Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Great Yard Sale

The old adage is true: one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

That was something that became clear to me this past weekend when I held a yard sale to get rid of some extraneous belongings in the mild hopes of making a little extra cash.

I’m blessed to have an overabundance of things. Maybe a little too blessed, considering how much of my stock consisted of toiletries and bath products I had collected over the years. I can’t help but wonder if people are trying to tell me something.

Many of the items I was getting rid of had become redundant or were obsolete, like older computer equipment. I found two old Palm Pilots, one of which I’d begun my writing career on and neither of which sold. One of the first things I sold was a pair of CD wallets I had no use for. Remember the days before MP3 players, when CD players were the new hotness, and you’d carry a whole bunch of CDs with you? Yeah, neither do I.

Then there were the random things I was sure would go first. Alas, I was wrong. Still among my possessions are a hospital-issued biohazard waste receptacle; a vintage-style Lost In Space metal lunchbox; a brand-new picture frame regifted to me for my wedding; and a toaster oven/toaster combo I thought a needy college student would snatch up.

The thing that always baffles me, though, are how books never seem to sell in yard sales.

Sure, our collection was fairly esoteric; my husband is a prolific reader of history, politics and the sciences, and so most of the books we had for sale were nonfiction titles. But at the low price of $2 per hardcover and $1 for paperbacks, I was shocked only one book sold. It was a Glenn Beck book. Someone was buying it as a gag gift.

What does that say about the value of books? Do people see a book as more than an investment of dollars, but of time, as well? Are people more willing to shell out for a book in a used bookstore than they would at a yard sale?


Chime in with your thoughts! Do you check out the books people sell in yard sales? Do you silently judge people by what they’ve read or are getting rid of? What’s the best find you ever made? Leave a comment below!

7 comments:

Cathryn Parry said...

Hi Vicki! I've been de-cluttering too--mostly overstuffed closets. I now have a load of old towels to bring over to our local cat shelter. As for books, I donate the hardcovers and trade paperbacks to the library in my local Senior Center, and the mass market paperbacks to the fundraiser at my local RWA chapter. Though I like to attend yard sales, I don't live in a place where I can give them!

mary sullivan said...

Vicki, I always check out books at yard sales. I like to see what other people are reading! The problem, most often, is that they are overpriced. I expect to find real deals at yard sales--on everything.

The Sally Ann has their annual fundraiser strawberry social in June and sell all paperbacks, including trade paperbacks, for 25 cents. You have to get there early. The good stuff goes really quickly! At that price, people stock up.

Cathryn, lovely idea about giving old towels to the cat shelter. I will keep that in mind for the future.

linda s said...

Best find - a 14 inch ceramic Shmoo for only 50 cents. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shmoo

I go to yard sales for the books especially kids books. I don't read nonfiction but I look for romance and dd looks for history and fantasy.

Kaelee said...

I don't go to garage sales but I do go to Value Village and other thrift stores. I do buy things but have never made a great "find". My brother and some of his friends who hunt antiques have found some pretty good things. My brother's best find was an original oil painting by Someone I can't remember for $10.00. He figures if he wanted to sell it at an art auction he could probably get over $1000.00 for it.

Jo's Daughter said...

Not many yardsales here, but if there was one... Books would be the first thing I'd look at. When people see my bookcase they comment on it being overflowing. As a joke I tell them I'm a collector :) I value books greatly and have many keepers. Those books that are not, I trade them at the library: bring a paperback in & take another back home.

Mary Preston said...

I am actually having a garage sale this coming Saturday. The first thing that will go are the rusty old tools from out of the shed. Who knows the minds of our fellow MEN!!

We have cleared out the children's old bookcase. Just keeping books that have a sentimental value. So, fingers crossed. I have put 20 cents (Australian) on the books. So, I guess I will soon see.

penney said...
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