Thursday, August 11, 2016

On the subject of Yard Sales

My Anything Fiber Sale table, piled with goodies - cheap!

My mother would laugh so hard if she knew of my current involvement with one rather large yard sale, of which we all know. She was a yard sale queen. She roped me into helping her and it was always fun because she made it fun, but one thing drove me crazy. She would put out her knick knacks to sell and price them too high - $20 - 30. Worse, she’d put out her jelly jars and old dirty ashtrays and mark them at $2-5 each. Mom’s addiction to knick knacks was legendary and she would buy up other people’s stuff and resell it at her own sale with a hefty markup. Maybe there was a budding merchant instinct in her, but she rarely sold much of anything. I thought at the time she didn’t want to let her things go, but couldn’t admit it. 

She also had a lot of expensive fine craft objects, paintings and other nice decorative things, quite a collection. Every closet was filled with boxes and bags of stuff, many things in their original packaging, never opened. Mom confided in me once that she planned to sell it all if she needed the money. Of course, that was relevant since she was an older divorced woman. That was the moment when I saw that these objects held a protective power for her. In the end, she didn’t sell any of it, and I had to clear out her house and get rid of all the wonderful furnishings and decorative stuff. I thought she would probably be sad about it, but she made me executor, so she had to know what I'd do. 

And, naturally I had a yard sale, though it was now an estate sale, so we had a good turnout. I marked everything to sell. A nickel. A dime, A quarter. The most expensive thing was around $10 but nearly everything else was a dollar or less. It was a madhouse, a buying frenzy the likes of which I had never seen before. People were bidding on each box as I carried it out of the house, sight unseen. We got rid of nearly everything, though my sisters and I still have a lot of her art and craft collection. 

In a way, I had my revenge on my mom for her cautious yard sale pricing, and felt vindicated and not a little self-righteous. But really, there was a thrill in seeing people’s excitement as they got something wonderful for so little. And something once loved is loved again.

So that is the back story of my connection to yard sales. Along the way, I also have had experience and training in producing events like concerts and big meetings. I’ve done several Convergences as vendor coordinator, and have been a craft vendor myself in many, many shows, large and small. So it was fate and the universe pushing me in that direction, not me setting out to do this. 


I have seen buying frenzies again - every year! - at the Anything Fiber Sale, and excited people bubbling over about their great buys and good sales. In setting that in motion, I am content. But my mother is cackling in my ear!!