Monday, June 9, 2008


“Richard, come help me with this,” said the woman arranging items to sell on her driveway. I smiled in her direction as I browsed. After a moment she said again, “Richard, give me a hand here!” Then she looked up at me and began to laugh. “I'm sorry, I thought you were my nephew.”

Which was a first; don’t think I've ever been mistaken for a nephew before.

The first Saturday in June is an intense garaging day. The town I live in allows sales on only four weekends a year, and June is your best bet weather-wise compared to March, September, and December. Of course the other towns around, which are all crowded shoulder to shoulder in the 948 square miles of the OC, apparently have no such rules, but this is the prime garaging season. I only got to two neighborhoods, and there were several more tract-wide sales I missed. If any of you garagers/thrifters/junkers are ever planning a visit to this area, this is the time to come. Send the rest of the family off to Disneyland and tell them you’ll join them later. Maybe I should start a new business, leading tours of garage sales for out of towners. If you do come this time of year, you’ll get to see the jacaranda trees blooming, each with their lacy shadow of fallen purple blooms at their feet.

I got in a hurry trying to get to as many sales as possible, so some of the notes I scribbled as I went are completely incomprehensible now. One of them says something like “1st good tree except for those brothers.” Your guess is as good as mine. Another might be “good climbing” or “good dinking.” I do recognize the note about the décor in front of one place I stopped. All the garden beds where most people would plant flowers were covered with white gravel and planted with a huge collection of plastics trucks, cars, firetrucks etc. It sounds like it would be tacky but there was such variety and exuberance, it was so colorful, that it came across as naively charming. Certainly the little boys arriving with their parents for the garage sale were charmed!

At another sale I saw wheels of another sort. A little girl about three years old had brand new pink plastic roller skates, and her mother was bent over, supporting her on her maiden voyage down the sidewalk. “You’re going to have a lot of fun with those,” I assured her, remembering my own roller skating days. Her mom smiled at me ruefully. “And my back is going to pay for this.”

The prize for the most California attitude goes to the dad I was chatting with about decluttering. He said how much he was looking forward to parking inside the garage. I noted it was carpeted and opined he might not want to park on that. “That’s okay,” he said. “Cars are part of the family too.”

I spent—gulp!—a whopping $14.50 on Saturday on:
Some door prizes for children’s librarians…a string of fun lights and a pair of board books

Prizes for the summer reading program I run for staff..a couple of these bookmarks that you can insert a photo into. A picture of your favorite author? Yourself to identify the bookmark as yours? Your cat?

Two lovely purple pillar candles

A handmade throw pillow cover from Hawaii

For myself I picked up a red visor (tennis visors are perfect to wear in a convertible, shading your eyes without giving you hat-hair)

A string of glass and turquoise beads (they need a new clasp, but for fifty cents I figured I could work something out) and a couple pairs of dangly earrings

A fun wire basket, looks pretty old. The ribbon has got to go! Should I line it with vintage fabric and use it in my office, or moss and plant something in it?

A trio of picture frames

A couple of items for my office at work…this pretty cache pot for a plant and a Maisy pull toy for the children’s literature toy collection

A pair of boots to sell. Got fooled on these—they’re in a Tony Lama box, but the boots turned out to be Justins instead. My bad for not looking more closely, but I'm only out a buck, so if they don’t sell they’ll be off to the thrift store.

And the piece de resistance,

a vintage Saks Fifth Avenue bag, navy leather with Lucite handle and clasp. It's absolutely delicious. I think the Coach bag I've been using needs to take a little vacation.

And speaking of little vacations…I had an email from my sister the other day. She and her husband were going to celebrate their anniversary this past weekend by going to Kansas City (they live near Tulsa). Partly, she said, to do a little gambling on the riverboat, but mostly because it was KC’s city-wide garage sale weekend.

This garaging thing must be genetic!


  1. Boots say they're a 9B. I'm not sure if that's a lady's 9 or a man's, though B is the standard width for women's shoes. I wear a 10 and they're a bit longer than my feet, but that's the pointy toe part!

  2. Oh how fun! You got some wonderful things!

    Hey, I live in OC too. I'm over by South Coast Plaza. Where about are you? I'm thinking of getting some OC bloggers together for lunch or tea some time. Would you be interested?

    Stop by my blog if you like. I'm having a give away. You may be interested in.


  3. I needed a laugh and your blog made my day! Absolutely love it! I will be back.

    I would love to add you to my blog list if you don`t mind. The world needs more FUNNY!

  4. It certainly was a haul. I love thrifting, it's so much more fun than just going to a mall. Gorgeous cowboy boots by the way.

  5. You'll do okay on the Justins - I made the same mistake you did on a nearly identical pair but got $10 for them on eBay a couple of months ago.


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

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