Monday, May 16, 2005

Have a garage sale!


As the saying goes, 'One man's trash is another [sucker's] treasure...'

Seems like garage sales have been major events in my life, ever since my mom sensed their awesome powers and dragged me from one to the next - and then had a few traumatic ones of our own. Yard sales are not only events in which you make a dime on the dollar for all that stuff you bought (or were woefully given) that is eventually headed for the landfill. They are also intensely memorable experiences, compounded by combining forces with friends, meeting obscure neighbors, sorting and piling and remembering your own stuff but also parting with it for a pittance or a song.

Best to have fun with these things. I had a garage sale for 12+ (yes, count 'em, twelve plus) hours on Friday and almost as many hours Saturday, by the time the last "free" remnants were carried away from the curb.

Thanks to friends Susan and Mike, this was the least stressed/most fun garage sale I've ever had, and I've had about one about every two years. Some have been uptight, even contentious, with various parties ("friends") competing for sales and accurate accounting - whew!

But this one, even with a lot of work, flew with self-deprecating humor - the sign didn't say "sale." It said, "STUFF You Gotta Have." And we sold something to at least 70% of those gullible enough to step in off the street for a looksee.

"Hey, so you got stuff I gotta have? What is it?"

"Uh, well, I don't know, but we sure are going to find it before you leave here. I'm sure what you gotta have is here someplace!"

"So... what do I need that you got?"

"I don't know, but we sure are going to find it! Now don't you need a wood lathe or this nice bathroom sink? How about a basket to put your pet cobra in? Surely there's something here that you need - you know it and I know it!"

Sit there forlorn or bored or too self-conscious or (heven forbid) too reverential of your own junk, and a major opportunity is missed. People want bargains, but they soon learn that the best bargains are: a sense of gamesmanship, a sense of play, a true generosity, help above and beyond, the truth (even if its broken or wrong for their specific needs). A garage sale invites the surrounding world in to your piles of stuff. Treat your visitors well and happily, and there's almost no better way to spend a day or two. (I find Fridays afternoons/evenings and Saturday mornings 'til noon work best.)

The greatest thing about a garage sale is the socializing. A simple "SALE" sing and a a pile of stuff near the street gets all sorts of people - everybody from cheats to snobs - out of their front doors and car doors. You'll mix and mismatch. You'll commune, after a fashion - meaning the American fashion - meaning SHOPPING. You're amazed that disparate citizens from around your area have little reunions in your yard and that you make some unlikely and even (sometimes) substantial connections. That communal goodwill is probably fairly priceless in this TV-interred nation, so having a garage sale can be a gracious act of altruism - give away some things, bottles of bubbles to the kids and watermelon to the parched and persistent. Then, yes, there's the pocket change - about $500 for me this weekend - but for some great stuff and some DAYS of work, really, so a bargain? Yes, absolutely, since I am just barely getting by, eeking out some bills - that's real money these days.

Then there's that most amorphous and mysterious of aspects: recycling all this stuff, waylaying it's arrival at the landfill. Your greatest hopes are that your old trash will indeed be (or become) another's treasure, that your stuff will fill the real needs of another, perhaps less fortunate. Yes, the best garage sales are fantastic recycling projects.

That is the best thing that could happen in your driveway - that friends, neighbors and strangers find things they actually need and/or (ok) want, for cheap - with goodwill and smiles all around.

So have a garage sale. Don't take it too seriously. Price things (and show off your things) with a smile, and go for making social connections flow in your front yard. Rarely are we brought together with such good feelings as at a friendly and fun garage sale.


At 11/04/2005 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for offering this great service to learn about accessory alarm car. I have a website about accessory alarm car which makes me very interested in what you have going here. I think I am going to start up my own blog so I can spread the news! Thanks you are offering this great service!


Post a Comment

<< Home