Thoughts & Stories: Garage Sale Scenarios

In an effort to make a little money for our wedding, as well as un clutter my life I sold off just about everything I owned before moving in with my now husband. Late nights were spent taking pictures of old lamps and measuring cups from 1982, while I attempted to post my life in "stuff" on craigslist. 

I'm amazed that you can charge $1.00 for an IKEA lamp and nobody will buy it, but list it as FREE and the whole city of Sandy will show up on your front porch by 8am sharp. Incredible. 

Upon the 3rd day of marriage I quickly realized that I had wrongly sold off all my possessions because Kenny (my husband) didn't really own any furniture. I really thought he did, but perhaps I was mistaking it for stacks of game systems and beer brewing equipment. It became clear that in order for our apartment to look like a home, I'd need to enlist myself in the crazy cool world of Garage Sales and Craigslist...unless I wanted to spend a fortune (which I don't).

Over the last month I have learned that Yard Sales are a place of myth where titans clash...fighting to the death for a wicker basket or under priced antique lamp. Head will roll...and they did. Let me tell you about some findings and scenarios that may help YOU TOO become: A GARAGE SALE-ER...SAILOR, SALE person...wait...

Scenario # 1: LOST (insert creepy music zooming in on big white letters)


(photo taken from

It is imperative and by that I mean absolutely essential and by that I mean DO THIS: that you bring a phone with a navigation system on it. My friend Lavenda and I found that Lake Oswego can be a terrifying place when you get lost in the labyrinth of luxury. We feared we would never escape the deafening claws of it's grip. Driving the zippy stick shift car, we pulled U-Turns next to drive ways with manicured lawns and grey trim around the windows...only to find another house with manicured lawns and grey trim around the windows! Help, we are stuck in upper middle class purgatory!

This is what we looked like, almost exactly..

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Lavenda, "Oooh! Is that a garage sale sign?"

Jenni, "Yes, wait no...that's a FOR RENT people rent houses that           big?"

I would also recommend bringing somebody with you who knows how to use their GPS, because I don't. And I was the one with the phone so....ya I'm typing this blog post from Brandon Roy's front yard...we never escaped.

Scenario # 2: Defining a Sign

Not all garage sales are created equally my friends. But the tricky part is, not all of them are marked right either. I'm slowly learning to define one phrase from the next:

Yard-sale-sign(photo taken from

Yard Sale: A sale that takes place in a front yard...or a back yard. Or it's deeply uncomfortably hidden in the corner of a back yard with an old man looking at you from underneath his oversized cowboy hat. Avoid these...the latter of the three, that is.




Garage Sale: A sale that takes place in a Garage...or starts in a Garage and then slowly leaks out on the driveway and general curbside. A sale where people sit in lawn chairs and stare while you pick up mugs and old VHS tapes like "The Buttercream Gang" and "Joe Verses the Volcanoe". Not to be confused with a "Shed Sale"...which should be avoided all together.



Estate Sale: The sale based on any terrible event, like a death or a financial diaster. "Estate Sale" bascially life ended, or my life really sucks please come dig through all my belongings. I won't be there when you do it, so it's cool.


Undefinable Possible Sale: A sale that could be anything...maybe even a birthday party or a wedding. But who knows because the sign is mysteriously disguised with terrible spelling or smudged ink. You can't quite let it go, because of the "what ifs". What if it's a sale with Justin Timberlake signing autographs on free antique tea pots. What if it's an Anthropologie liquidation sale, allowing you to finally purchase that beautiful dress for 5 dollars. What if there is free ice cream! For all you know it could have been a bar mitzvah from 2 years ago. All in all? Just go for it, because you never know what you'll get.

Scenario # 3: The Crazy Lady


Unfortunately, Garage sales can quickly turn wacky. For example: 

I took the retro desk lamp up to the women at the picnic table to pay. Casually, I handed the older lady of the pair two dollars in change. "So that's just $5 more dollars please" she said. "Oh," I replied pointing to the tag, "It's marked as two dollars". "What! It is! could you mark this for so low!" The old lady said, rather frustrated. "Well Mom, you know I'm doing this for you...and you told me to just mark everything so THAT'S WHAT I DID," the younger woman said...folding her arms in disgust. "Well...okay thank you!" I said, as I power walked off their driveway to the safety of my car.

Don't let these moments intimidate you. The sellers only use it as a way to get in your head, just like in the James Bond movies. Stand your ground with your offered price and never look back. This brings me to another example:

I dug through the blue rubbermaid containers, holding things up to my sister law Brittany, looking for the perfect antique spatula. All the handles were rusted red and I could hardly tell where one fork began and one serving spoon had melted together to form one big antique green kitchenware blob. Finally I found a couple of nice items when a lady approached me wearing an apron. Arms folded across her chest with a knowing smile she asked, "How much will you pay for those?" Startled I said, "What? Oh, um..." Raising one eyebrow she said, "Go ahead, make an offer." Nervously I threw out the first number that came to my mind, "Gosh, um I'll give you....4 dollars for all three?" She then threw her head back in the air and laughed an evil villain cackle, "Oh no no no, I wouldn't go less than $7, these are ANTIQUES", emphasizing the obvious for me. I promptly set everything I had planned to buy down and once again, power walked to my car. "Don't worry," said Brittany in her pretty matter of fact manner, "She was just a crazy person who won't get our business."

Damn right! Don't be a pansy like me! Stand up to the crazy garage sale lady! Think of it this way, about an hour ago she was probably watching Regis and Kelly, REGIS AND KELLY my friends. If it was a Friday sale, which is was. Put that in your back pocket and smoke it why dontcha.

At the end of the day, to become a bargain shopper, it takes effort and poise. Two things I will most likely never take part in or have. So I think this sign featured above pretty much sums it up!

Happy Shopping.