We have too much stuff.
Seriously, how the heck did we accumulate all of this stuff?
Books, furniture, tchotchkes, weird kitchen gadgets and serving items, miscellaneous goofy things, more books, more tchotchkes, more books, more tchotchkes.
We got STUFF.
So yesterday we have a yard sale - primarily to get rid of all of the stuff that we had been storing in our large and small basement storage rooms because we're finally having a professional come in to deal with the flood damage to our basement.
Hosting a yard sale is exhausting.
You stay up WAY TOO LATE the night before pricing all of your various and sundry stuff. The kitchen and living room are your basic staging areas. This is so you can haul the stuff out to the driveway and front lawn post-haste the morning of the sale in something of an organized fashion. Then you get up CRAZY EARLY on a Saturday morning to engage in the set up of your stuff. You've placed ads in the paper and on Craig's List. Ads that list what assorted bargains yard salers might expect to find amidst your particular treasure trove.
Ads that say, "No early birds please."
But, of course, there's at least that one guy who shows up 50 minutes early when you have maybe a third of the stuff actually outside and set up for display. He hovers around for about ten minutes while you're hauling stuff outside like mad. You hope that he doesn't just grab something and leave while you're not there supervising.
Your mother-in-law and uncle-in-law arrive with the stuff that they'd like you to sell on your behalf so you give them different colored stickers than yours so you can figure out who gets what $ in sales.
And then the fun begins once you're all done setting up and the raging hordes of yard salers descend upon your driveway and yard.
Some look at every single item you have on display. Study them to see what might actually be of value or of need for them.
Others do a quick walk through to see what jumps out at them immediately. Some of these folks leap back into their cars to head onto the next sale, hoping that the next sale had better junk than yours.
Others find just what they didn't know they were looking for. A lovely woman practically runs up to me with a wooden serving tray I received for Christmas a number of years ago. It has a large rooster on it and has sat unused in a cabinet since the day I received it. "I can't believe you have this!" the woman exclaims, "My mom just re-did her kitchen and everything is roosters. She's going to love this!"
Some meander around with no apparent method of selection and ask, "How much for this?" for every item they pick up in spite of the price tag on the item located right next to their thumb.
Still others do the sloooooooooowwwwwwwwww drive-by in their cars...some to turn around and actually get out to shop, while others just keep on driving. Who knows what they were looking for.
And lastly, you have the quick drive-by people. These are the folks who apparently and miraculously can tell in 30 seconds if you have or don't have good junk. (These are the same folks who drive by with their cell phones clutched to their ears, no doubt reporting to other yard salers, "Yeah, you can skip this one. Nothing good here!")
Everyone wants a bargain.
Some will simply hand over the $ no questions asked when you tally up their purchases.
"OK, that's five paper back books for $2, the serving platter for 25 cents, the potholders for 25 cents, the set of 6 candles for 25 cents. That makes the total $2.75."
"How about a dollar?"
We keep our books in beautiful condition. Particularly Chris. He can read a paperback book and leave it looking brand new as if no one had ever even opened it. I'm getting better at it (particularly now that I don't read in bed much anymore and so do not fall asleep on top of my books...) So we didn't think it unreasonable to charge 50 cents per paper back or 5 paperbacks for $2.00 for our almost pristine books. Considering that paperbacks today cost almost $9, we thought 50 cents was a pretty good deal.
One yard saler later in the day is simply UP IN ARMS about our pricing.
"When I have a yard sale, I only charge 25 cents for a paperback," she says testily.
She weasels the entire Peter Robinson set of Alan Banks mysteries - all 14 paperbacks! - out of us for 3 bucks.
Another gentleman, a neighbor of ours who drives a very expensive car, wants Chris' $120 diving flippers for a buck. Chris holds out for the $10 he has listed on the price tag. Cheap neighbor guy acquiesces after a while of making jokes and trying to get Chris to relent on the price.
I like the lady to who drives up to our yard sale in a brand new Jaguar.
A. Brand. New. Jaguar.
"Maybe this is how she can afford that Jag," says Chris to me after Jaguar Lady leaves.
At the end of the day a lot less of our stuff is left in the yard, but there is still lots of it.
Not our most successful yard sale venture, but still...there is less then when we started.
Woohoo! Make this stuff go away!
Until our next yard sale...
As we are hauling stuff back inside, I say to Chris, "For Christmas and birthdays this year, can we ask for tickets to things? I don't want anymore stuff."