Yard sale vodka!
Not really. I have had yard sale wine, though. One time, we came up to a sale after it was over, and the guy was just throwing everything in a free pile on his curb. He must have been some sort of wine rep, because he had a lot of vino paraphernalia, including about twelve one-serving bottles of White Zinfandel. I felt like pointing out that he could seriously get arrested for just leaving booze out on the curb for any unsuspecting six year old to get into, but he didn’t seem real eager to talk to the kind of people who paw through free piles. Instead, I did the responsible thing and took all the wine for myself so no kids would get into it.
There is no vodka in this box. However, I really like the way the company used the Metric system as a selling point. New! The Metric System! It’s European!
No, this box contained greeting cards. Because throw a bunch of cards in a box, and I will buy it. What’s worse, my sister told me this week that she will take my card rejects for her scrapbooking projects. I don’t need more justification to buy cards. What I need is a bigger container to hold the ones I have. Do you know what I’m using to store my cards now? A dresser.
These appear to be mostly Christmas cards. Some of them even come pre-signed. From Bruce and Margaret! There are also a lot of notelets with pictures of fruit and recipes for mountain home cookin’. Every recipe has the word “Appalachian” in the title, so now I know how to make Appalachian Apple Pie, Appalachian Pear Relish, and Appalachian Mango Salsa (just kidding on the last one). Out of the box, I ended up keeping 31 cards and about a hundred assorted envelopes.
This little table was at a church sale, and it is a darn good thing that someone got there before 8:30 to buy it. I can barely resist buying every 50s dinette set I see, and I already have one. I wish I had a house with fifty dining rooms so I could have a different dinette set in each and every one. So there is no way that I could have resisted a tiny one, especially for only $5. FIVE DOLLARS. Think of the TEA PARTIES! And then I would have brought it home, and Josh would have gotten all freaked out, because one week his girlfriend turns twenty-seven, and then the next thing he knows she’s buying miniature furniture. How would I explain to him that I don’t want actual children, I just want to buy them tiny retro kitchen pieces?
I spent two dollars on a picture at an estate sale, and I felt like I was splurging. Once, my sister-in-law complimented a purse of mine, and was oddly happy to hear that I had bought it retail. Of course, I felt ashamed to admit that I had spent $7 on a brand new purse because I’m supposed to be some sort of frugal zealot, but she thought it was great. She was glad to hear that I was spending money on myself. I think that’s nuts, because all I do is spend money on myself. My hobby is to buy useless crap for myself. I write long blog posts about all the self-indulgent spending I do.
Anyway, she’ll be happy to find that I bought this for myself, just because I like it, which is the basic reasoning behind anything that I buy. In case you can’t tell, it’s a picture of birds. However, the frame has a birdcage painted on the glass, so it looks like you’ve got sweet little pet birdies. It’s got a little old lady flavor about it, but I bet I could put an updated print of birds in there that would make it look hip and modern. Or, I could put a picture of Josh in there when I am angry at him. The bottom is a mirror. Either that or a portal to another universe where there lives a girl who owns a camera just like mine.
Here is something at that same sale which I did not splurge on. Is $25 a reasonable price for something that makes me shudder every time I look at it? How do you even factor in something like that?
I felt sort of obligated to buy this Pac-Mac puzzle, because the nostalgia value is so very high, but it’s actually pretty cool. I love the pixelated graphics. Remember back in the 80s, when everything was really blocky? It’s “over 500 pieces” and measures 18” x 23” when fully completed. I was planning on giving it away to some other child of the 80s, but I might end up keeping it. It was $.50 at a church sale. I do not yet know whether all the pieces are present and accounted for. If I keep it, I’m going to want to apply that puzzle glue stuff and then hang it up. And I hate to admit that I am the kind of person that would ever display a completed puzzle, because the only thing dorkier than enjoying doing jigsaw puzzles is using them as artwork. I also hate to admit that I’m even self-conscious about something like that, so I have this back and forth turmoil where I want to hang up a puzzle, yet I’m embarrassed to, which makes me want to hang it up all the more so I can get over myself.
The solution, of course, is to write about it on the internet. Internet, I own puzzle glue.
