Garage Sale Redux

It’s Sunday morning and outside my window the snow is softly falling. It makes me sick. I don’t care how soft it is, when it hits the freeway it’s a big sloppy nightmare. Damn snow.

August 18, 2009 – Garage Sale Results
How to lose five pounds in 30 days: 1) set a date (roughly one month away) for a garage sale, 2) tell the family, 3) start digging, hauling, cleaning, sorting and pricing.

I’m not saying it wasn’t worth it; I’m just saying I’ll never do it again. We made a grand total of $827.95, which means we moved a lot of merchandise, given that the highest priced item sold for $28. The aftermath: ten large garbage bags and one box of donations; seven large bags of true garbage; half a garage of leftovers that Gina is moving to her house for a follow-up sale on Labor Day weekend. (They live in Roseville. She thinks they’ll get all those State Fair patrons going back and forth to the Park & Ride.) I have agreed to assist, since I could stand to lose a couple more pounds.

What DIDN’T sell:
prom dresses (not one)
1980s posters, including four M. Jackson (not one)
1950s-era McCalls magazines (not one)
shoe charms
Mac software (including “Quicken 96” and “Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing”)
wall map of Jamaica
inflatable palm tree
four room humidifiers
five Christmas wreaths
Christmas nutcracker (motion and music!)
Christmas nutcracker (just stands there)
Christmas nutcracker ornament
elf, frog and polar bear slippers
little liquor barrel that hangs on a St. Bernard’s collar
McDonald’s visor, apron and badge
12″ plastic rabbit (amazingly lifelike!)
hair extensions
bowling shoes
two adult cow costumes
one Elvis costume

What DID:
LPs, 45s, movies, CDs
stuffed animals
chain saw
animal-shaped lawn sprinklers
Santa Claus rug
Salad Spinner
perpetual calendar
sweater stone
cowboy hat cleaner (and hat)
13-pc. child’s bed with no hardware or instructions
fluffy sheep hot water bottle holder
a lot of other stuff someone actually thought they needed

September 9, 2009 – Follow-up Garage Sale at Gina & Bret’s
We had a second and last garage sale last weekend at Gina’s house, where we managed to unload the polar bear slippers and the liquor barrel for a St. Bernard but not a single prom dress. People just don’t dress up anymore.

While we were outside minding business, Maria kept one-year-old Cosette occupied in the house for a while watching a “Veggie Tales” movie. It seemed like a good idea at the time but failed to take into account that, at nine, Maria still gets some odd notions. When I went in to check on them, she had a toothbrush with toothpaste on it and was trying to get Ursa to sit still and open up. The dog, having more sense than a nine-year-old girl, was having none of it. I don’t know if it was Gina’s toothbrush or Bret’s, but I’m pretty sure there’d be a big holy to-do if either one of them thought it was being used on the dog. So we put the toothbrush back in the bathroom and swore each other to secrecy.

Everybody doesn’t need to know everything, you know.


Igloo Building 101: Don’t forget to sign up

Snowed here yesterday. Snowed here today. It’s supposed to snow here tomorrow. I heard on last night’s news that 47 of the 48 contiguous states have snow on the ground, the one exception being Florida. I don’t know what it means. I just throw it out there.

The Garage Sale, Summer of 2009:

July 29
The garage sale is my life now. My house is torn up from top to bottom. And here’s an interesting phenomenon: I’ve found there are some essentially worthless items that I just can’t part with – an old ankh and crystal necklace, a tin box with a picture of a woman in a convertible on it, a red and black feather boa – things I have no use for that nevertheless appeal to me. It isn’t a comforting thought.

More garage sale treasures found:
13-pc. unassembled child’s bed with no hardware or instructions
Christmas nutcracker (motion and music!)
Christmas nutcracker (just stands there)
Christmas nutcracker ornament
Mood ring

August 5
Behind the Christmas boxes and some old bolts of fabric, I found a bunch of posters from the eighties – Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Jon Bon Jovi, Rob Lowe, The Eurythmics.

I thought we might get something for the four Michael Jackson posters, seeing as he died in scandalous circumstances just last month. Interestingly, more than one daughter claims these were hers. (Gina says her kissprints are all over them, which I guess means they could be tested for DNA.) I’m waiting for someone to mention that I’m the one who saved them from destruction and stored them all these years, but so far no one has.

And still more treasures:
fluffy sheep hot water bottle holder
elf, frog and polar bear slippers
little liquor barrel that attaches to the collar of a St. Bernard

You can’t make this stuff up.

