On Garage Sales

‘Don’t know why, but I’ve been scoring at garage sales this summer.  The tally so far …

Dell 1720 laser printer ($5) – My favorite find so far, was this little gem tucked in amid the usual computer detritus that seems mandatory at yard sales. In among the keyboards, mice, and floppy disks was this brand new printer that, according to the women selling it, had “sat in the back of their store and never been used”.  They said it was free as part of the computer package they bought.  And I’m not one to quibble when someone is willing to let me slap down a $5 note for something that cost $400 new.  Besides, second-hand computer stuff is gamble; you never quite know if it’ll actually work.  But in this case it paid off – when  I got it home and printed out a status page to see what sort of shape it was in, not only was the page print-perfect but it also said, “Total pages printed: 25”.  I have to confess I giggled a little at that one.

Baby Jogger II stroller ($25) – ‘Already blogged about this gem of a stroller I fixed up.  Dash and I have done probably a dozen runs with this so far, so it’s pretty much paid for itself already.

Coleman Cook Stove & Propane (8$) – Found this at the same sale as the jogger stroller.  Nice, high BTU, dual-burner stove, including a 10-lb propane tank, all for about the cost of refilling just the tank.  Stove is a bit grungy and haven’t tried it out yet, but owner said it works a charm.

Sewing Machine ($15) – Not quite sure how much of a deal I got on this one, but this sort of fell in my lap.  I  spotted it as we drove to the coffee shop.  Some guy was selling off his extra construction tools and, as he put it, “whatever his ex-wife left behind.”  ‘Might seem a bit odd for me to want a sewing machine, but I have 2-3 projects a year that I’d like to do that involve some sewing – making tool pouches, mending clothes, that sort of thing.  And with mosquito season upon us, I’ll probably take one of the mosquito nets we have and put together something to drape over Dashiell when we picnic, or go for hikes.

Office Chair ($20) – The old chair in my office broke and I just happened to find an almost identical replacement at a yard sale about a week later.  Crazy, since I’ve never seen anyone else with the same chair, but I guess Staples probably sold 1000’s of ’em.  Anyhow, I managed to hose-clamp the old chair together so, for now, the new chair is in the office I have on loan at the local Cat Clinic (don’t ask – that’s a story for another time.)

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It’s fun resurrecting these cast-off items.  Breathing life back into things that, as often as not, will end up in a trash can if left unclaimed.  I also enjoy the 5 or 10-minute snapshots you get of peoples’ lives. All these used clothes, tools, games, toys, pots and pans cast about yards and garages, like flakes of dandruff on the shoulder of a sportcoat.  Personal, intimate, yet put out on public display.  Taken as a whole, this debris often paints a vivid portrait.  And the short time I spend chatting with people always rounds out the picture.  The divorced construction worker; the two neighbor woman cleaning out a failed business venture; the young family moving back to Australia… interesting little vignettes, all of them.  It’s also nice that no matter how sad the story, there is always a smattering of happiness in there.  There is a universal joy that comes from cleaning house.

… speaking of which, we’re getting close to needing a sale ourselves.  Our garage is getting a bit full.