Yard sale tales: A dresser for success
If you ever get tired of having self-esteem, I recommend holding a yard sale.
There’s nothing like random strangers wandering around your driveway, ridiculing the lifetime of accumulated possessions you displayed proudly in your home up until a few hours ago.
Like the palm tree-embossed “Puerto Vallarta 2002” salt and pepper shakers I once tried to sell. These were mercilessly mocked by a young couple, oblivious to the fact they held immense sentimental value — in that I bought them just hours before the first time I ever threw up in a foreign country.
So I prefer being on the buying side of garage sales. Marie and I habit them frequently, partly for the peace of mind. Having your young children locked into a car seat, physically unable to bother you for a few hours on a Saturday morning, is somewhat of a treat.
Plus yard sales are how we attire them. One day our kids will discover there are stores at the mall that sell nice-smelling, never-before-worn shirts devoid of stains, but for now, they think children’s clothing retailers are cash-only businesses located in random Redlands houses that close at noon on Saturdays.
We also love garage sales because you can save money on big ticket items, like mattresses. Some people are divas and only buy brand-new bedding, but used mattresses are perfectly fine, assuming you’re able to mentally block out images of the prior occupant’s activities on the mattresses and you aren’t allergic to llama hair. Plus you can always just flip the mattress over if you’re bothered by the police chalk outline.
We do see our share of yard sale failures, so allow me to offer unsolicited advice regarding inventory.
ITEMS NO ONE WILL NEVER BUY
■ Jazzercise VCR tapes.
■ Broken elliptical machines.
■ Ash trays from the Vernal Holiday Inn.
ITEMS WE WILL LIKELY BUY
■ Homemade VCR sex tapes you accidentally placed out for sale.
Dressers are the crack cocaine of yard sale shoppers. Whenever I’ve put a dresser out for sale, a yard sale shopper has bought it, no matter how ugly. (The dresser, I mean. Not the shopper).
I think it’s because you assume a dresser is expensive, so when you pull up and see the “$10” sticker, you buy it, because the dresser is big, and hey, everyone needs a dresser, and so 10 bucks seems like a bargain.
It’s only when you get home do you realize you’ve survived up to this point just fine without another dresser and that it is actually sort of ugly. So you put it in the garage to sell at YOUR yard sale.
Opposite of dressers are the junk people put out that will never sell. There’s a segment of yard sale hosts in town who seem to think there’s a lucrative resale market for Captain & Tennille cassette tapes & stained coffee cups bearing “State Farm” logos. The garbage can is your friend.
Which leads me to estate sellers, who will put a “50 cents” sticker on a dust bunny.
I respect the fact they’re trying to maximize value from the late occupant’s belongings. However, the potential gains from items like used socks or partially consumed food are overrated.
Whenever I go to an estate sale, there’s always an open box of cereal or crackers, half-full, tagged and unsold. Nobody wants to buy a half a box of Triscuits a deceased woman left behind. For all we know, those Triscuits are the reason she died.
And may I offer a word about yard sale signs? “What goes up must come down” may be the universal law of gravity, but that’s only because Sir Isaac Newton never drove down Patterson Road.
Please take down your garage sale signs. They’re ugly and misleading, and covering up more important messages, such as the “Lost Puppy” flier from 2013.
Other than that, Grand Junction yard sale sellers are doing a great job, which is why I’ll be out there again this weekend. If you see me, say hi. I’ll be the one hauling the ugly, over-sized dresser. It was only $10.