penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

One person’s junk

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I’m not a shopping person in general.  Big stores make me queasy – how can the planet hold all that stuff and who needs it anyway? Half the time, I can’t even figure out what item I’m looking for or looking at. Although, I must admit though that I can spend a long time in a hardware or grocery store.  The hardware store because there are so many fascinating tools I never knew existed and the grocery store because it takes me so long to read the labels to find out how much corn syrup is in there. 

In recent years though, I have become the queen of second hand.  I think it must come with the arrival of kid number three who we couldn’t possibly afford (but we could never live without).  I frequent the Salvation Army and St. Vinny’s on a regular basis.  Call them “consignment” or “vintage” by any any other name they are thrift or second hand in my books.  I can buy a book for a fifty cents and a shirt for five dollars. Sometimes they are almost brand new, sometimes I appreciate the worn in look.  I also figure I am doing the world a favour by saving it from the land fill.

But my ultimate favourite are still garage sales.  They are another source of great second hand stuff. More than that though – I love to look to see what other people own and what they are looking to get rid of.  I figure every item must have some kind of story behind it.  It’s interesting to see how folks price their junk as well – are they trying to make money? Or are they just trying to get rid of whatever is cluttering their homes…so they can buy some more.

I really enjoy bringing the kids out too. I’m really interested in what catches their eye. What junk do they find treasure?  And where else can you buy a new to you toy or Nancy Drew novel for a quarter?  The trick is to ensure they don’t bring so much in that you need to sell it the next year.

My favourite garage sale though is the one we have in our neighbourhood each June. It’s a chance for folks to wander around to see the insides of their neighbours come outside – on sale.  We chat with people we haven’t had a chance to see all winter long and compare which neighbour has the best sale and who made the best deals. Sometimes it’s almost laughable how high people set their prices.  Other times there is no price and you get to haggle in a good natured way.  Kids run up and down the streets like junior shopaholics with change jingling in their pockets.  There are always several lemonade stands to try – one neighbour even took advantage of the early morning and sold bacon on a bun to passers by.  Often the money goes to good causes and charity – even if it’s just to pay for next year’s university tuition. 

Our next door neighbour – and older gentleman who has been at this for years – always has great items available.  This year, he was out at five am in the morning puttering up and down his driveway with his grandson helping him out.  At six thirty, while I was having coffee out on the porch, he was standing bemused and wondering where all his customers were?  He didn’t need to worry – they descended upon him in droves a half hour later.

We didn’t have a garage sale or lemonade stand ourselves this year – although we have held them in the past.  We went for a wander through the neighbourhood and bought a few things:

–   A flower trapped in glass paper weight
– Three teeny-tiny porcelain bears.
– A skateboard
– A Nancy Drew and How to Train Your Dragon Book.
– A blue plastic motorcycle (my youngest simply could not do without).
– Two pairs of boots
– A red purse
– Several stuffies that clearly needed homes
– A rubber ball
– A water gun (quickly confiscated)
– And a big poofy confection of a flower girl dress made with yards of tulle. Which my daughter now wears while riding her new skateboard.

What we didn’t buy – the chainsaw my son said he wanted. Apparently he wants to kickstart his career as a juggler.

What’s the best garage sale find you’ve ever had?




Written by pennyinacastle

June 12, 2014 at 3:29 am

Posted in Random thoughts

Tagged with , ,

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