Ode to a Yard Sale

*Founding a Father note.  The yard sale happened Saturday morning. I would have had the article up Friday night but I forgot I needed a shirt and a pair of pants ironed for work so I got a bit sidetracked and late posting this. We made $70 which is Steve Forbes kind of money when you’re talking about a yard sale.

The past few weeks, my wife and I have been preparing.  We’ve spent time in each room of our house.  We’ve been meticulous.  We’ve been thorough.  We’ve been preparing for the neighborhood yard sale.

A yard sale is as an American endeavor as apple pie and free WiFi. It’s your annual chance to molt away the peripheral junk taking up space in your garages, basements, crawl spaces, cabinets, and closets by offering it up to complete strangers for next to nothing.

This year, my wife and I made our annual trek through our house determinging what needed to be sold (it was like the Reaping from the Hunger Games but the electronic pencil sharpener never volunteered to take the half burnt candle’s place).  We had decided it was best to set up conditions for selection rather than go through the house like we were in the final round of ‘Supermarket Sweep’ with our arms spread out knocking tender loins & soup cans into a shopping cart.

Dust.  If the item in question had dust on it, it was chosen.  The kind of dust build up which you can’t even use your finger to write ‘Wash Me’ in (unless your finger was made of sharpened Corundum).  We also took in to account familiarity.  If neither of us were familiar with the item in question or we hadn’t seen it since ‘Friends’ was on NBC Thursday’s, it was picked.  Clothing that hasn’t fit since the last millennium, any kids’ toys that still had the faint smell of sour formula and rattled, and anything else my wife decided she wanted to get rid of (conditions be damned).  All those things we spent time choosing, were now to be sold at the yard sale for 90-98% less than what either of us originally paid for it.

My garage is now full of randomly collected items from the four corners of our house.  My kids are going to capitalize on the tsunami of folks wandering our sidewalks looking to spend a quarter like a Romero zombie searching for brains.  They will have a stand of homemade crafts, cookies, and lemonade to sell as a way to piggyback on patrons’ purchases.

My wife has prepared the price stickers for each item, mindful of current yard sale market values.  As a result, most of the items in our pile have a decimal point before each written amount.

And I am thankful I’ll be at work when the yard sale takes place.

I’m taking a moment to look at the heaping mound of “stuff”, which is walking the fine line of being trash. It’s late and my garage looks like something the producers of ‘Hoarders’ would consider ‘usable material’.  Admittedly, some of the things in the piles lining the floor still carry some measure of sentiment for me. Some things in the pile I didn’t even know we had or still had, some things make me realize I need to keep a closer eye on the checkbook, and some things I would pay someone to take away for me.  All of it patiently waiting to be put out for sale to the droves of people who will have shirked their Saturday yard work duties for the opportunity to use up the change they had in their car’s ashtray.  They will come early.  They will come often.  Some will come and not leave until they have had a chance to finger through every last thing sitting on old bed sheets on everyone’s lawn.

So I stand in front of our merchandise and bid it a final farewell (more like a good riddance).


Good luck to the Lucy, Lizzie, and Libby dolls that my girls have put out to be sold.
You’ve had your time but now your usefulness to my kids has run cold.
Goodbye comics and books I collected thinking I’d be able to make a boatload of cash.
Arrivederci to the computer monitor, tape deck stereo, and other stuff I now consider trash.
Farewell Hawaiian serving dishes, toy piano, stuffed animals and clothes that no longer fit.
May you all find good homes with people who don’t consider you shit.
Bon Voyage to board games with missing pieces, picture frames, and my PlayStation 1.
I’m not sure how you lasted this long in the house but your occupancy is done.
We’ll have everything from blouses and mirrors to baskets and clocks that no longer tell time.
We’ll have it all for those ‘yard sailers’ who are looking to spend a nickel or dime.
Everything will be spread out along our driveway and lawn, out for your pleasure.
This yard sale looks to be one man’s trash, but to another, all of this will be their treasure.

17 responses to “Ode to a Yard Sale

  1. Those sales are a lot of work for what you get out of them. But, I like getting to see all the “salers” because they come in all sorts and some are quite entertaining.


  2. ha! Love it! When we had neighborhood garage sales as a kid, my mom always complained that my Dad brought home more junk from the other sales than what we got rid of! I think you plan for a ‘one-off’ is much more affective in a ‘get rid of the junk once and for all’ kind of way! Great ode!


    • Thanks! My kids like to take the profits and go around looking for things to buy thus ensuring the never ending cycle of needing a yard sale every year continues 😉


  3. Yard sales are a ton of work, but usually end ok. Sometimes I am totally shocked at some of things people buy at yard sales..but what is they say about other peoples trash right??


  4. For some reason, PlayStation I made me laugh. I just went through a big decluttering process. I try to go through the house with a trash bag every couple of months. It feels so good to clear my space. I usually just donate stuff, but we’ve had a lot of luck with Craigs List, too.


  5. I had a Garage Sale at the beginning of May and we made $27. It was a drain on my time and my life, so I’ve vowed to never do it again, lol. Donation bins, here we come!!


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