Enough about my struggles with my inner dork, and back to the yard sales. I like to make grab-bag type purchases, as you can see with the box full of cards (and the box of cards from last week and the week before that). Aside from feeding my raging stationery habit, it’s also a great way to accumulate sewing and crafty things. I am not particularly crafty, but I do sort of want to be. Particularly when I look at other thrifty blogs and people have taken crap they bought for a quarter and made it awesome with some glue and rickrack. The cigar box is full of rickrack and bias tape and was fifty cents. The bank bag is full of sewing odds and ends, including elastic thread, which sounds sort of exciting. There are various oddly-shaped needles for very-specific, unknown-to-me tasks, and lots of labels that say things like “Homemade by Mom” and “Hand Knitted with love.” It also contained 42 crochet needles. I am not exaggerating. I counted. 42.
I also just like the bank bag. The Colorado Bank and Trust Company is still around, which is saying something these days. However, their Delta branch appears to be closed. The whole bag was a buck, which is 2.38 cents per needle. There is also a little golf pencil in there which says “Readers Digest 1,000,000 Winners.” That works out to be $23,809 per needle.
I bought a mysterious piece of stereo equipment for Josh. He was in Florida yesterday morning, and the bum did not even stop at a Florida yard sale to buy me a present. Wouldn’t that be neat? To have something from a Florida yard sale? But no, nothing. That’s it, he’s going in the bird cage.
The trouble with going to sales without him is that I see things that I think he would like. But I’m not sure that he would like it, but then it’s really cheap and I feel guilty if I don’t spend the money to find out if he would want it. So I picked this thing up and examined it about three times, hoping the seller would tell me what it was or how much he wanted for it, before finally asking. It was a dollar, which as it happens, was my upper limit for buying electrical equipment that I don’t understand. A little Googling told me that this item sold for $40…in 1972.
These trays are pretty silly. They’re like the old trays you used to carry your lunch in elementary school, except way more hippie-ish. Maybe they were used at one of those experimental schools where they don’t give out grades. The brand is SiLite, which seems very appropriate. I mean, if you had to guess what SiLite made, wouldn’t you think of something like these goofy trays?
Like many of the things I buy, I am half-hoping that someone I know will happen to tell me that they have been desperately seeking this exact item, so I can give it away and not have to figure out what to do with it. Then I look like a good person to know. I got the pair for $1. Does anyone need some trays? Or maybe some crochet needles?
At the same sale, they were also selling this.
As it happens, I did not need one. Well, at the time, my morning coffee was kicking in and I could have used one, but I didn’t need to buy one, not even a very patriotic one. And you know what? This is not the first yard sale toilet I’ve seen. I’m just guessing that you, my reading public, have never seen a yard sale toilet, so I’m bringing that image to you. I tried to be very sneaky about taking the picture. It’s some kind of weirdo that sells a toilet at a yard sale, but it’s mega-ultra-super-weirdo who takes a picture of it. By the way the people were standing around and whispering immediately after my little photo shoot, I suspect they saw me. Or maybe I was just being paranoid about having taken a picture of a toilet on someone’s lawn. Things I am self-conscious about: 1.) Owning puzzle glue, 2.) Taking pictures of lawn toilets.
I have saved the best for last, my friends. And oh my GOODNESS, I am so excited about this next item. It is better than a three-dimensional bird picture, it is better than a vodka box of cards, it is…as good as a tiny dinette set. You could also call it a splurge, even though we’ve already established that everything is a splurge, because I need exactly none of it.
For several months, I’ve really been wanting an electric ice cream maker. I’ve seen all these neat recipes for homemade ice cream on the web. I see ice cream makers at yard sales all the time, but they are usually the old ones that look like bathroom trash cans from the 70s. I went so far to look on Amazon to see how much they cost new, because I hadn’t found a good one used. I came very, very close to asking my mom to buy me this one for my birthday. And then today, I found that exact machine at a yard sale – new in the box. A lot of people will tell you that the thing they’re trying to sell you has never been used, but this thing was still packed in styrofoam. It was marked $15, but I paid $10, and I was happy to do so. I immediately stopped feeling guilty about buying the little bird picture, because this machine had cost five times as much, which was still less than 25% of what it would cost new. That there was a lot of math, so I hope you’re keeping up. This will be the kind of thing I’ll mention when I’m trying to sell yard saling to the skeptics, because I do feel like a bit of a yard sale evangelist sometimes. They don’t care how many great ugly lamps I bought or how cheap used stationery can be, but they will be impressed by spanking-new Cuisinart.
And that was yesterday. It was splurge-ful.