The business of yard sales



SaltWire Network


in seven years I may go searching for five years from now. Boy, will I feel silly in 2029 if I had sold it for $1.25 at a yard sale in 2024. My sister and mother are much better at yard sales than I am. Perhaps they’re not as nostalgic as me, although the more likely scenario is they are more sensible. Unlike my logic, putting something in a tote box on a shelf for eight years does not increase its necessity in their lives. I’ll admit, I do get caught in the yard sales when they happen. Or, at least, I get caught up in the cash. Kind of like how every week I’ve gotten really great at spending all of the money in the Nova Scotia firefighters weekly 50/50 draw. Now, if I could only win the 50/50 I’d be that much further ahead. I do have fond and funny memories of past family yard sales. Like the year I thought I had sold all of our no-longerneeded stuffed animals, only to discover when it was time to go home – and my dad was packing all of the not-needed stuffed animals back in my trunk – that my son Jacob had borrowed money from him to buy them all. So not only did I not get rid of the stuffed toys, but I sold them all to my son in the process. Plus, I’m pretty sure my dad took the money to buy them out of the yard sale money – so they netted zero profit and I still had to drive them all back home. Then again, I still have the pair of hockey gloves Jacob wore in Timbits. I was going to sell them at a yard sale until I realized that while he didn’t need them anymore, my mom heart still did. Then there was the year we had a yard sale that my son Justin brought his friend Brayden to when they were younger kids. Brayden, it turned out, was our best yard sale customer in the history of our yard sales. He bought games, toys and tshirts. He even bought a cheese tray for his grandmother. (Note to self: Tell Brayden about the next yard sale.) During our yard sales, it always seemed weird watching strangers dig through your stuff, deciding what’s nice and what’s junk. And then seeing them walk off with things that were once your treasured possessions now only worth a dollar or 50 cents to someone else. And sometimes they’d even complain about that price, so you’d give it away for free. And then there is the rush hour of yard sales, which always happens when you’re in the process of setting things up. By a couple of hours later, things have completely died off. I’ll never forget the year my dad said this. “People who come to yard sales are like piranhas,” he remarked. “Around 9 a.m. they’ll eat you alive but by 11 a.m. you could fall in the river and no one would even bite you.” I should have asked him, was that before or after you bought all my stuffed animals?