6.07.2009

Love me some yard sales

I'm not a really big shopper. It's a bit overrated for me and it pains me to pay full price for anything. I'm a bargain finder. I love the feeling of finding something I need at a rock bottom price. The thrill of the hunt. With Black Friday being the most sacred of shopping days for my sister and me.

Growing up we never had yard sales. In fact, I don't remember ever seeing a yard sale in our neighborhood. I probably never went to a yard sale until I was an adult, living in Indianapolis in the 'burbs with BigDaddy and BigBoy. My neighbor raved about the area yard sales in the spring and summer. Yard sales? really? I didn't want to pick through someone else's "trash." And then it happened. I went with her and scored my first unbelievable deal. A plastic storage tub filled with Thomas the Tank train tracks, buildings, and trains for $10. TEN BUCKS! I also found a Cozy Coupe. And a playroom table with storage bins. And some Baby Gap shorts. I spent less than $30 and easily got hundreds of dollars in merchandise. We were a young (and broke) family and finding big ticket items cheap was great.

I feel in love with the yard sale.

This weekend our kinda country town transformed into a bustling, bumper-t0-bumper, mini-tropolis. It was Community Yard Sale Day. We weren't living here at this time last year, so I had no idea what to expect. In my typical Black Friday style, I planned to meet up with a friend at 6 a.m. in one of the ritzier neighborhoods. Word on the street was that this was the go-to place for family stuff.

I quickly realized that I was that obnoxious person who got to the sale before the people were were set up. ack! I hate people like me. I hung out in my van for a bit, waiting for my friend and then got out. Nothing on my mental list. I was looking for ride-on toys for Sassy, cookware, old glass storage containers and patio furniture. Regular old toys had to be PERFECT for us as we don't want/need more. So I added regular Legos to my list for BigBoy as his mega blocks were now labeled "babies Legos."

I ended up hearing from my friend and she had an "incident" with her alarm clock and we were now meeting at 7. Off to the solo drive-bys! I ended up getting most of my stuff this way actually. Pre-schooler scooter ($3), bity bike with training wheels ($5), canning pot with rack and some jar lids ($5) and a Dora battery powered ATV with charger.... drum roll please: TWO BUCKS. I was doing the Snoopy dance in the streets. Later I also found a big, storage box full of Star Wars and Batman Lego Kits ($4), pink cowboy boots ($1), a puzzle still in the wrap ($1) and lots of books for a few bucks.

I love how local families were de-cluttering and we were able to use some of these things and not have to pay a lot for them. The ultimate in recycling. I also found dozens of quart canning jars ($2 per dz.) from a man who was getting rid of some of his garden supplies. He says "I'm down-sizing my garden and you are up-sizing! Perfect!" He seemed really happy that my friend and I were so excited about canning jars. We also got to hear about how he was getting married and they were combing their households and just had way too much stuff. His bride-to-be also had a work out outfit for us to look at. Never worn! Um, just the jars please. Oh, and those cool produce baskets ($1 for 2.)

My friend roamed around on her own some more and I ran home for a bit. The kids loved their stuff and we took a little walk so Sassy could try out her new bike with BB, which didn't last too long. We'll have to work on that. I had to go back out in our truck to pick-up something for my friend and retrieve my mini-ATV since the missing charger was being dropped off at noon. Again, I got the full story. The guy I was buying it from didn't actually live at this house- it was his friend's place. The ATV was his sister-in-law's friend's and he couldn't get a hold of her since it was so early. I left my cell number with him and said I'd be back if they could find it. They called me and said to come back around noon. The guy was going to a graduation and would pick up the charger before hand and then drop it off at the house on his way to a picnic after the graduation which was just one town over. All this for a $2 Dora ATV. And I got this story via cell, when they told me they found the charger.

We loaded up the family so they could see all the activity. The entire TOWN was involved in yard sales. Parking lots transformed into flea market type areas. Coolers running amok BBQ chicken sold by the high school kids (and one poor, sweaty guy in a yellow chicken costume.) In literally every neighborhood, homes not only sold their items, but were running their grills with burgers and hot dogs for sale. Coolers filled with cold drinks and water. Kids had lemonade and cookie stands. Now THIS is what I'm talking about! THIS is a community yard sale day.

I love that our town brings out all the bells and whistles for this event. I love hearing that my canning jars were no longer being used because a man found his bride-to-be and just doesn't have as much time downtime to devote to his former love--his garden. I love that when some of the people heard my friend was starting her own school, they were trying to think of stuff they could just donate to her. And I really love seeing SassyGirl in nothing more than her pony chonies, cowgirl hat and "new" pink cowgirl boots, during twirls in the kitchen and yelling "yeehaw!" That one there is priceless.

If you've never been yard sale shopping, I highly recommend it. While it is pretty easy to get caught up in the "WOW! This is so cool I need to buy it" moments, it's also a great way to score some deals if you have a game plan and list of what you are looking for. It's also helpful to know retail price of what you are looking for. So get out there next weekend and tell me what you scored!

2 comments:

madgew said...

My daughter-in-law Marissa is getting so good at Rummage sales. She finds churches and areas where that is the thing to do. She has found amazing things for Addy and all in perfect condition. They have the rummages sales quite a bit now to raise money for their churches. Loved this story. Rock out Dora. Marissa found a table with 4 chairs in mint condition with Dora in Spoanish and English decorations.

Megan at Simple Kids said...

Shopping with a list and a purpose - that's what always trips me up. I totally fall into the "so cheap! must have!" thinking and end up bringing home stuff we really don't need. I like the idea of shopping with purpose, though!

Sounds like you got some fantastic scores!

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