I can’t help but get a little nostalgic this time of year reflecting back on the two times I have held a garage sale.

I can’t help but get a little nostalgic this time of year reflecting back on the two times I have held a garage sale.

I myself have been the host and co-host of only two yard sales in my lifetime. The first one I held with my friend Lori. It was at her house and the idea of taking my junk down to her house (approximately six miles away) and spending a Saturday afternoon hanging out in her driveway with the kids running around playing, sounded pretty sweet to me at the time.

What I didn’t know was that after cleaning up all my junk and hauling it down there, I wouldn’t make more than $10 for it, and the kids would end up asking me to buy a lot of the junk, some of it ours.

Lori, on the other hand, sold three playpens, three cribs and about 300 onesies with spit-up stains on them.

The second yard sale I held was a pain. I first had to clean the garage and the whole time I was wiping spider webs off and tagging merchandise, I had to listen to my son say, “You told me that if you ever tried to have a yard sale I was supposed to remind you how mind numbing the last one was, and tell you to stop and think about what you’re doing.” 

It started with a huge crowd of people at the end of my driveway and ended with me practically paying people to take the remaining junk so I wouldn’t have to haul it back in the house.

This was the yard sale where I learned the Law of Crap: the junkier it is, the faster it will sell. The nicer it is, the longer it will sit in the driveway in the rain, while you wonder what you are going to do with the stuff that you’ve already come to terms with parting ways.

I give stuff away now.

During Sleepy Eye’s spring City Wide Garage Sales I noticed all the brightly colored signs that had been placed on street corners all over town with arrows pointing to that special house down the street. People streamlined their garages, turning their driveways (once they were cleared of snow) into storefront windows, ready to turn a profit on their once-treasured possessions.

Those brightly colored neon signs were meant to make a bold statement – welcome to garage sale season. And this year they said something else–HEATED GARAGES!

Our city wide sale in Sleepy Eye is generally the beginning of two seasons–spring and garage sales. Unfortunately, this year mother nature had other ideas and nearly cancelled the event with a snow storm.

But to the hardy garage salers and hosts, eight inches of snow was just a small irritation in the spirit of the season.

We received calls at the office on the Thursday the sales began wondering if they were still going to take place. We told callers that the advertising was in the newspapers and it all depended on the hosts if they would open that day. From reports I heard, heated garages pulled in many shoppers out of the cold and had them staying longer and shopping more.

Since that date we have been receiving calls asking us to move the date back a week or two so there is a better chance of spring weather.

On a poll on our newspaper website at www.sleepyeyenews.com we took a survey. Approximately two dozen people voted and the majority voted for the first week in May.

May is a busy month with the start of other city wide garage sales, proms, graduation, Mother’s Day and a holiday weekend. While the beginning of May doesn’t necessarily guarantee more spring-like weather, we are willing to consider making the change based on residents requests and results of the poll.

When playing with Mother Nature, it’s hardly a fair playing field, especially in early spring. Then again, garage sales and spring are seasons we all look forward to.

And for good reason.

In my opinion, yard sales keep the economy going–they circulate money and dusty junk. Funny thing about garage sales, though, is that every once-in-a-while you come across a real treasure.