Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Garage Sale Gems: The People

by Kim Van Sickler

I had my first garage sale the other day.

The prep was just as painful as I thought it would be.

First there was all the cleaning and discarding of boxes and mounds of stuff. Did I really think that any of the kids would claim that massive decade-old microwave I saved for them? Why in the world didn't I throw away that obsolete vacuum cleaner that requires a bag and doesn't even stand up straight anymore? And those boxes of clothes stored in the barn? Looks like they kept the mice and voles warm over the winter. Here's what my tree lawn looked like on garbage day.

I know the garbage men were cursing me.

Then there was all the organizing of my life's cast-offs. Sifting through memories. Pricing them. Storing them until garage sale day when the items would be staged for maximum effect.
My garage pre-sale: chock full of crap that I nevertheless felt was worth something.

All of that sucked. But it was necessary. Purge-time could not be delayed any longer.

What I didn't expect was how much I enjoyed the garage sale itself.

Gorgeous weather helped. My friend Nancy and I parked ourselves behind our cash boxes at our folding table in the driveway and waited.

For the focused man who announced he was looking for antiques and decided in about 53 seconds that it was time to move on. At that rate, we figured he might have been able to make it to all 81 garage sales scheduled in our community that day.

For the man recovering from mouth and throat cancer with a mutilated face who graciously insisted on paying me a couple of dollars for some sort of tractor apparatus cover I planned to throw out. His beaming wife told us all about the dream workshop he built for himself that sounded like something from Popular Mechanics meets Good Housekeeping.

For the friend who dropped by with her two adorable kids to buy the bike cart that racked up countless miles and countless memories with my kids.

Photo: By far one of my best yard sale purchases!!!  The kids are loving riding around Willowick!!!  Thank you Kim Van Sickler!!!
Sarah is using my old bike cart to take her kids on neighborhood outings and to school.
For the family that lingered a little too long over by all of my pool supplies that were useless to me now that I didn't have my pool. They finally bought my Intel steps and gargantuan pool cover when I threw in every pool part I owned, then we had fun dismantling the ladder to fit in their car.

For the man who bought my son's bike, and then biked back over to tell me how much he liked it, thus allowing me to snag him to help me cart the stuff that didn't sell away. I guess I was good enough company that he returned later with his adorable six-year-old son, who grabbed his fishing pole and earnestly explained to me how it worked. This little whirlwind pinwheeled his way into my vegetable garden where he got a lesson on the veggies and herbs I like to grow and happily picked lettuce for his dinner salad, exclaiming that it was going to be the best salad ever!

Maybe garage sales are fun after all. Even if I only netted $383.

Have you ever suffered through hosting a garage sale? Do you like to shop at them?


  1. Not a garage sale person myself--but I can resonate with the "purge-out of what is no longer needed" and the relief that brings when the house is lighter!

  2. Yes, and I'll never do it again. You made a lot more than we did. But, you met some interesting characters. They might wind up in a book someday.

  3. $383 beats our best garage sale take by over $200.

  4. Yes, Carol, the purging of extraneous stuff was freeing. Alex and Kathy, I really didn't think I made much money, but in light of your garage sale takes, maybe I need to reconsider...

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