Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I brake for Garage Sales

I brake for Garage Sales. Really, I do, and I'm not afraid to admit it. Do you?

My sister would say I enjoy putzing around in other people's junk (which she, decidedly, does not). I'm not sure I like how that sounds, but I guess it's a fair estimate -- because, I do after all stop at Garage Sales and many of them are filled with junk. But, one man's junk, and all that.

What is it about Garage Sales? What's the draw?

For me I think it can be boiled down to these things:

I'm nosy (a fact that I don't think most people would identify with me, because I can also be anti-social). I think it's fun to see what people accumulate and then discard at a sale. Junk can tell a tale about what captured a persons interest, what their hobbies are, where they grew up. Any number of things. And I like to see what's what. Nosy. Yup.

I like bargains. I think a Garage Sale is the ultimate in bargain hunting. Where else can you find stuff for a quarter or 50 cents that doesn't come in a plastic bubble from a grocery store vending machine? Because I'm a bargain hunter, garage sale-ing is an inexpensive hobby for me. Since I don't generally go to a sale with an objective in mind I generally don't spend much. I just see what catches my eye and then decide if I'm willing to pay the asking price for it. If it's a toss up I don't have a problem negotiating on the price (something that makes my husband cringe with embarrassment every time). I'm not shy about bargains.

I enjoy finding something unique that I likely wouldn't find in a store. Like the cool bronze Smith and Hawkins porch planters that I picked up last year for a few dollars each (never mind that I don't have a porch -- that's beside the point). Or the sweet wooden bowl from a sale two years ago which turned out to be a sailing regatta trophy from 20 years ago -- a fact I wasn't aware of until I was putting it in my car and saw the wood-burned writing on the other side (I was so taken by the shape and the patina that I didn't do a 180 degree inspection of it). Or the cute horizontal geranium artwork I picked up for 50 cents last month that was done by a Michigan artist. Unique stuff on the cheap.

I like the thrill of the hunt. Hunting down something that's "just right" gives me great satisfaction. A bowl that fits in the media center to tuck all the extra iPod accessories into? Check. A glass container with a lid to display my collection of beach glass? Check. Gently used, size 4T jeans for my nephew? Check (big time -- and brand name too). Noisemakers to use at our next Relay For Life of Lowell event? Check.

Someday I want to go to the world's largest yard sale ... Highway 127 Yard Sale ... 240 miles of salels from Michigan through Ohio ... miles and miles of yard sales. Just think what I could find!

So, what's not to like about a Garage Sale? It's kind of like shopping at TJ Maxx. You never know what you're going to find, but you know you'll have a good time on the hunt. Or is that just me?

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