A Satisfying Yard Sale

Our neighborhood rummage sale was Friday and Saturday, and I’m pleased to report that we managed both to free up about a cubic yard of space in our home and make several sale-goers very happy.

Normally I find working the sale tedious; I’m often the only family member around to sit outside and wait for customers, and there have been years when the traffic is sparse because we live on a one-way street at the edge of the neighborhood association boundary.

This year, though, all of the stars were aligned. The weather was wonderful, Younger Son was around to help with set-up and pricing as well as take a couple of shifts, and we had traffic! Several people an hour stopped by, about a quarter of them leaving with a purchase.

It was extremely satisfying to connect an animation buff with an Etch-a-Sketch-type toy called The Animator. He told Younger Son, who handled that transaction, that he can’t believe he missed this gadget when he was a kid. The Animator must have been meant for him; it hadn’t sold at any yard sale since the one I found it at, sometime in the mid-1990s.

The couple who bought the old Weber grill (a package deal that included a squirrel-gnawed bag of charcoal) was delighted to get it for barely twice the sticker price of the unopened package of drip pans.

The cornflower-blue insert from a long-dead Crockpot went to a woman who was looking for a casserole just that size for family potlucks. She snapped it immediately even though the lid had a “small chip in rim” label.

The happiest sale was finding someone who was thrilled to take a set of Wedgwood dinnerware off my hands. Back in the day, when I had the corporate salary that permitted Grand Gestures, I’d traded my mom a set of any dinnerware she wanted for the Haviland that had belonged to my great-aunt Kate. My mom bought herself a few place settings of the Wedgwood, which came to me after she died. The design was pretty and the pattern was elegant, but not anything I was attached to or had room to store on the off chance that somebody, someday, would want it.

I obtained a quote from Replacements, Ltd. {roughly a billionth of what I paid for it originally–but we won’t go there} and priced it accordingly. On the afternoon of the second day, someone walking a dog happened by and could not believe she could get a service for six for the price of the equivalent in Corelle. So now my mother’s Wedgwood has a new home a few blocks away, where it apparently will nicely complement its new owner’s regular china during holiday get-togethers, and I have gas and pizza money for a writers’ retreat I signed up for in August.

All of that would have been satisfying enough, but the cherry on the sundae was the book I read during the down times, Karen McQuestion’s Favorite, which I’d downloaded to my Kindle a few months ago and saved it for just such an occasion. There’s nothing like a good suburban gothic to make the hours fly by.

All in all, a most satisfying weekend, except for being tired all Sunday. I can’t blame the yard sale for that, however; it’s Karen McQuestion’s fault. I got so into the book that I stayed up much too late Saturday night to see how she carried it off.

© 2011 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go

This entry was posted in Notes from the Neighborhood, Porch Books, YA novels and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Satisfying Yard Sale

  1. Very successful weekend, indeed. Glad to hear your great-aunt Kate’s Wedgwood found a good home.

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  2. Peter says:

    Yet another thing I could blog about–this time, with mentions of Kafka and being mistaken for a homeowner.

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  3. Anne M Leone says:

    Oh, that’s so satisfying, when you get to share stuff you no longer want with other people who do! Lots of stressful preparation to get to that point, unfortunately!

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  4. MaryWitzl says:

    There are few things more satisfying than selling stuff you don’t want to people who are thrilled to get it. And we must be on the same wavelength: I was going to write about a yard sale myself!

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    • Anne Bingham says:

      My best yard sale find ever was the fake-Queen-Anne reclining chair that’s now my reading chair in our living room. One of the churches up the street was re-doing a parlor and was selling it for US$35.

      The interesting thing is that I had sat in that very chair just a few years earlier during some meeting or other–it wasn’t our congregation and I no longer remember why I were there–and had liked the looks of it.

      A year or so later I found an unopened envelope that appeared to be a brokerage statement between the cushions. I walked it up the street and had the parish secretary forward it to the person.

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