Since moving to The 'Burgh three twentieths of a century ago, I've always been oddly mystified by the fact that no one here knows what a Tag Sale is. Growing up in CT, everyone had tag sales. In Pittsburgh it's called a Yard Sale or Garage Sale. No one here has ever heard the term Tag Sale out here. And for some reason this bugs me. Yet I don't know exactly why. As a kid I never went to a tag sale that I can recall. And my parents certainly never held a tag sale. so why it bugs me, I don't know. But it does. And it's my cross to bear.
So that's a fine lead-in to my report on the events of last weekend, our tag...um...yard sale.
Since we've been married, my wife and I have held two yard sales. The first was just before moved out of our apartment after buying our house. We lived in a row house on a busy street and, as a result, cashed in. We had hundreds of people drop by and buy some of the most useless crap you could imagine. However I believe we also had a hex put on us by an ultra-religious crazy lady who bought a box of old cassettes so she could record her bible stories onto them, and also bought a giant papasan chair but didn't come to actually pick it up until late that night. We didn't think she was coming back, so we sold it to someone else. At that point flames shot from her eyes, she raised her hands to the heavens, and declared that we were going to burn in hell for our transgressions. My eyebrows never quite recovered from that incident.
Perhaps that's also why our second yard sale, a year or two after we moved into our house, was such a miserable failure. Despite the nice weather, and despite the fact that a church around the corner was holding a yard sale as well and would hopefully drive traffic our way, we had perhaps a dozen customers and made about forty bucks. At that point we swore never to have another one.
But then the crap pile took over.
You know that drawer everyone has in their kitchen that they refer to as the junk drawer? That's our basement. Two or three times each year I get a burr in my saddle about the disastrous mess and decide to clean it up, but within a week of doing so, magically, the entire space becomes so compacted with new crap that navigating from one end of the space to the other involves a block & tackle and assistance from three professional trapeze artists. Well, being at home so much lately, I of course got the purging bug. I actually started in the attic, and worked my way down through the house. Before I knew it, the attic was clean, all the main rooms of the house were clean, and even the basement was spotless. I honestly had forgotten we'd laid carpet down there. As a result, however, one bay of the garage was crammed to the ceiling with stuff that we either didn't use any more, never used in the first place, or simply wanted to get the heck out of our house. I strategically piled it all in my WIFE'S garage slot, therefore guaranteeing assistance in the final purging effort.
We considered renting a semi-trailer to get it all to Goodwill, but given my current employment status we decided having some extra cash might be a good thing. So the ads went out to Craigslist and the Pennysaver, the signs went up, and away we went on a trip to that crazy world of people who love to collect other people's crap.
The statute of limitations must have been up on the old hex, because the yard sale gods were smiling on us for a change. The weather held out despite a huge rainstorm the night before. The traffic was substantial, and people actually bought stuff. The volume of wierdos was at a minimum as well, other than the lady who spoke no English but kept asking for TWO of something, and the old guy dressed like Jimmy Buffet who had no idea who James Taylor was. I mean, really, if you've over 55 and wearing a straw hat and flowered shirt, aren't you REQUIRED to know who James Taylor is?
Despite our overall success, we still finished the day with way more crap than we wanted remaining. I'd made a vow to not allow ANY of it back into the house, but unfortunately I was only about 50% successful with that effort. We separated the remaining crap into a Goodwill pile and an eBay/Craigslist pile, and the latter still resides in our basement awaiting attention. So, while the upstairs and attic are still clean, we STILL have a 500-square-foot junk drawer. But overall I feel I've made progress. Now if I could just find someone interested in buying 58 puke-stained onesies, a Polaroid camera, and a Desperate Housewives Dirty Laundry Board Game still in it's original wrapping (seriously), I'd feel even better.