Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Yard Sale

I'm not sure of the true origin of the yard sale, but I suspect it just has to be Southern. I picture some house on a dirt road with all kinds of "valuables" and belongings strewn all over the front porch and yard, and a passerby deciding to stop in and make an offer on something that caught his eye. And voila! The yard sale was born.

The only real requirements for having a yard sale are 1) an accumulation of stuff you no longer need or want and 2) the desire to trade this accumulation for cash. After we renovated the house over the summer, we easily met both of these requirements and decided to have ourselves a sale. We planned to have it in early October, before the weather got too chilly and in time to get our garage back for the winter months. Then, I broke my ankle on October 1, and all that yard sale fodder sat, collecting dust and taunting us, while I healed. (I may have suggested on more than one occasion that we burn down the garage and collect the insurance money as a way to remedy the problem, but apparently that is both illegal and frowned upon.)

And so we spent most of last week dusting, pricing, sorting, and organizing all our wares, getting ready for the big sale on Saturday. We had a Queen size headboard and footboard set, light fixtures, a TV, DVD player, plus a whole convalescent aisle from my bone break (we thought it best to rid ourselves of the crutches, shower seat, and walking boot in the hopes that I never, ever need any of them again).

This is how Cotton "helps,' lounging on a stack of blankets and chewing a bone. 
The guy's clearly got management potential.

We had more furniture and home decor than a retail store, I'm sure of it.

Doesn't every yard sale feature a lead crystal champagne chiller? 
It was one of the very first things sold.

More of our items, which I'm thrilled to say sold and sold quickly.

We displayed our merchandise well, if I do say so myself. Welcome to the fashion corner.

I put a print ad in the classified section of the Charlotte Observer, the obligatory post on Craigslist, and made up several posters to advertise our sale. We spent an hour and a half Thursday night putting signs at the busiest intersections around the neighborhood.

We got the signs up Thursday night, and then thunderstorms brought a torrential downpour Friday morning. Luckily, our signs survived! 

With everything priced and raring to go, we set our alarm clocks for zero dark thirty Saturday morning, and prepared ourselves for a long day. How did it go? Let me give it to you by the yard sale numbers:

7 - sites other than the Charlotte Observer online and Craigslist where I posted about our sale. I had no idea there were so many websites solely for yard sales:,,, and so on. This is clearly a major hobby. The enthusiasm for being up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday for the chance at a $2 can of stale tennis balls mystifies me, but to each their own.

7:20 a.m. -  time when the first shoppers arrived, even though all our ads said no early birds. You yard salers are deal-seeking renegades. I get that. Personally, I feel that the use of an alarm clock on a Saturday morning is cruel and unusual punishment, but that just means more yard sale bargain for you.

4 - number of different visitors who joked they were looking to buy ice melt, snow shovels, snow sleds, snow get the idea. Snow was in the forecast for Charlotte, and sure enough, we wound up with over an inch by Sunday morning. Yard sale merchandise is cheap, witty banter is priceless.

2 1/2 - hours after our sale was over was when the Square credit/debit card reader I ordered was finally delivered. I had allowed eight full business days for delivery, which clearly wasn't quite enough time.

Thank you, U.S. Postal Service, for the timely delivery. Mercifully, all of our shoppers had cash in hand so not taking debit cards wasn't an issue. 

2 - different people who saw some merchandise with a Tiger paw and asked the year I graduated from Clemson, and when I replied, told me I was "just a baby." Bless you, wise and wonderful shoppers.

1 - number of toilets up for grabs at our sale. Shockingly, it did not sell.

This lovely item started out priced at $5, then we reduced it to free for anyone willing to haul it away, and still, no takers. It still made for a great conversation piece sitting out in our driveway. 

3 - people who stopped by after our sale was supposed to be over. Really, don't do this. Yard sales are long, hard work. I understand that you didn't get out and about until noon, but we had been out in our driveway since 7:00 a.m. and we were deliriously ready to be done.

$647 -  the total profit we made from our sale! It wasn't easy work, but it was worth it.

Full money bags at the end of the sale made me all smiles.

This was the second yard sale we've had since we've been married, and Clint has calculated that we average one a decade. With any luck, we won't work that hard selling extra clutter on a Saturday morning until at least 2027. Until then, if perusing yard sales is your hobby, I'll leave it with you. After all, one man's trash is another man's "will you take $3 for this?" 

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