The Great Yard Sale of 2016

Yes, it happened! My parents along with 5 other neighbors. Here are a few little stories.

The next town over had a borough wide garage sale event this weekend, starting at 9 both days. I wanted to start at 7. The other neighbors refused. I got in a huff and said it’s not their decision if I’m making the Craigslist ads, and I’m more concerned with selling things than being well liked by former neighbors. I lost and we advertised starting at 8, but started setting up at 5:30. The first customer was there at 6:40. I wasn’t playing around. We wanted to get rid of all this!

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We sold about half of it and made $430. Let’s try to ignore how much time we spent prepping for it over the last 2 months. At least we were thorough saying goodbye to our stuff and finding it a good home!

We had so much stuff we had to  get things out and fill the basement to sort, appraise, clean, and advertise things. Then we boxed them up and they disappeared to where we’d never find them again. Then we had to do it all a second time in the 2 days before the sale.

I joined about 12 yard sale groups on Facebook to advertise the sale. I thought it was an achievement to get my newsfeed to show me mostly news and a minimum of dinner plate and workout information. Now it is overrun with junk furniture spiffed up with Annie Sloan chalk paint.

15 years ago after my grandfather died we had an estate sale inside his house after taking away the things we wanted. One dealer was walking around the house peering through windows after we made her leave and locked the doors. Dealers fought with each other, made piles, dragged the items they claimed away from other dealers. My grandmother grew up in a Polish coal mining family and so you can guess how many times her dining room table even saw the light of day in the 45 years they owned it. That day it got scratched for the first time. One woman came in wearing what my mom said was a $500 coat and found a half empty box of sanitary napkins in the bathroom and asked my mom how much we wanted for them. Mind you, there weren’t women young enough to need them staying in his house very often. We were hoping for all of that stuff this time around.

This time, everyone was disappointingly sensible. The craziest person was the man next door. His wife said that my grandmother’s dining room chairs were pretty and close to what she wants but not quite, and too big for the room. My mom said, “Watch him come force them on her.” He came by and offered $50. My mom refused. If she really wanted them, they’d have been free.

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We thought it made sense to group things by style. People would be into one type of thing, right? But no one did it that way. The first customer to buy lots of things had one old fancy thing, one old rustic thing, some basic frying pan from the “dorm” department, and 5 fishing rods. Yes, this was basically the department store of yard sales. Next one my dad plans to clean out the garage so it will be more like Sears.

Remember what my parents’ basement looked like when it was a storage unit for me? Remember, this is not and never will be a blog of pretty staged pictures.

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No sooner did I get my stuff out than my grandmother moved AGAIN and the clutter came back. After everything was out to sell, my mom came down here and said, “Let’s pretend this is real.”

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In the end, we sold about half. We made $433. Which sounds great as long as you never, ever, ever think about how much time we spent on this. And the basement looks like this again, but you’re looking at all the stuff!

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So. We’ll try to consign what’s left of this fancy stuff, then give it to a church sale in the next town over. Not that we have any connection to this church but they’re having a sale soon. That means it’s not to late! Most of what you can see below can still be yours today! (Of course we both know that it’s hard to even give this stuff away.) Our remaining listings are here.

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But my mom resents giving away the things she paid top dollar for. The good pewter and the Baldwin brass and the one old ironstone piece that doesn’t have pink cabbage roses painted on it are all up in the attic now. Because my mom can’t stand to just give this all away. I was kinda glad thoe 2 coffee pots in the back didn’t sell. One of them is from my great great great grandmother. But it’s not going to my house anytime soon.

So. A lot less stuff. But also a lot of remaining stuff. And their storing a big box for my roommate now. But overall I think we undid what I did to them for the past 6 years.

 

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8 thoughts on “The Great Yard Sale of 2016

  1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

    Oh, and I should say that there’s some very small chance that the neighbor was joking about this lowball offer. Because he made it to me and never forwarded it to my mom. There’s also another small chance that I never acknowledged that it might have been a joke because it would be a better story if he meant it. There, Mom. I’ve cleared the air.

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  2. Barbara H.

    Congratulations. It’s a hard thing in many ways to do this. I keep saying I’m going to declutter but I waffle between taking it to Salvation Army and waiting for an acquaintance to have her yard sale. I don’t think I ever want to do it myself again. I had 2 that were a great success when I lived in a city but I’m out in the country now and it’s different. Glad you were able to sell as much as you did.

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  3. francetaste

    Tell your mom the stuff is going to a home that will use it. The money is nice, but not throwing perfectly good items into the dump is what really matters.
    Do you sell on craigslist? We use the French version, leboncoin.fr, all the time (though now the government is going to collect a sales tax on it!)

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    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      Oh, also, a man came by looking for stamps, coins, and postcards and gave my parents his number. So after all these things are cleared out, that stuff is coming out and we’re having him over. Another customer suggested that someone may take their dying beech tree for the wood, and if that works out the savings would probably triple what they made from the sale.

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  4. Nine Dark Moons

    progress is always good! and decluttering progress is always excellent 🙂 congrats on the money and the decluttering, even though you put so much time and energy into it and were hoping for better results. still sounds like a fun adventure!

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