June 25, 2010

Garage Sale Daze

‘Tis the season for unloading all your junk

We are in “full season” in Warrick County. Lest you think I mean summer baseball, I do not. I mean we are in full “garage sale” season. When spring arrives (one day in late April with low humidity, no rain, 70 degrees before the nineties and the ozone slam us for six months) out come the courier press.com garage sale signs.

I can usually throw a rock in any direction on a Saturday and find a neighboring garage full of card tables and an eclectic inventory. I have a theory that all of us in Warrick County are just buying each other’s stuff and reselling it. There’s not really anything new under the sun, is there?

I’ve had three garage sales of my own, each of them a spectacular amount of work for a modest reward. (That is, unless you count the joy of dumping as “As Seen on TV” items on your friends and neighbors.)

At the planning stage, there is much enthusiasm. We want to avoid Nicie Nash coming to our basement with the film crew of “Clean House -- Messiest Basement edition.“

We roam through our home, spotlighting all the things we can sell. How many salad spinners do we need? I think six is p probably enough. How long do we keep the traveling baby crib that was recalled in 1993?

Or Kentucky Derby glasses from the early eighties? Went to the Derby two years in a row and never saw a horse. Saw a lot of interesting humanity in the infield, however.

Expired pool chemicals? And why, oh why, did we take on my parent’s entire collection of National Geographic back to the Korean War?

The signs are up. The classified ad is placed.

For several nights before the big sale, we arrange and price items in our garage. At first much thought it given to an item. The first time I had a garage sale I bought actual price tags. By the third time I was using masking tape and a Sharpie. And late on the night before the garage sale, you just give up, too tired of writing anymore.

Clothing -- FREE -- just get it outta my house!

If you mentioned “books” in your ad, prepare to be awakened at five a.m. by folks who are always in search of first editions. SOL at our house -- every book ever given here has something written inside, diminishing the value to the purist. “Dear Junior -- Happy Fourth of July 1968.”

By mid-morning you have a sense of your success or failure. Do you see a large case containing a baritone sitting in the corner? Too bad. That’s the musical instrument your son played for months in the junior high band. You bought it on the “easy-payment” plan, terms defined as “you will make a monthly payment on this musical instrument until two years after your child has last touched it.”

Is your extensive collection of Barry Manilow Lps still stacked on your parent’s old yellow card table? Strike two.

But, wait, perhaps a little success. Your friend from Evansville needs stuff for her daughter’s new apartment. There goes the “étagère” we got at JC Penney, a fancy word for a kitchen shelf. Home run!

By noon, we’ve boxed up the balance and doled it out to the various charities. Maybe there’s time left on this fine Saturday afternoon to check out another sale.