Yard Sales We Have Known and Loved–Or Hated…

Tagged for Death mech.inddThis week we’re celebrating the launch of Sherry Harris’s Tagged for Death. Which brings me to the question Wickeds, have you ever held a yard sale? With family, neighbors, a common group like your kids nursery school? Did you love it or hate it? Were you enriched or depleted? We want to know…

Jessie: I’ve never held a yard sale or a garage sale. We simply place things out near the side of the road with a sign stating “FREE” and that usually gets us all cleared out. I haven’t been to a lot of garage sales as an adult but I did go on many trips to the flea market as a child and I always loved it. I think the sense of adventure and that it is really a sort of treasure hunt is a big part of the appeal.

Edith: While I was a farmer and home with my kids, money was tight for a while. We lived on a busy state route, so we held a yard sale (which we call garage sales in California) one Saturday. We made a few hundred dollars off the stuff we no longer wanted or needed and it did help the coffers. I put out some “hippie” skirts from an earlier era in my life, and my husband at the time put out a few African shirts he no longer fit. The high school girl across the street snapped them up. Perfect! The down side is the end of the day: getting rid of what doesn’t sell. As Sarah is so good at in Sherry’s book! The FREE sign is useful.

My town holds a town-wide yard sale at the end of June and my Friends Meeting participated for a few years, but it ended up just being too much work so we stopped. Sherry, come up on up next June! I avoid shopping at yard sales now, because I have too much stuff as it is…

yard-sale-day2Liz: I’ve held a few yard sales over the past couple of years, not because I love to do it, but because I couldn’t think of a better way to get rid of years of accumulated stuff that was just too nice to be tossed in the trash. I have to admit, I got kind of into it – the setting up, the bartering, and best of all the sales! The worst part? Having to pack up what’s left after a long day. And every time I do one, I swear whatever’s left is going to charity, but there’s this little voice that says, Maybe just one more…

Julie: When I moved out of my old house into a condo, I planned a yard sale to get rid of stuff. Of course, it rained, so I had to have the yard sale inside. A challenging day, mildly put. At the end of it, I had a friend come by with a van, and I donated everything I hadn’t sold to a charity she worked with. In my theater life, yard sales help fill prop lists and furnish actor housing. And, of course, I’ve been to Brimfield, which is worthy of its own post.

yard-sale2Barb: Every year we used to have a yard sale with my husband’s brothers and sisters and their families. We lived on a busy street, so it was always at our house. My sister-in-law was an artist’s agent, and just like our agent gets copies of our books, she got copies of everything her artists licensed. It was a treasure trove of china, table linens, stationery, trays, waste paper baskets, rugs, all brand new. She drew people in, who often then bought from the rest of us. Her stuff was so popular, sometimes when I’d be working in the yard, people would pull up and ask me when that year’s sale was.

We’ve moved since then, and we try to be better at culling stuff throughout the year instead of saving it for the yard sale. I look back on those days as long and exhausting, but very happy, leading to a treasure trove of family stories.

IMG_4096_3IMG_3976Sherry:  I would have loved that yard sale, Barb! I’d love to go to your town’s yard sale, Edith! Brimfield sigh — I’ve never been but want to go, Julie. I grew up in a family that donated our old stuff instead of selling it. But when I was in second grade my best friend’s family had a yard sale. I went and soon ran home to grab some things to sell. I quickly sold a jar of marbles and some comic books and I was hooked. I confess, going to them is a lot more fun than throwing them. I try to collect small things now like the “H’s” in the picture but I have a hard time resisting small tables and chairs.

Readers: Have you held a yard sale? What was the best or worst thing about it? And as an aside–what do they call them in your neck of the woods? Tag sale? Yard sale? Garage sale? It’s all fodder for Sherry!

14 Thoughts

  1. When we lived on base in California, we went to garage sales every Friday. It was a China Lake ritual. They were the best I’ve ever been to, I think because families moved so frequently to new assignments. Even with the high civilian population living on base, there was a lot of moving in and moving on.

    We had a few yard sales of our own. I think because the residents were from all over, there were different names for them, but yard sale and garage sale were most popular. When the kids were growing up, we had a lot of good used children’s clothing, toys, and furniture. When I look back I recall those sales as the most satisfying. Young moms would come and get excited over finding a good pair of shoes or socks… that was the best.

  2. I find having yard sales to be exhausting. At the last one we had one fellow who hung around and talked to us through the window when we went in for lunch to keep telling us that he couldn’t make up his mind about something. He stayed for an hour or two after as well. He was at least good for a laugh.

  3. If I recall, I held one at my last house in Pennsylvania, and a couple of neighbors chipped in with some of their own stuff (and of course I ended up buying some of that!). Currently I’m lucky/unlucky to have a neighbor directly across the street who holds a sale about every three months, year round–she doesn’t even advertise. I should know better than to go over and look: so far I’ve brought home a dolly (the rolling kind), a double-needle sewing machine, and assorted cookware.

  4. I don’t do yard sales. Our church does a giant flea market every summer, so anything that would be sold in a yard sale goes to the church. I get rid of it, the church benefits, and I don’t have to get rid of the leftovers. My mother used to do them regularly. I remember she traumatized me by selling my much beloved, very battered, stuffed “Henry” dog for fifty cents. She got rid of a lot of my stuffed animals that way. 🙁

  5. I have tried, because yard sales are very common here, but I couldn’t make any money;I don’t know who others do it.I advertized and waited until others nearby were also holding them. I never put out junk and kept the prices low.I did it when things were not going well here and even so, people that knew me and had money literally took advantage of cheating me out of 75 cents,,,seriously.At the end, one woman got to me pulling the ‘single mother’ card, so instead of packing the brand-new or like new shirts that my sister gave to me from her grandson to go to charity,I gave them to the woman…who promptly went and spent money on the craft supplies I was selling! Never again.It all goes to a local charity thrift that is run by volunteers and the money really helps people in the community.
    I feel awkward stopping at garage sales, rejecting people’s belongings to their faces. I seldom do so.If I do, there are a lot of others around.

    1. I’ve read some terrible stories of people doing things at yard sales. It is always a shock when someone takes advantage of your generosity. I’ve been following some virtual yard sale sites on Facebook and some of the stuff that goes one is crazy.

  6. I live in an apartment so yard sales are not doable. My daughter in law holds one twice a year and many of her friends give her stuff to sell for them. She’s also an e-bay seller dealing in antique toys and watches (which her uncle supplies her with).

    My partner and I do visit yard sales when we are in Upstate NY on vacation or visiting friends. It’s fun to see what is out there and occasionally I find a book or two that I want and they are in perfect condition with dust jackets pristine.

  7. My parents held a garage sale once. It rained that day and no one came.

    I’ve never held one as an adult. It just seems like too much work. And when I’ve shown up at a few, I never see anything remotely interesting. It mostly seems like junk that should have been tossed. But my brother and sister-in-law have found lots of great stuff at ones they’ve gone to, so obviously I’m hitting the wrong ones or just going too late in the day.

    1. Going early is key! And often times it seems to be luck. My sister and I were taking a walk near her home in Seattle. We came across a yard sale and she bought a signed print for $1.00. We looked it up when we got home and it was selling for $150.00 on line. But that doesn’t happen often.

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