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Archive for December, 2012

Although I love going to yard sales, there are certain things that annoy me to no end about some sellers and other yard-sale-goers. I preface this with the fact that I am probably just as annoying to them, particularly the sellers, as I often ask for a lower price on an item I am buying. This post will focus on yard sale SELLER annoyances.

Things that particularly annoy me about sellers:

1. Items not priced. I see something I like/want, and pick it up, searching for a price tag. There is none. There is no sign on the table. I ask the seller who inevitably says, “I wasn’t sure. I don’t know. What do you want to give me for it?” I just hate that. What am I supposed to say? What do I *WANT* to give you for it? Really? Well, maybe fifty cents, but you probably want more than that. Do I lowball and get rejected, or do I keep trying to them to name a price?

To answer my own question, most of the time, given this dilemma, I say, “I don’t know.” I look at them with a somewhat concerned look, and eventually they name a price. If they look like they don’t care what they get, I name a low price and take my chances.

2. Items that are WAY, WAY over-priced. I like items to be priced, but on the other hand, some sellers think that a yard sale is ebay. In fact, I have been to yard sales where they literally printed out a sheet that proved that whatever they were selling was worth $10 more on Amazon or Ebay (new of course), so that knocking $10 off their well-worn item was actually a good deal. “See, this toy cost me $50 on Amazon new, and at $40 it’s a great deal. No, the lights don’t work anymore, but remember, it would cost you $50 on Amazon.”

In these cases, I don’t buy anything. It’s hopeless. If someone really thinks their items are that valuable, why even bother. They might want to actually try ebay, where they probably still won’t get as much as they think their items are worth.

Sellers, seriously, this is a YARD SALE. People don’t expect to spend ebay prices. They go to yard sales expecting YARD SALE prices. If you want a huge amount for something, take the time to take pictures, upload them, edit them, and create an ebay listing for your item.

What’s almost worse is when the items are something really bad, like completely outdated clothing, and they want $10 for a pair of pants or something. Seriously?!? Who on earth do they think will buy them?

So, those are two of my “annoyances” about yard sale sellers. Don’t worry, my post about buyers is coming sometime soon.

As a side tip, I have learned that when guys are manning the yard sale you make out better. The wives are typically more attached to the items (i.e. “I remember my little darling in that dress. I want at least $10.00 for it. I paid $25.”), whereas the man will be like, “sure, take it for $1.00. I want the stuff out of the house.”

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I try hard to get a lot of our Christmas gifts at yard sales or on Craigslist .  . .although, at times, Amazon comes in really handy in December (particularly with free prime!).  Anyway, DH and I had been talking about finding a basketball hoop for our driveway for awhile now. We were looking at portables.

Then, on our local yard sale site on facebook, I found a $300 basketball pole/hoop (in-ground) still NEW IN THE BOX, for $100. It had great reviews online, so we bought it.

I’ll be honest, it took a long time for DH to assemble, but he did a great job. Here he is, at the end of the process:

Kurt finishing the installation of the basketball hoop

I have to say, the boys love their early (and largest) Christmas present. Unfortunately, it was very rainy this weekend. . .so it made for a lot of VERY muddy clothing and extra laundry. . .but they are so happy!

Shooting baskets!

Thing 1 shooting hoops

And, I am happy because we got an excellent deal through the online yard sale site and saved $200 on a very nice basketball hoop/set.

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I honestly do not have a lot of Christmas decorations. I have my tree, a strand of lights over the window, and a Little People nativity for my children to play with.  The tree and the lights came from Big Lots. However, I do have a few Christmas decorating items from yard sales, so I thought I would share. I want to look for more next year.

First, I have a beautiful Yankee Candle Christmas tree votive holder, brand new in the package from a yard sale– $2:

Yankee Candle Christmas Tree Votive Holder

I purchased this Christmas basket at a thrift store (not a yard sale, but still a great deal) for $1.90–It holds my cinnamon scented pine cones:

basket to hold pine cones

This Christmas tree skirt was from a yard sale– $2!

Christmas Tree Skirt

And finally, my all time favorite Christmas decorating find– my 25 cent “GARAGE SALE” Christmas ornament!

Garage Sale Christmas Tree ornament

Next yard sale season, I hope to find some Christmas themed pillows for the sofas in the living room, and possibly another decoration or two.

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Back in the “old days”. . you know the 80’s and 90’s, when I was young. . .yard sales just weren’t so profitable--or even worth going to. In fact, they were overall pretty dumpy. And there weren’t very many of them. It could be that the area where we lived was so poor, so any clothing sold was pretty much already worn out and ratty. It could be that people just did not have so many yard sales. I’m not exactly sure.

Since DH and I both grew up in poorer families, it was common to do back-to-school shopping at the local Salvation Army. These days, you can find some great deals at the Salvation Army Thrift Store. Back then, well, not so much. They were overall dirty and the clothing was at least 10 years outdated.

Then, sometimes there were hand-me-downs, which I was lucky to be the first one to sort through. These were still outdated, and my poor sister had to wear them AFTER me. Lucky her.

Speaking of hand-me-downs, once an older lady in our church handed down her underwear to my sister and I, wrapped up like a present.

Out of necessity, we still had to take (or wear) what we could find, whether from yard sales, hand-me-downs, or the Salvation Army, which resulted in DH having to wear plaid polyester pants and huge bow ties about ten or more years after they had gone out of fashion. I won’t talk about the hideous skirts and ruffled blouses that I had to wear to school. Wow, those were just awful.

There exist some hysterical pictures (sort of) from those days, where the ugliness of my wardrobe is striking.  I am not courageous enough to share. Then again, DH has a picture where he is with his family, wearing a plaid bow-tie that is about a foot long (honestly). Fun times!

My favorite old-time yard sale finds were old chemistry sets from the 50’s and 60’s with deadly chemicals and real glass test tubes. My siblings and I spent time trying desperately to blow something up, but I am afraid the chemicals were not at original strength.

And so, I am thankful for the modern yard sales, where I can find stylish, brand-name, clean clothing for my kids and beautiful artwork for my home, and other fun things. Not to say that I haven’t found some really, really, really interesting/weird items at yard sales, but that’s for another post.

Did your shop at the Salvation Army or at yard sales when you were a  child? Do your old family or school pictures make you cringe? Feel free to share! 🙂

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