Confessions of a Yard Sale Junkie

My wife and I are yard sale junkies. I wasn’t always this way. Ten years ago I didn’t see the value in yard sales. Hey if those guys didn’t want it, why should I bring it into my house? Turns out you can find some awesome deals at yard sales. I have bought tools, water toys and DVD’s for $1. Now they’re not BluRay…and yes, some of them say BLOCKBUSTER across the front, but hey it’s a dollar! You can’t RENT a movie these days for $1. And don’t bring up the Red Box, buck-a-night from Wal Mart. You know you guys don’t return those things within 24hrs — stop lying to yourself!

On any given Saturday, my wife (who I’ll refer to as Smooch going forward) is up by 6am and checking her multiple yard sale apps. Smooch is actually on an email chain that sends her times/addresses of local yard sales. During this “critical research time”, she’s click-clacking away on her iPhone as I lie next to her wondering why I didn’t fall in love with a sleeper-inner. Ah, a sleeper-inner… (cue fantasy music) My sleeper-inner and I would lie in bed for hours watching the sun rise across our popcorn ceiling making stalactite shadows. But no. That’s that the woman I chose. The woman I chose is up and moving before the sun and the stalactite shadows. She makes the coffee, leashes the dogs and is in the car before 7:20am. I stumble down the driveway in yesterday’s t-shirt, looking like Rod Steward the morning after a late night concert in Fiji.

Smooch and I spend the next three to four hours driving around West Knoxville looking for things we just can’t live without: cross-stitched Christmas ornaments, Chris Farley’s highlights from SNL, perhaps a Darth Vader Pez dispenser.

We head for the main streets first, usually spotting signs on Kingston Pike, Campbell Station or Grigsby Chapel Road. Unfortunately, we’ve learned you can’t judge the quality of the yard sale by the quality of the sign directing you to it. We were once lured into a HUGE letdown by some well-made signs. Personally I don’t think they made enough money at that sale to cover the price of materials. But whatever. On the flip side, we followed some mediocre signs with deflated balloons to a sale, and found a chandelier that used to hang in the old Lord Lindsay Nightclub downtown! I know, right?

Hey, one word of unsolicited advice to anyone who hosts a yard sale — have iced drinks for sale and have your kids sell them. Better yet, make it a lemonade stand. If you don’t have kid, borrow some.

Unfortunately after years of yard sales, we had to devote one side of our two-car garage to her “treasures”. Now we have a house full of previously-enjoyed furniture, a front parlor of antiques and a man cave full of…non-manly items. Quite frankly, if our house ever caught fire it would burn for 6 months. They’d see it from space.

Now I don’t have a problem putting the quantity of our possessions into this blog. I’m not afraid.  It’s not like we have a 52” HDTV or expensive jewelry. The 4,400 lbs. of possessions we own amount in street value to roughly $138. But the items we have are full of character, you know?

It’s really not about the purchasing of physical stuff that matters. We’re in it for the story. During our yard sale adventures we’ve made great friends. We’ve been on dozens of house tours. Me and Smooch even helped a guy tap a keg at 10am.

We want to preserve the rocking chair that put three generations down for a nap. She wants to find the earrings that Great Aunt Myrtle wore to meet Uncle Fletcher at the bus station after World War II.

Yard Sales inadvertently protect tangible pieces of that Americana I’ve mentioned before. I love it!

So during your upcoming Spring Cleaning, set aside your old baseball mitt, your grandma’s canning jars and the carousel slide machine. Throw them all on a blanket in the front yard, pull up a lawn chair and make some new friends.

It’s Saturday!

5 replies
  1. MLJ
    MLJ says:

    Enjoyed this over breakfast, a tasty bowl of granola that once belonged to Grammy – the bowl, not the granola. Given the backstory I wonder how much I could get for it at a yard sale, again the bowl, not the granola. Hmmmmm you might be onto something.

  2. Aunt Brenda
    Aunt Brenda says:

    We ( my daughter and I) have made plans to go with “Smooch” for a few years but it never seems to materialize. I just realized that it might be hard to leave you at home.


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