Garage Sales

(summer/2008)

 

Summer means vacations and fishing to some, but to many the word summer is interchangeable with the phrase “garage sale.” It’s the season of the year to seek valuable information contained on garage sale signs before they are removed for the week-end. No one wants to purchase old plastic flowers or bent aluminum window frames from a garage in the winter, so it’s time to strike while the iron (and weather) is hot. It’s time to garage sale.

Saturday morning will invariably draw early risers hoping for a great deal. Most garage sales have set times however those who arrive early with pockets full of money often make their own rules. I’ve noticed that some people price every item while some have various islands of goods organized by price, I prefer the island theme but that’s difficult unless you’re selling books or like items. Sunday afternoon is a difficult time at a garage sale; items competitively priced a ten cents that would have gone home with someone instead were priced at fifteen cents and are returned to storage. The seller’s high hopes of a little less clutter are only partially realized, and the effort to carry everything back inside is exponentially greater in comparison to what was needed to first display everything.

Some folks buy garage sale stuff and just use it, some are just looking for project ideas but the most interesting buyer is the one looking for parts. My mother in-law, Jeanette Walseth, looks for parts. Jeanette visits garage sales like parents visit an orphanage-everything can be saved. She builds planters, bird feeders, benches and whatever her creativity demands, from items many folks throw away, or sell at garage sales. While doing a bit of research for this week’s column, I discovered Mr. Jalopy. Mr. Jalopy is like Jeanette in that he finds items bound for oblivion and creates something useful, interesting or both. He recently rewired an old stereo that he could record vinyl albums to an I pod. He also gives a lot of credence to those who garage sale creatively in that he is a leader of something called, “the Maker Movement.” This movement is composed of people who make items bound for a landfill into something useful. My Jalopy has even been consulted by large corporations who seek to market their products to people like him. The “Maker Movement” is supposed to be a new group in America’s culture, however I believe it’s simply making do with what you have, or with what you find at a garage sale.

Some garage sale for fun, others for their children’s dorm room, while others have a whimsy to satisfy. If times are indeed getting a little tougher, then garage sales make even more sense than ever. You can save money over buying new and a week-end of sales are much less expensive than the same time spent boating on a lake. Plus, where in the world are you going to find old plastic flowers or bent aluminum window frames, competitively priced, but at a garage sale.
 

 

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