Monday, May 4, 2009

To every thing there is a season...

You've got to love Spring. As we wait for Blackberry Winter here in the Appalachian Mountains and the final phases of Winter (see Spring...don't plant flowers until the Hoot Owl hoots), the sights, smells and sounds of Spring are all around.

Lawn work has begun bringing the airs of fresh cut grass. We wake to the songs of migrating birds returning to nest. Greens are a lot deeper and blues are a lot lighter. Wild flowers bloom endlessly in fields. Spring, the reoccurring time in the Northern Hemisphere from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice, is a perpetual metaphor for rebirth, being freshly anew and the unfounded Fountain of Youth. Spring is a time for love, the season of planting, and hunting for junk in yard sales...

What?!?! Yard sales??

Aw yes. The annuals of spring cleaning bring with it the need to unload all of the unnecessary stuff in our lives/garages onto other more deserving souls...the Yard Salers. A unique breed whose lineage in America, according to some, can be traced back as far as the Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans, although the claim is widely in dispute. The Yard Saler (or Yardy) emerges from winter like a hibernating bear restless from being couped up for months and ready to devastate a garbage pile anywhere in their immediate vicinity.

Attracting Yardies is really quite easy...albeit somewhat dangerous. But with a little planning and preparation, a safe yard sale experience to eliminate the jun...sorry... extra, unneeded stuff in your life and put a little cha-ching in your pocket can be accomplished. God bless the free market system in action at the grass roots level.

Start by setting a date, preferably a Saturday, for the event. Next, gather the items to be awarded and begin pricing. If you buy a pre-labeled pricing kit now readily available, be sure to buy an extra one. There are never enough 25 cents stickers in a single kit. Be sure to allot enough time for the pricing step especially if you are working with your spouse. Price debates are sure to ensue between family members and will ultimately resemble something akin to a normal trading day on the New York Stock Exchange. Expect it.

A common error made by most host is spending too much time on organization and presentation. Yardies don't care. Piles are acceptable and inevitable. Milk carton crates categorized by price of items contained are perfect. Easy to transport, Yardies can see contents, and they're reusable from year to year. you're not having another yard sale next Spring. All that's left is a couple of obligatory folding tables. Another word of caution, if you set the tables up in your yard the Friday night before the advertised frenzy, expect early Yardies. Also, working with the garage door open will attract early Yardies. You set it up...they will come and rummage.

Now all you need is a well-timed ad in the local newspaper (day of), a couple of rudimentary signs announcing the location (think high traffic), and maybe a call to your local 'swap shop' radio program if available in your area. Be prepared for an early start. Yardies tend to ignore the advertised sale times. If you plan to start at 8 am, you'd better be ready at first light because yardies are probably already there and waiting. Some have even been known to knock on a darkened house's door until someone was awake and ready to sell.

Another waste of time is planning for proper traffic flow. Once a Yardy spots your sale, all known driving etiquette/laws are out the window. Yardies have been known to create neighborhood traffic jams for hours with no remorse. Hit/bump and run is a common occurrence around frenzies. Chaos is sure to ensue and trying to prevent it would be like trying to control falling leaves from a tree during a windstorm in Autumn...futile.

Just this past weekend, a very good friend trying to get to work came across a yard sale frenzy. The scene she described sounded more like a scene from a rush hour freeway in LA. She was completely blocked from using the street in a residential neighborhood...and nobody cared! There's used clothing to be had woman, who cares about your job or your customers! I would have hated to be the guy waiting for a hair cut when she arrived at the shop...still steaming mad. Just take a little off the top probably took on a whole new meaning.

If you decide to unload some rubbish you've wintered in your garage with the arrival of Spring, just please make sure it's not the same stuff you bought at a yard sale last Spring. I'm mean...really now people...break the cycle of madness. It's not Christmas fruitcake.


David said...

Thanks for the giggle. I prefer to be a prowler, and not a yardie. I like to drive by holding the wife by the ankles while I see if they have any guitars!

Bud said...

I'm listening for the hooters. Got flowers to plant. Thanks for the yard sale advice too. Oh, it is best to have yardsales at the beginning of the month when the "Checks" come out. Thanks Tony!

Rosie said...

Oh that is too funny! The BIG Deerfield yardsale was last weekend. Thank God I was out of town. It can get very ugly in the neighborhood!

Lula! said...

Did you write this? Or Mrs. C? Because if YOU did, I am more in awe of you than ever. I mean, seriously...yard sales...awesome stuff, Tony.

p.s. Due to our area turning into Forks, Washington (minus some Cullen family vegetarianism), school is being canceled tomorrow. Because of potential flooding. I am not making this up.

katdish said...

First of all, I know how the song "Wildfire" playing in my head, thanks to the whole "hoot owl" thing, so thanks for that.

Secondly, I am going to have to disagree with you about the set up of a garage sale (that's what we call them in the Great State of Texas).

My friend and I have a garage sale about once a year. She is incredible organized and anal retentive. Shopping at one of our garage sales in like shopping at a store. Everything separated by category, clothes hung or neatly folded. We clean stuff up, etc. We rake in the cash, and have heard on more than one occassion, "This is the nicest garage sale I've ever been to."

I am vehemently anti-crap, but with 2 kids and a pack rat husband, things just alway seem to be piling up around here. Perhaps it's time for another garage sale. Thanks.

"She's coming for me I know...and on Wildfire we're both gonna go..."

Thanks again, Tony.

katdish said...

sorry - few typos in the last comment: I now have the song...

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