I can tell that Spring is here because Yard Sales are blooming all over. It is the surest sign that warmer weather has arrived: people are willing to clean out their garages and basements and once again try to unload their junk on the first available sucker….er, buyer. This business has its rituals, and some folks take them very seriously. I started pursuing yard sales years ago, and quickly learned the ropes. Here are some things I have learned.
- The Early Bird gets the worm. Antique Dealers, and every other kind of weirdo who can resell anything, slither out from under their rocks very early to be the first ones at these sales. Some of them will literally knock you down when the doors open. Beware of the ones who muscle their way into the front…they mean business and they will take you down. I don’t go early anymore…..being first isn’t that important to me now.
- Don’t ask to come in early if the sellers are still setting up. People HATE to have you messing around when they are still disorganized, so be patient. You will get a better deal if the sellers don’t hate you.
- Bring a large tote bag or something you can put the stuff in that you find. Grab the things you think you might like, and decide later. If you don’t, someone else will grab them and you’ll be S.O.L.
- Wear a fanny pack. I know this is ridiculously gauche, but it frees up your arms and hands to grab stuff( and that is the whole point, isn’t it?).If you aren’t worried about your money/pocketbook, you will be free to grab and stuff your treasures into your tote bag.
- Bring a beverage and snack in your car. This way, if you get involved longer than planned, you won’t have to take a break to find sustenance.
Having said all this, it occurs to me that some of my readers may not be interested in yard sales. It seems rather sacrilegious to me, but I guess it is possible that there are people who don’t find driving around searching for other people’s junk all that compelling. You people can stop reading if you want, and go do whatever it is that you find interesting.
For the rest of us, I want to examine WHY we are willing to do this. Why do we get up early on a day when it isn’t necessary, drag ourselves out no matter what the weather is like, and expend so much energy(and gasoline) in this pursuit? It seems that it must be more than just getting a bargain; because if you do the math, the cost of finding these pieces of trash/treasure usually outweighs any real savings. It must have something to do with the primordial needs of the human species. Although we don’t have to be hunter-gatherers anymore, we must be wired for this activity. I shall lay the blame for my obsession with yard sales, flea markets, garage sales, and barn sales on my DNA.
So, if you find yourself scouring Craigslist for garage sales, or reading the local papers and keeping circled sections ready for the weekend mornings, take comfort in knowing you are not alone. This passion is shared by many who are not dealers or re-sellers. Look at the gigantic number of people who frequent the 400, 600, and even 800 mile yard sales held annually in the USA. These become events that people plan a year ahead to attend. These are the Meccas of yard sale aficionados. They are the stuff that pack rat dreams are made of!
Now, we have learned that there is a fine line between collecting and hoarding. I am gradually erasing that line.