August 7
A good share of my potential garage sale profits have gone out the door with the kids, including but not limited to: four ladderback chairs, four Windsor chairs, a girl’s bedroom set, a turntable and old albums, a 75-year-old dollhouse and an 18-pc. set of Armetale plates. On the other hand, I still have all those prom dresses and animal slippers.

By now you’re probably asking, doesn’t that woman throw anything away? I resent that, even as I ask myself the same thing.

Still more treasures for the sale:
McDonald’s visor, apron and badge
30-40 stuffed animals
Prince album autographed to “Denise,” who no one has any recollection of knowing

August 11
The sale is this Friday and Saturday. The garage is overflowing, nothing is set up, the house is a wreck, my back aches, and I have boo-boos on two fingers. On the other hand, I think I dropped three or four pounds, so there’s that.

Made up some signs advertising the Not Dead Estate Sale. Given the heat, my guess is the big seller will be bottled water.

Still more treasures uncovered:
12″ plastic rabbit (amazingly lifelike!)
hair extensions
bowling shoes
perpetual calendar
two adult cow costumes

Coming up: Garage Sale Results!

January ad nauseum


Why, yes, it is snowing again. I’m ignoring it.

July 24, 2009 – The Garage Sale, Part 2

The garage sale progresses as well as you’d expect, only worse. The mountain in the garage is rapidly encroaching on my parking space and the kids keep dropping things off. I can’t open the car door all the way and have to step on bed rails to get out.

Gina, hubby and toddler spent last weekend at my house so she could sort through her stuff. She didn’t finish, and if she finds one more thing she wants to take home with her, divorce is imminent.

Jill brought several things over to sell but never looked at her pile of belongings in the basement.

Jessica found a number of household items her paternal grandmother gave her, but we can’t put them on the garage sale in case they turn out to be valuable.

Also, I’m getting some pushback on selling the formals. One daughter might want to dress up as a lounge singer for Halloween. Another thinks she may again fit into that dress she wore to the 1993 Homecoming Dance (once the baby weight is gone).

More garage sale treasures found:
sweater stone
inflatable palm tree
cowboy hat cleaner
5 Christmas wreaths

Meanwhile, I have several closets and drawers to go through. I overdid it last weekend – now I have a sore back and two tennis elbows, and I figure the chiropractor’s bill will probably eat up any garage sale profits.

Coming up: The Garage Sale, parts 3 to 6

Is It Summer Yet?


It’s January 9 and about zero degrees. No one wants to be out there. The holidays are over and I have no winter travel plans. It seemed like a good time to drag out some old things I wrote when the weather was kind and I could walk to the mailbox barefoot.

July 15, 2009 – The Garage Sale, Part 1
I try to avoid selling things to strangers out of my garage, but it seems that every five to ten years I need to do a great purge. Which doesn’t mean I’m not sending things to Goodwill on a regular basis. I think it’s a testament to the American ability to collect crap. Which isn’t to say my stuff is crap. I don’t want it anymore, but I’m sure people of discriminating taste will be breaking down the door. This is the kind of stuff I’ve uncovered to date:

20-30 assorted key chains
Shoe charms
Deviled egg carrier
Halloween costumes (including Siamese twins pants and all the characters from Kingpin)
McCalls magazines, ca. 1952-1959
11 prom dresses

I also have two wedding gowns which I’m sure the owners won’t part with. No, those dresses will hang upstairs for another 15 or 20 years being saved for their own daughters, who won’t want anything to do with them.

I’m planning the sale for mid-August because I need that much time to move things into the garage and to motivate my three daughters by whatever means possible (threats, bullying) to come and sort through their treasured keepsakes. Each of them has a pile in the basement with her name in chalk above it. These are adults. They’ve been adults for a long time. Two of them have their own homes with their own closets and basements. I told them last week they had to come over and take what they want, because anything left will be sold. Jill came over last night (with the kids, a mistake right there). Did she go through her stuff? No. She took several items off my sale pile though, which will now sit in her basement for the next five years, while the kids made off with some old toys and broke an ornament I might very well have gotten a buck for.

Gina is coming over on Saturday. She was the last one to live at home, so she has several boxes in the upstairs closet as well as that pile in the basement. And Jessica insists that she has nothing to sell (20-year-old skis? an end table with half a top?) and no storage room at her apartment. So you see, this is where the threats and bullying come in.

If anyone needs a prom dress, I probably have the shoes to match.
Stay tuned for The Garage Sale, Part 2