The Eleventh Yard Sale

Written on May 12, 2012

My yard sale assumptions were challenged again this week. I left the dishes and books and holiday decorations in their neat little homes on the shelves. I just couldn’t pile them into boxes and lose the beauty of the indoor landscape they all made. Plus it was easier just to leave them where they were and see what happened. There are all kinds of people who come to yard sales—those who are organized and those who aren’t, but mostly those in between. Leaving some things in boxes and displaying some others seemed to work, because most of the good stuff is gone. So many people came all at once, and before we were ready, but after the first hour I looked up and some of the shelves were actually bare and boxes were almost empty. We’re debating whether or not to have just one more sale, but chances are we won’t. It’s a hard profession, time and labor intensive, and the proceeds tend to diminish after ten times.

In the meantime, what follows are a few thoughts that came to me after it was all over yesterday.

People buy the weirdest things!

…like broken chairs, and battery chargers without a cord, and old dog harnesses, and half-colored coloring books. They don’t want to pay much but they definitely want the stuff. Being the seller in a yard sale is a therapeutic process. You’re trying desperately to get rid of excess stuff that you have collected—dare I say, hoarded—over the last few decades. And having professional “yard salers” come by in their pick-up trucks as if they were going to take it all right then and there can make you drool a bit. You get your hopes up and realize that if it were free, some of them would definitely load the truck and drive away feeling rich. But it wasn’t that simple yesterday. We had some lookers and some serious buyers, and others who just wanted to talk. By the middle of the morning our fanny packs were full of one- and five-dollar bills and the storage shed was hollow enough to hear an echo inside.

Just after we opened, two local ladies bought, yes bought, five boxes of expired food items like cereal, salad dressing, spices, granola bars and herbal tea. They said they were going to barter with a neighbor who has chickens. Apparently chickens are like pigs; they’ll eat anything. So, while these ladies only spent five dollars on this trunk load of old food, they will trade with their neighbor for fresh eggs for the rest of the summer. What a deal! I’m glad the food is going to a good cause. Although if I knew that the chickens I got my eggs from were eating old Kraft macaroni and cheese and Fruit Loops, I’m not sure I would think the eggs were that special. What matters to me now is that I didn’t have to take all that food to the dumps.

More coming….

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