There is a popular alternative to the city landfill. It’s called a “garage sale”. Every summer I work tirelessly much like a squirrel gathering up nuts for the winter in preparation for the big day. This goes on for a week or two as I prepare for this marvel of commerce that will unfold in my driveway.
When the much anticipated day arrives I spend it raking in the dough in exchange for things I might otherwise haul to the dump. I learned the art of hosting a garage sale at an early age. My mom had one every summer. Back then it was fun. I was young and took delight in cleaning and organizing the merchandise and writing out the price tags by hand in my best handwriting, attaching them with care to my treasures. Fast forward forty years and I’m walking around the yard with a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie. Never mind the dust and dirt covering the merchandise. Using my finger I wipe off just enough dust so the tape will stick and move on to the next piece of crap. Things I once would have just thrown in the trash are now sitting proudly on display with a price tag on it.
All the while I am having visions of what I will do with my earnings. Yes, I start the day in this blissful state however, by the last hour or two of the sale, I am giving stuff away, begging the shoppers to just take it out of my yard. I would almost pay them a dollar just to haul it off. The thought of having to pack it all up and take it to the Goodwill is overwhelming at this point in the day.
Of course, I should mention that I could not pull any of this off by myself. Thank God for my co-host and hostess, my friend Sharon and her husband Chris. You guys make it possible for me to continue to do this at my advanced age – and for that I thank you.
When you are sitting in a lawn chair on your driveway with friends soaking up nature and presiding over this event you have plenty of time for philosophical discussion. For instance I was explaining to my friend about garage sale etiquette. Believe it or not there is such a thing. And also there is the “Law of Crap” which states “the junkier it is the faster it will sell.”
Take today for an example. We had three Weed eaters for sale. This reminds me of the story of the Three Bears. One Weed eater was in really great shape – worked like a champ, clean, aesthetically pleasing, and the prince of garage sale lawn equipment. Another was O.K. – a little rougher around the edges, but worked, and then there was the old ratty looking thing that wouldn’t even start. “What’s wrong with it?” they would ask. “Do you know what part is broken?” “Nope.” “Do you think it’s fixable?” “We have no idea.” Guess which one sold first? Yep.
Once I had a lady come to shop who bypassed all the lovely household items laid out before her and made a bee line for my trash can excising a used toilet bowl brush. “How much for this?” She queried. “Ugh, 25 cents?” I answered. “I’ll take it.” she replied.” Sometimes they actually pay YOU to haul off your trash. You can’t beat that!
As the event draws to an end you may calculate that the sales you’ve made have nearly recovered the cost of the ad in the newspaper and the twenty dollars you had fork over to the locksmith because you can’t remember what you did with the key to that car topper the one time you took in on vacation.
All in all it was a good day – time spent with good friends, enjoying the outdoors on a beautiful day. People paid us to haul away our castoffs. I will soon forget the exhausting days of preparation and dragging myself around the yard at an ungodly hour of the morning setting out my wares. I will only remember the fun we had and the extra influx of cash. That’s why I will do it all again next year. I have already started a new “garage sale box.”