yard sales, july 10.

I had a wine tasting Friday night and got to bed somewhere between 1 and 2 in the morning. It was poor planning, because Josh was supposed to be in Athens, Georgia by 4:30 Saturday afternoon. We had to leave Raleigh by 9 to make it. Given that information, my thought was that I could still get in two hours of yard sales.

At 6:53 on Saturday morning, I woke up. My alarm was set to go off at 6:55. During the week, I hit my snooze button half a dozen times before finally dragging myself out of bed to go to work. But on Saturdays, I wake up before the alarm. I don't usually even bother setting an alarm most weekends, just because I know that my body knows when it's time to get up and go poke through other people's trash.

In the car by 7, driving to the first sale on a list of seven. I had picked sales close to my house, mindful that I had only an hour and a half of sale time. On the drive, I started to wonder whether I was crazy. Not like ha-ha fun crazy, but obsessed crazy. What I needed was sleep, not more crap in my house. Yet the idea of sleeping through yard sales was unthinkable. I couldn't help missing sales because of the trip to Georgia, but I didn't want to count the whole day as wasted.

Then I went to the first sale, bought five Pyrex dishes, and forgot all about worrying whether my hobby was becoming unhealthy. Five lovely vintage Pyrex dishes, all for $5. The sale was run poorly. It was a living estate sale, run by an old man and a couple of his descendants. Nothing was marked, and as I came in, a young guy told me to just make a pile of what I wanted and then he'd price the whole shebang for me at the end. I found that sort of irritating, as whether I want to buy something hinges on the price of it. But it turned out to work in my favor anyway.

Here's a yard sale tip for you embedded in this post: price stuff individually ahead of time. It is long, difficult, and tedious work. But if you try to do it on the fly, you'll get panicked trying to read the buyer standing in front of you, rather than thinking about what the thing is actually worth to you. You might even do what this guy did, which was ask me what I was offering. He put the control of the negotiation into my hands. I said $5, and I could tell by the look on his face that he thought that was way too low. But then he turned to the old man and asked if that was okay, and the old man indicated that he didn't care, as long as the crap got cleared out.

I drove to the next sale, not at all thinking about whether I should join (or found) some sort of Yard Salers Anonymous group. I was thinking about Pyrex. I got to the sale and bought something that I need even less than I need more dishes: furniture. My house is full. When I moved in last March, I had lots of room to fill. But I don't anymore. I only have room to upgrade, which means if I buy something big, something else will have to go. That's not so bad. Buying used is a bit like continuously upgrading. You get something, use it until you find something that you like better. Then you reintroduce the first thing into the secondhand market so someone else can use it.

I bought two folding chairs. As furniture goes, they don't take up much room. I told myself that I had need of extra seating. You know, for parties. Not that I regularly have enough people over such that additional seating is needed, but I could. Besides, these are the most amazingly cool folding chairs in the history of the world.

They are in fantastic condition, particularly for being fifty years old. They make me want to throw a party, just so I can use them. Three bucks apiece and totally worth it. They are called "Wonderfold" chairs, made by Coronet. As the bottom of the seat says, "You have to be told...they fold!"

And that was it. I went to a couple more sales and bought a couple of small things (blue Mason jar, stationery). In terms of finding neat stuff and paying very little for it, it was a great hour and a half day.

I also saw these solid wood filing cabinets. I was actually a little relieved that they were already sold. I have no need of filing cabinets, not even ones which have reached the pinnacle of filing cabinet beauty.

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