Right after the sale, I was able to barter some unsold items for a small painting at an art party.

On Monday I found an artist who paints on furniture who was willing to take my old wooden ironing board.

And now I have to figure out what to do with stuff that didn’t sell. Gag gifts? Serious gifts? Donate? Consign? Take to the dump? Quietly abandon in others’ homes like so many holiday ornaments? Keep for the next yard sale?

Of course, according to Lynda, there will be no next yard sale.

In this classic Fat Red Ant photo, father and son purchase Laura’s never-used breakfast sandwich maker, which toasts English muffins, poaches an egg, and warms Canadian bacon, all at the same time! A steal at $5! (Within hours, its first use was documented photojournalistically on Facebook.)


1. Lynda - July 11, 2012

Hahaha! Your line about the cash offsetting work that had to be done anyway is comforting. I am happy to HOST a future sale, but I will not participate…at least I won’t commit now, while my exhaustion is still so fresh.

indigo bunting - July 11, 2012

It’s very easy for me to believe that I will participate in a theoretical yard sale a year from now. And thanks for letting us use your lawn if we have one!

2. Mali - July 14, 2012

I like the idea of a yard sale. We’ve had a bit of an enforced clean-up here lately, and have things I’d like to give away or sell. And I need another reason to force me to clean up too (other than leaks in a cupboard, that is).

3. bridgett - July 16, 2012

I love this. I hate yard sales because I always view them as a money maker and never ever should….

4. Dona - July 21, 2012

What a fun post, IB. Glad you got rid of some stuff.

When I was young we had yard sales (we called them “garage sales”) often. In the Midwest (at least where I grew up) garage/yard sales last from Friday morning through Sunday afternoon.

Here in Bethesda they last only from about 9 – 1 on Saturdays only. We’ve only had about 2 yard sales here and will never again. I still like to go to them, however.

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