Yard sale recap

The topic of my post last week was our upcoming yard sale, the husband’s reluctant cooperation and the fact that “I seriously lack *finesse in the yard/garage sale business.” Now that it’s over I know I still have a lot to learn, but the experience was fun, tiring, educational and surprising.

It was fun meeting and talking with neighbors, friends and strangers. Many people mentioned that they drive past our house often and complimented our home and landscape. It’s always nice to hear that people appreciate the effort you make to keep your property looking nice.

It was tiring gathering, cleaning, pricing and moving all the sale items, then putting up tables to display it all. It was tiring moving it all at the end of day one, moving it out again for day two, and then boxing the leftover items for donation when it was finished.

It was very educational, and I learned the following:

  • If all you have to offer is knick-knacks, you’re better off donating than having a yard sale.
  • Tupperware sells!
  • Price like items separately, but offer them as a set for a discount.
  • Set prices low enough to interest buyers, but high enough to allow them to negotiate.

It’s surprising what people will buy and what they will ignore. A newer desk and file cabinet were of no interest to anyone regardless of price, while a loveseat and chair we purchased in 1980 received a lot of attention before selling for the full price. It’s surprising and somewhat strange how customers come in groups. I’d be sitting there with no one stopping by for 15 to 20 minutes, then all of the sudden three cars would pull in one after another. The biggest surprise was the amount of cooperation I received from the husband. This was going to be a one day sale, but he suggested we extend it through Saturday. He gave me breaks when I needed them and was very helpful moving things. He was quite enthusiastic as we packed up his truck and my MDX with the leftovers and dropped them at Goodwill!

I slightly exceeded my goal in terms of money earned, which made the sale worth the time and effort required. Would I do it again? Yes, but only if we have enough large items to sell, otherwise it makes more sense to just donate the small stuff and get a tax write-off. Goodwill and Salvation Army will still see plenty of me as I continue the seemingly never-ending task of clearing out clutter and organizing.

My yard/garage sale *finesse level: 
Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert             

What’s your yard/garage sale finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Unexpected benefit

We live on two acres just outside the city limits of a small town. Most of our neighbors have five acre parcels or larger, so there’s quite a bit of elbow room, which has its advantages. However, the disadvantage is that it becomes difficult to be neighborly.

We may wave to neighbors we see outside working or playing, or honk our horn in greeting as we drive by, but it’s a rare occasion that we actually take the time to visit. The unexpected benefit to having a yard sale last weekend was that our neighbors dropped by. Most of them didn’t come to shop – they came by to visit. Some were “old timers” we’ve known for years and others we’d never met. Perhaps they were just curious about the “stuff” we had to sell, but the result was that we either reconnected with or met our neighbors.

When was the last time you were neighborly? Summer’s a perfect time to throw open the front gate and extend an invitation!

Don’t skimp when you primp

I’m fully on board with the old adage, “Waste not, want not.” I have a great deal of *finesse when it comes to using a product until there’s nothing left. I squeeze every last bit of toothpaste out of the tube. I get the very last drop of shampoo and conditioner from the bottle. If there’s a way to extract the last drip, pinch or smidge of any product, I think I’ve found it. The big exception is mascara.

For at least the last 20 years, I’ve rotated my mascara every 3 months. Avon first made me aware of the health reasons to do this. They introduced mascara that had a nifty way to remind you when you began using the tube and when you should throw it out. At first I thought it was a way to get you to buy more mascara, but soon saw news reports regarding the danger of using a tube of mascara after three months.

Reports showed a tube of mascara cut open after three months and it was pretty hideous. Apparently bacteria grow on our eyelashes, hitch a ride on the eyelash brush and then grow very well in the dark, moist environment of the mascara tube. Pretty icky! Do a quick internet search and you’ll find lots of articles regarding the subject. (Here’s a pretty good one.)

While I resist throwing anything out before it’s completely used, this is one product that hits the trash after three months.

My saving finesse level:
Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your saving finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)


I love history, so it’s probably no surprise that I also love digging into my ancestry. When I’m able to connect a family member to a historic event, it makes history come alive. While researching my dad’s line, I came across such a connection. My great-grandfather’s great-great-grandfather was a Colonel in the American Revolutionary War.

