Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Baby A's yard sale introduction

Every year, the street next to mine has a giant neighborhood yard sale on the Saturday after the 4th of July. After independence, we do community.

This year, my family brought a few of our garage-clean-out items to the home of my neighbor, June, and we did our best to sell them at Miser Mom prices (about half of the stuff was labeled "free!").  June had a lot more nice stuff to sell -- and she made a lot more money than we did, too, of course.  But that wasn't the point of "selling" my stuff, obviously. 
N-son, with Baby A on his lap, helps June supervise her yard sale.
It's not even that we managed to re-house all sorts of things that would have sat unused or made their way to landfills.  (Although I'll admit I'm super-ultra-thrilled that my paint cans, motor oil, and other end-of-life materials got picked up by people who were glad to finish them off).

No, the glorious part of this neighborhood yard sale is in the way it knits a web of people a little more strongly together. We often confuse what we have with who we are.  For many years, it was hard for my husband to get rid of the books he'd read long ago, because they represented the kind of knowledge and intellectual life he aspires to.  It's hard for us to get rid of clothes that are a bit too small or way too formal, because we think we'll be that same skinny person or because we'll someday go back to fancy dances.   My friend was recently telling me how hard it was to help her mother downsize her house, because every belonging reminded her mother of stories of her past.

But at a giant neighborhood yard sale, we publicly share our belongings -- and hence ourselves -- with our neighbors.  We trade our things for money, yes, but we also trade our things for the additional human connections that these exchanges bring.

So I found a yellow skirt that belonged, until Saturday, to a acquaintance of mine down the street. I bought it for 50¢. And from now on, whenever I wear it I'll have yet another connection to this trash-avoiding, child-rearing, bicycle-loving person who I previously knew only from campus events.

Baby A got into the swing of things; she did her best to try on clothes -- or rather, to lie on clothes.
Totally adorable!  She really looks like she's one with the clothing.

Aside from yellow-skirt-success, I also scored big on some furniture.  I'd spent  much of the previous week repainting and rearranging our bedroom, which gave me a renewed sense of bed-lust.   As in, I wanted SOOooo much to buy a real bed, with a real frame and headboard and footboard.  I was getting sad and mopey about having only the frame, box-spring, and mattress.

In fact, I wanted a bed so much that I went to a giant farmer's (etc) market to see if I could find one I liked. I came back bed-less (but with many bananas).  And in the course of subsequent painting and rearranging, I decided that our room is so cozy that a full queen-sized bed would actually overcrowd it.  I changed my early bed-lust into a more moderate head-board-lust.  I actually had a picture in my head of what the perfect headboard would look like . . . curved, with spindles, in a blond oak.  Sort of like this one below . . . 

Did I say "sort of like" that one?  How about "exactly like" that one!  Because a mere 24 hours after dreaming of a headboard like this, I passed the headboard standing proudly in Sara's front yard, with a $20 price tag attached. And lo-and-behold, the headboard is no longer Sara's headboard, it is now Miser Mom's headboard.  I have a pretty bed, and I have a new acquaintance.  Score all around.

It was a lovely yard sale day.  Baby A and I -- and the hundreds of other people enjoying the fresh air and camaraderie of the day -- had a wonderful time.   We put things that no longer fit us (for reasons of size, personality, or life circumstances) into the homes that could appreciate them.

And when the yard sale was over, we went home and took a well-deserved rest.  Some of us took a rest in a bed with a lovely headboard, and some of us took a rest cuddled up on the living room sofa.


  1. Baby A is growing like a champ!

    I keep meaning to share a canning jar story with you, and this place is as good as any. We have various canning jars around with stuff in them (not quite as gloriously much as you, but I aspire to that). For some reason, the ring from a canning jar ended up on the floor in our baby's reach. It is one of her new favorite toys! She puts the ring around her feet, her arms, and on all sorts of stuff (bottle tops, other toys, etc). Yet another use for canning jar parts!

    1. Oooh, I love this! We handed Baby A a canning ring to test the effect locally, and she went giddy over it. (Just like her Nana!) Pictures will no doubt be forthcoming.