Monday, September 27, 2010

All I Really Need to Know I Learned at the Townwide Garage Sale

I am a garage sale fanatic, meaning that I enjoy sprinting across people's dewy lawns at dawn to rummage through their underwear, Tupperware and Mikasa wedding crystal.  Some of my friends consider this intrusive and disgusting (particularly the Mikasa).  But I've also learned a lot about life by interacting with my neighbor's castaways and I'd like to share some of this wisdom with you:
  • The 1970s weren't a particularly good idea.  The idea that they weren't a good idea is catching on.

  • You should know your friends really well before gifting them with anything meaningful.  The feeling may not be mutual.  I realized this when I found a copy of The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood - that wonderful ode to female friendship - inscribed with a heartfelt "To Our Own Ya Ya Sisterhood" and tossed by its "giftee" owner onto the 50 cent table.

    Three Bucks
  • Howard Stern's Private Parts is the most discarded book in New Jersey. I don't know whether this makes me proud or ashamed of my state.

  • You need to peel back the onion to get to know your neighbors.  Like the prodigiously tatooed Goth women with pure white skin and jet black hair who was selling both VHS chain saw slasher movies AND baby blue Smurfs.

  • Nothing announces "The shop is closed" to the broader neighborhood quite like attaching a "$1.00 or Best Offer" sign to your breast pump.  
  • You can never have too many Star Trek or Tweety Bird glasses.

  • Don't trust people who claim that their electronic items "work."  They are lying.  THEY ARE LYING.  I don't know if this is particularly endemic to people selling waffle irons (we bought one on two separate occasions) and you may wonder why we didn't ask them to plug the machine in before handing over our three bucks (twice!), but it's not easy to convince a stranger to make you Belgian waffles on their driveway. (Believe me, I tried).

  • Life is full of surprises and you may find a surprise in the cracked Jason Bay bobblehead with tomato sauce on its base.  But you probably won't.
Heaven on a Lawn
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The World's Longest Yard Sale


  1. You are a ray of sunshine on a rainy day!!! BTW-- the70's is widely considered the low point of design. Inquiring minds want and NEED to know...what did you buy at the yard sale???

  2. Oh YES! What did you buy at the yard sale??

  3. I didn't buy much this time - a book (I get most of my books at garage sales) and some candles (the seller had purchased dozens of winter/ Christmas-themed candles for her daughter's wedding and then her daughter rescheduled for August, so she was selling them for ....nothing. But I can take you on a tour of my house and show you everything that I've purchased at yard/garage/tag sales. In fact, my "Florida room" (screened in porch) is furnished almost entirely in garage sale finds.

  4. I was interested that, at our garage sale, my newer appliances didn't sell (granted, they were a bread machine and a George Foreman grill), but two ancient roasting pans and a fry-baby in less than excellent condition did. Go figure.

  5. I too love rummaging elbow deep through other people's stuff!

  6. I am totally consumed with thinking about what one does with a used breast pump?? But I am wondering if that is how they get the juice out of mangos?

  7. WOW! Joan ... you are like crazy funny!


  8. I gotta hook you up with my friend Kim - she's the queen of GS but you may be giving her lofty competition. Very funny!!