Sunday, April 23, 1775, Joab Houghton, Sr. was worshiping in the Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house when he received the first information of Concord and Lexington, and of the retreat of the British to Boston with such heavy loss. His great-grandson gives the following eloquent description of the way he treated the tidings:

“Stilling the breathless messenger he sat quietly through the services, and when they were ended, he mounted the *great stone block in front of the meeting-house and beckoned to the people to stop. Men and women paused to hear, curious to know what so unusual a sequel to the service of the day could mean. At the first words a silence, stern as death, fell over all. The Sabbath quiet of the hour and of the place was deepened into a terrible solemnity. He told them all the story of the cowardly murder at Lexington by the royal troops; the heroic vengeance following hard upon it; the retreat of Percy; the gathering of the children of the Pilgrims round the beleaguered hills of Boston; then pausing, and looking over the silent throng, he said slowly: `Men of New Jersey, the red coats are murdering our brethren of New England! Who follows me to Boston?’ and every man of that audience stepped out into line, and answered `I!’ There was not a coward or a traitor in old Hopewell Baptist Meeting-house that day.”

A memorial to Col. Houghton and the events of April 23, 1775 erected July 4th, 1896 by the people of Hopewell.

Mr. Houghton was chosen leader of a party of volunteers who later left for Boston, the scene of the war. October 19, 1776, he was made a captain, and March 15, 1777, Lieutenant Colonel. Colonel Houghton was afterwards a member of the first Legislature of the State in 1784 and 1787, and also of the Baptist Church.

(Baptists and the American Revolution, Cathcart; 1876 rev. 1976)

I’m proud to be connected to such a great man who inspired and led men to fight for our independence. However, I’m equally as proud to be connected to my ancestors who took advantage of the opportunity to immigrate to this country. Whether famous or unknown, my ancestors helped to weave the fabric of our nation as officers and soldiers, teachers, preachers and farmers.

If you wonder what role your ancestors may have played in the development of this great nation, Ancestry.com is offering free access to search 65 million records from the 13 original colonies, plus other patriot record through July 8.

Happy Independence Day!

*Just across the street in front of the church edifice, there stood a mounting block, consisting of a large stone six feet long, four feet wide, set on stone mason work three feet high, used especially by ladies in dismounting and mounting their horses as they came to or left church. The top of the stone was reached by steps.

Yard sale countdown

I broke the news to the husband last night.

“I need your help Friday morning.”

“To do what?”

“Set up for our yard sale.”

“Our what?”

He’s made his position on yard sales very clear throughout our more than three decades of marriage.  He has stated on numerous occasions that he wasn’t going to be part of any yard sale, but I figured he could help me move the stuff from the house to the yard. He reluctantly has agreed because he really wants the stuff out of the house.

As I wrote in a post in May, I seriously lack *finesse in the yard/garage sale business. I also asked if any readers had tips, but the responses I received revealed that my readers are not overly savvy in this department either. So I’m going to use the article from Organized Home I noted in the previous post as a road map.

I’ve printed out the site’s handy Yard Sale Check List. First stop is an office supply store to purchase pre-printed yard sale price stickers; a great tip from the article. They’re printed in amounts from 10 cents to $10 and should be a real a time-saver. Who knew?

I’m ready to get this sale organized – wish me luck!

My yard sale *finesse level:  Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your yard sale finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)

Thank God for weekends

If you know me or have followed some of my posts, you’re aware that I suffer from chronic migraines. I prefer not to be defined by my ailment, but the truth is that my ailment defines my schedule. I really needed this past weekend to recover and recharge following a tough stretch Thursday evening and Friday.

Because our schedules are less constrictive, we tend to pack our weekend with chores. However, we try to have at least one day in our weekend reserved for relaxation. It’s necessary! The husband has a long work commute and a job that can sometimes be stressful. He needs to have at least one day that is unscheduled or at least scheduled with things that can be energizing rather than draining.

Saturday was that day for us this past weekend. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, read the newspaper and just appreciated the freedom from a “to do” list. I was able to recuperate and the husband was able to rest his back that had been bothering him for a few weeks.

While we don’t believe in wasting time, we do believe in investing in our spiritual, mental and physical health. Sometimes the invitations have to be declined. Sometimes the chores have to wait for another day. Sometimes it’s more important to enjoy the simplicity of spending time together doing nothing.

My relaxing *finesse level:  Novice     Advanced beginner     Competent        Proficient        Expert

What’s your relaxing finesse level?

*finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)