Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Hat was on the Other Head!

So my friend Judy, Friday yard sale sidekick and hat model, is moving in a few weeks after literally 30 years in the same house. Raised two boys there (one was a baby when they moved in, the other came straight there after being born). And through those years she and her husband kept a few things (as we all do) that they don’t need any more. So naturally, we had to throw a moving sale!

We had a blast. Lots of work, but we got rid of released for other people to enjoy a whole bunch o’ stuff, she made a few bucks, and now it’s DONE. All that’s left is to pack up and move! (Yes of course that’s a gross simplification…)

We originally intended to have the sale just on Saturday, and started pricing things early in the week. But after several other friends had seen what was waiting to go out and every single one said, “Judy, you have SO MUCH STUFF!” we decided to start on Friday. Which turned out to be a very good thing. Rain poured all day Thursday, Friday was fabulous, and Saturday it was cold and windy then started raining in late morning. By noon on Saturday we were more than ready to stop.

Here’s the scene as it was when we had moved everything outside into the front yard. Nothing was arranged, our initial goal was just to get it out before people started arriving.


Our Craigslist ad read “After 30 years in the same house, we’re moving to a smaller one…and a LOT of stuff has GOT to go! Friday, April 18 starting at 9 a.m. until we can’t see straight. Please do not come early, or you will be jumped on by a muddy and enthusiastic Springer Spaniel (no, he’s not for sale) and then put to work helping set up the sale.” Guess the early-bird warning worked, because with one exception everyone stayed away until close to the stated start time. And one of the first people who showed up wanted to know where the Springer was, he was looking forward to being jumped on!


The one early bird turned out to be a neighbor so we cut him some slack. He came because of this picture (from our ad).


I was shooting the very nice French door that needed a new home…but people were interested in the bicycle! And the neighbor guy bought it, even though it had had an argument with a parked car…and lost. The frame got bent in the accident but most parts were good, so this bike enthusiast was happy to wheel it down the street to his house. As we were chatting, I told him I really want to see his house sometime. It’s a style I’ve never seen elsewhere that was used on corner lots here. He started telling us about the wonderful original pink tiled bathroom and other great features, which he will not let his wife remodel. We applauded this, and when he left he told us to come by for our tour, and to make sure our bladders are full so we can use the pink bathroom!

I’m not sure if Salem is especially full of nice people, but over the two days there was only one guy who annoyed us. He made a low-ball offer for something and seemed really huffy that we didn’t jump at it. We were definitely handing out deals, but he was so irritating we just couldn’t say yes. The item he wanted was bought on Saturday by a very nice guy who was happy with the price.

There was a whole parade of characters. We were all a bit amused by the lady who saw the bucket full of baseballs and asked how much. Five bucks, I said (they were clearly marked). “I don’t want the balls,” she said, “I just want the bucket.” So I sold her a white plastic bucket that originally held soap powder or some such for $2, and she told us about her bucket collection. Her pride and joy is the red soy sauce bucket she scored from a Chinese restaurant. Twenty minutes later I sold the baseballs (for five bucks) to a nice older gentleman who volunteers at the neighborhood grade school.

The French door did get a new home…next door. A young couple is working on that house, and just fell in love with this door. I don’t think it was even the right size but he thought he could make it work, and was happy to hand over a twenty dollar bill for it. Before he carried it off he was showing his wife how the internal blinds work, running them up and down and turning the other gizmo to make them open and shut. “Oh look,” I said, “you can do Morse code signalling with it!” He liked that and seemed to be thinking about who in the neighborhood he could signal with it.

And Judy gets to brag to her husband. She picked up the door at another yard sale a few months ago when they were working on their rental house. It didn’t fit, and he thought she was crazy to spend (are you ready?) five dollars for it.

Interestingly, we saw lots of little kids on Friday, and hardly any on Saturday. Judy had a bunch of toys from over the years and most of them we gave away. Tossed all those odds and ends into a wading pool and just let the kids have what they wanted. One little boy climbed into the pool, sat down and played. These two were quite shy, but Judy won them over with trinkets.

P1050369The woman who earned my utmost admiration was the mother of twin boys, who cheerfully let one of them take home the free (and very shrill) orange whistle!

As we prepped for the sale during the week, Judy made one decision that turned out to be brilliant. We were looking at a mountain of clothing and talking about how to price things. You know how it is, a family ends up with stuff you don’t wear any more and some of it is spendy name brands and some isn’t. She decided that all clothes would be fifty cents and we just wouldn’t give another thought to what it was or where it came from. And unlike many sales where at the end of the day the clothes have hardly been looked at, we sold a lot. In fact, the clothes led to our favorite sales of the weekend.

A trio of boys, late teens/early twenties or thereabouts, showed up early on Friday. I first noticed them as they inspected the posters that used to belong to Judy’s boys (they bought several). After inspecting everything, they noticed the clothes, and all three found treasures. They paid for some stuff, then one came back for another shirt. The duck shirt. Hard to tell in this picture, but the print is flocks of ducks flying.


Can’t remember the brand but it was something pricey, and he was thrilled. I told them part of the deal was I got to take pictures of them for my blog. Aren’t they adorable? (Sorry, guys, but you are!)


The duck guy ran back for one more item, and his buddies were jealous. “A jump suit!” I heard one say as he donned it. “I would have bought it if I’d known it was a jump suit.”

I think we made their day with the fifty cent clothes. I know they made ours!


  1. Don't tell him, but the flocks of ducks look more like bouquets of flowers on my iPad! But then, he looks like a guy who can take it! Glad you had fun, & hope Judy's not moving too far away!

    1. Right now Judy's house is 5 blocks from mine. After she moves she'll be...5 blocks away! Yes, she's staying in our neighborhood!

  2. What a fun couple of days. Thanks for sharing. It was very enjoyable reading about the sale. xx

  3. Thanks for a great post! I feel like I was there! ;) But could you please ask Judy, who in her family went to prison to earn that pretty orange jumpsuit???

  4. What fun! I am partial to a car boot myself (so called this side of the ocean)
    Best wishes

    1. We wouldn't have made much money selling out of my car - its boot is too small!

  5. Hard to believe Judy's husband had an orange jump suit. A little highway community service perhaps? Seriously, I really enjoy your blog and am very jealous not to be there with you.

    1. I've never heard stories about any community service, but you never know! I just hope the kid who bought the jumpsuit didn't get taken for an escapee.

      We wish you'd been here too...would have been even more fun.

  6. Hi there from one retired library lady to another. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

    1. Hey Chris! Always nice to run into another happy library retiree! Your comment made my day.


I really love your comments. Thanks for coming along on my thrifty adventures!

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