Yard Sale Five-O

Posted by Jenny in Junk In My Trunk, Sale Tales | 7 Comments

Yard sale sign on spattered easel

Saturday was a gorgeous sunny day – perfect for hitting sales. We tried to get an early start, but there was only one sale open at 8:00 and it was awful. We started stalking the 9:00 ones early (not in a rude way — only hitting ones that already seemed to be open for business). They were mostly just full of typical boring items. This one guy did have a bunch of camera equipment. He seemed really paranoid about someone stealing them. We thought that was unlikely to happen, but then again some of them were evidently pretty valuable, priced at hundreds of dollars, so maybe he had a point.

Yard sale cameras

He also had these sad couches outside — probably wouldn’t have minded so much if someone managed to walk off with those!

Sad sofas

We drove down the street to another sale, which turned out to be the sale where Meghan had seen the pheasant on Friday. They had a sign that said “Closed for Business Today,” but just when I was about to take a picture the guy took it down. I guess they just left their stuff out in the yard overnight with that sign up. (They probably didn’t have any $500 cameras.)

Then a cop car drove past the house — he slowed down for a minute, then kept driving. Meghan’s mouth fell open. “That cop was at the last sale!” she said. “He’s going to yard sales while on duty!” We were amazed — we’ve seen cable repair guys in their trucks making the yard sale rounds, and I’ve often seen mail carriers checking out sales along their routes, but a cop?! Tax dollars at work … or maybe he was checking up on some stolen merchandise. Yeah, I’m sure that was it.

After a few more duds, we were starting to get concerned that it was 9:30 and neither of us had purchased anything. Meghan broke the curse by picking up a Muppet Show DVD for $2 at a multi-person sale. One of the other sellers seemed bummed that he had missed out on getting it for himself. As we walked back to the car, he started to serenade us in a sad little Kermit voice: “It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights …” It was funny, but then I had that song stuck in my head for the next few hours.

Since we weren’t having much luck, I decided that rather than plowing through my list by geographic proximity, we should change tactics and head straight for the sales that sounded the most promising. So we headed to a benefit sale for Italian Greyhound rescue programs. They had tons of stuff, plus some representatively adorable rescued greyhounds on display.

Rescued greyhound

Meghan bought a ton of dog stuff (collars, chew toys, etc.) and an insane red leather jacket. I picked up a few pieces of sheet music and a couple of skirts. Then I saw this “Halston III” box and wondered what was inside. Turned out it was a magical time travel machine which transported me back to my youth for a good few seconds. I don’t know how many dozens of these woven potholder things (that are really almost useless for holding a hot pot) I made back in the day.

Potholder heaven

Our next stop was a sale that proclaimed itself to be “big and funky.” This actually turned out to be pretty accurate.

Big and funky

Against my better judgement I picked up a shoebox which said it had scraps of paper and such for collage art … I need this kind of thing like a hole in the head. I just got rid of a bunch of random paper bits I’d saved over the years. But when I opened it up, the first thing I saw was an amazing vintage photo of a short-haired woman with big round glasses, from the 1920s or thereabouts. Whatever else was in that five-dollar box, I was sold. I also picked up two dresses (one vintage, one new) and found a really great piece of barkcloth shoved in a bin way at the back of the sale. Score!

One of our next stops was this “Lawn Sale.”

Lawn Sale

It’s not a yard sale. It’s a lawn sale. Let’s get that straight.

We meandered further on. I was really not at the top of my navigating game (although it got better as I continued my caffeination regimen). Meghan had to make some executive navigational decisions a few times to avoid getting into what she referred to as some “possible stuck in the vortex bullshit.” This got us through to an area we don’t hit that often, where a sign promised much more than just a yard sale.

... If you want it

But we weren’t there for drinks or advice, and a quick perusal of their stuff revealed nothing too interesting. The seller asked Meghan if we were out going to garage sales today. Meghan told her we go every weekend, and the seller replied: “I built my marriage on garage sales.” We still have no idea what this means.

We went to a neighborhood two-block sale with a whopping three sales (all bad), then hit a sale whose ad said they had lots of Burning Man stuff. This is usually bad, but sometimes they are at least interesting. They did have this flashy mannequin, but most of the sale was boring baby stuff!

Putting the "man" in "mannequin

It’s not like I wanted the Burning Man stuff (whatever that might have been), but it seemed a little bait-and-switch to me. It was also right by a street fair where some truly awful music was starting up, so we got out of there quick.

Driving away we saw one of their signs. I couldn’t help thinking it looked like something gruesome had just taken place.

Crime scene yard sale sign

Our next stop was a sale in a parking lot. Two girls sitting on the stray furniture across the lot yelled over to us, saying that all the clothes were “about a dollar.” For some reason this seemed really funny, like some things might be 94 cents or $1.12.

Parking lot sale

I found an inexplicable t-shirt which looked like it was from a rock tour by some weird shrimpy guy dressed up like the lost member of KISS. The seller explained that it was some kind of jokey reference to a deposed Thai politician. Naturally I bought it.

We hit another “neighborhood sale” with only a couple actual sales. We pulled up to one and I suggested it might just be a drive-by, but Meghan said we had to stop. Why? This was the house with a huge Bettie Page mural on the side of it. I’ve marvelled at it from the freeway before, so the opportunity to go to a sale here was kind of cool.

Bettie Page House

The sale turned out to have wackier stuff than I’d expected, but all I bought was one book.

We were both pretty much ready to call it a day after that, but on the way home we saw the all-too-familiar signs for yet another installment of the “avant-garde lady” sale. We pretty much had to go. I don’t think either of us expected to find anything at this point, but I got some crazy new wave checkered sunglasses and a vintage horse head painting. Meghan got a nutty rock n’ roll book, some beach glass, and a ceramic duck (breaking up a ceramic duck family, since one of them was plenty).

For a day that started out sucky, it turned out to be downright decent!

Junk In My Trunk 7-18-09

7 Responses to Yard Sale Five-O

  1. Marie says:

    Fantastic post about your really busy day, very motivating. Perhaps I’ll go give those garage sales another chance. Sometimes they turn out to be so bad that I give up for a while! Love your photo of the haul.

  2. Meghan says:

    well, you are in texas, right? I have been to sales in Austin and I think the thrift stores are better for getting vintage, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t find good stuff at an estate sale.

  3. ella says:

    What the heck are Lovely Hula Hands?

  4. Great post & pictures as always! I found your blog while browsing a couple of weeks ago and added it to my blog-roll. Yard Sale blogging is a novel idea and this one is very entertaining. =)


  5. Jenny says:

    Ella – I wish it was some kind of wacky product! But it is sheet music for a song by that name.

  6. Trish says:

    Very jealous of that toy duck!

  7. Meghan says:

    Red Rover makes reproduction dog toys that are super cool. Ike ate one of the frog toys in about 10 min. but they are super cool.
    Here is a link.