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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yard Sale

The weather has finally cooled and I’m ready to find some great trash at yard sales.

Yard sales are somewhat of an addiction, like eating chocolate in the morning. It’s an indulgence that leaves a fabulous taste in my mouth all day long.

I’ve raided the counselor’s wallet, and find a couple of $20.00’s. Thanks honey. I’ll bring you home something fabulous.

This time of year, many neighborhood yard sales are held for a good cause, be it the girl scouts or cancer awareness.

With this motive, several families and neighbors pour their trash into one long driveway and you never know what you’ll find. I walk up and down the make-shift isles, bending down to examine piles of clothes sprawled out on old Raggedy Ann bed sheets. Gap, American Eagle, Ann Taylor and more. There’s no price labels, no tags suggesting what I pay, so I get to negotiate.

They say that the number one fear of American adults is not the fear of heights, or death, not even public speaking. It’s the fear of negotiation. Isn’t that somewhat shocking? Did I mention my degree’s in communication, emphasis on negotiation and conflict?

My last stop is at a beautiful home, full of Halloween and Christmas decorations. I spot a large cardboard box filled with Hallmark Christmas ornaments, each ornament in its original box, complete with its certificate of authenticity.

They are amazing: Santa surfing, a raccoon delivering Christmas mail, a crocodile in a red shawl. My kids will love them. I want all of them.

These ornaments are valuable, some have the original price tags at $25.00 new. And I know they’d be a huge hit on Ebay.

But, $5.00 each at a yard sale? It’s not likely the seller will get many takers at this price. There must be about 75 ornaments in this box. At $5.00 each that’s about $350.00. Suddenly, I have an idea.

“Excuse me,” I say to the homeowner. “What will you take for the whole box?”

He’s a nice man, and scratches the top of his head. “How about $50.00?”

I quickly do the math in my head. That drops the price to about .75 cents an ornament. Still, $50.00 is a lot of money.

“How about $40.00,” I say in return.

“Deal,” he smiles. “I have about 700 of these ornaments in the house, but the ones I’m selling here are all duplicates. I just want to get rid of them.”

I reach into my purse to pull out the twenties (Thanks again, honey) when the homeowner asks if I’m interested in a Christmas tree.

I walk into a garage just as his son attaches the last piece of a 10 foot Christmas. The pre-lit tree is gorgeous, in perfect condition and huge.

“My wife wanted a smaller tree this year, so we’re getting rid of this one. We got it at an after Christmas sale a few years ago for $400.00. Originally it was $800.00.”

His wife walks into the garage and realizes I’m interested in her gorgeous tree.

“If you take it off our hands, I’ll only charge you a dollar a foot. $10.00 and the tree is yours.”

So, for $50.00, I pack up my car and prepare for a blessed Christmas.

I was so excited; we put up our new tree this weekend.

Mayer’s certain Christmas is tomorrow and I spend some time explaining to him that Christmas is in about 50 days. He’s confused, even sad, but I divert his attention with a skiing penguin ornament and he cheers up right away.

The boys loved the ornaments, each picking out their favorite.

I try to keep those cute original boxes in some sort of order, after all they are about 25 years old, but with four boys ripping through them, well, I’ll have to see how bad the damage is when I try to put the ornaments back after Christmas.


  1. Wish, wish, wish I could see it in person. I feel like I'm on these adventures with you. You are so wonderful. Who else but you would put up a tree in in the middle of November? XOXO

  2. Um... I know who else would put up a tree in the middle of November & then keep it up the rest of the year! Any guesses?... Your mother, that's who.

    So, YES, great find & it's gorgeous! BUT... you must promise me you will take it down after New Year's. :)

  3. Nice blog. I would love to visit your yard sale.

    My Yard Clothing