Being on holidays in America gives me a chance to share some thoughts about my experience with the cultural phenomenon of yard sales. I asked permission to take some photos of the goods for illustration, and bought a few bits and pieces myself. Not that it is my first experience with yard sales: I got a brand new Michelin map of Ireland for 25 cents a few years ago at one…
For those who live outside the USA, here is an extract from a Wikipedia article.
"A garage sale (also known as an attic sale, garbage sale, junk sale, lawn sale, moving sale, patio sale, rummage sale, tag sale, thrift sale, or yard sale) is an informal, irregularly scheduled event for the sale of used goods by private individuals, in which sellers are not required to obtain business licenses or collect sales tax...
Typically the goods in a garage sale are unwanted items from the household with the home owners conducting the sale. The goods are sometimes new, like-new, or just usable. Some of these items are offered for sale because the owner does not want or need the item to minimize their possessions or to raise funds. Popular motivations for a garage sale are "spring cleaning", moving, or earn extra money."
This soulless description won’t give you any idea as to why the yard sale culture beats eBay and Craigslist. A good few books have been written on the subject, which include social studies of yard sales, stories and tips. Selling, buying, collecting, refurbishing, reselling… For many this has become a way of life (Bargain Hunters and Yard Sale Queens are some characters!) Yard sale culture is complex and fascinating, full of resourceful spirit, joyful discoveries and unique experiences for both the buyers and the sellers.
I can see myself easily hooked, but going to yard sales once a year only gives me a glimpse of the magic. I can also see a prudent, environmentalist attitude resulting from the yard sale culture. People accumulate things, buy more materials than they use, get unwanted gifts, change their hobbies, etc. However, when bought by another person this stuff won’t become litter, it won’t contaminate the Earth, it will have another life, and may be even one more… And it doesn’t matter if that is a tiny souvenir or a huge piece of furniture.
If you are lucky you might find a treasure. Like this photograph of Charlie Chaplin with his autograph…
Picking through other people’s stuff is like going through their lives. A yard sale says lots about people’s lives. Both, the buyers and the sellers.
This brought back memories. My mother and grandmother used to hold a garage sale every year for, goodness, ten years. Whatever didn’t get sold would be boxed up to take out again the following summer. I would swear the same pink snowpants hung in that garage every July… I remember the nights spent hanging up clothes, pinning prices, labeling EVERYthing. And of course, the day of, one group of elderly ladies sitting and staring outside their car windows because Mom wasn’t set up by sunrise. … Ah, those days…
Ah, it is so funny, about the pink snowpants 🙂 I LOVE garage sales, and miss them dearly. Two Saturdays a year is what I get…
I love yard sales. apart from vintage crockery, we like browsing yard sales for children’s clothes and toys, and even furniture. now it’s yard sale season again and I look forward to what neat things are available.
Imelda, I hear you:))) Wish you best of luck! This is the best tradition ever, unfortunately we don’t have it in Europe:(
Amazing thoughts… thanks for sharing.
Thank you for visiting!
Love this post! I am one of those yard sale bargain hunters you mention in your post and have made it my main source of income. Check out my blog, I post every week on my finds for that week.
Hi Nicole! I hear you:). I absolutely love yard sales and i would love they had them in Ireland and in Europe in general. This is my last week in the US and i will go to yard sales saturday:). best of luck!!!!!
Fun post. I look forward to reading more.
Thank you for reading:) I love yard sales and hope to go again next saturday. Just love the spirit:) Hope you have a good week!
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