Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Cleaning and Yard Sales

Spring has sprung! Finally time to venture out from The Goodwill and get back to my real thrift friend the Yard Sale.


Friday because of the amazing weather, our boss let us out two hours early. It felt like in third grade when the teacher let’s you out to recess on the first nice day of spring. Seriously I had to stop myself from running out the door of the office with my arms up in the air and face toward the sky. It could only be more fantastic if there were actual a set of playground equipment outside the office.Gleaming sunshine and ogles of yard sale signs. It is a wonderful life after all!  Windows down and glasses on, for reading addresses on signs as to not cause sudden accidents with my crazy yard sale u-turns. The first sign spotted, an estate sale, in the adorable Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle. Jackpot……

Ok not quite the big one, yes the sale contained some amazingly adorable things including a vintage Dutch cow creamer, one where the milk comes out the cow’s mouth, and also, some really beautiful inexpensive artwork. But the cow cost 10 dollars and the art all over 20 dollars. Sounds reasonable, if I hadn’t busted my entire 40 dollar thrifting budget with my friend Nicole last weekend at two amazing estate sales. After opening my wallet to reveal three quarters and some dryer lint I began to regret a few of my prior purchases.

This weekend the quarter to fifty cent price range was about all I could justify. This is an absurd expectation at an estate sale, especially on the first day. I left much earlier than I usually would, typically preferring to hem and haw over cow creamers and cool art.Still in 3rd grader mode, I practically crossed my arms, stomped my feet, and huffed on my way out of the estate sale in unreasonable disappointment, mostly in myself for not thinking about future sales with cute cow creamers the previous week while I binged on antique silver demitasse spoons and crystal butter trays.Defeated and low in energy after my internal tantrum. I opted for iced coffee, driving aimlessly, and enjoying the sun, instead of thrifting.

Saturday morning I awoke refreshed feeling fortunate as I gazed out the window for round two of the amazing weather. The thrift gods were giving me a second chance at glory! After exchanging old CD's at Sonic Boom, scoring $22 in store credit, purchasing both Glee CD's (don't judge), and buying a stash Tom's of Maine toothpaste on sale for $2.99 per tube, I was ready to find the sales!The combination of the sun and morning deals put me in an enthusiastic mood for saling,and to my delight,an infinite number of signs had popped up over night.

First sale yielded this lovely teak tray still in it's box for 2 dollars. The only thing missing was someone serving me breakfast on it. I tried to convince my boyfriend, Alex, Sunday morning to no avail, and am still hoping he'll succumb to the lure of its beautiful teak, but with my morning breath I doubt it. The opulent candelabra was 1 dollar.  It will be added to my collection of twenty or so gold candlesticks. Since subtlety is hardly in my vocabulary, the thought of this decadent candelabra next to my twenty sticks at my fantasy dinner party, I keep meaning to host someday somewhere somehow, was irresistible, especially for 1 dollar.

The next sale was one of the best I've been to. First thing I spied was this Magnolia painting. Since moving to Seattle I’ve developed a Magnolia obsession. The first neighborhood I lived in Seattle was Magnolia. Also, the blooming Magnolia trees seem to signal the opportunities spring beholds, its beautiful white and pink blooms are devastatingly beautiful. Especially because in Iowa they typically bloom for a day or so before a late frost comes and all the blooms fall off.

With a 10 dollar original price I skirted the painting knowing that I would regret it later.I had set an arbitrary amount of no more than 5 dollars per item. If you can say one thing about me, it is that I am stubborn regarding arbitrary meaningless ideas I set forth, and I then regret that stubbornness later. I really wouldn’t want to ruin that by buying myself something that I adored and made me happy for ten dollars.After reluctantly side stepping the painting, these lovely yellow  stoneware mugs priced at 3 dollars for all 8 popped out at me. I quickly carried them to the cashier, starting my protected pile, so I was free peruse the goods without someone else snatching my selections. After asking if the lady if she would watch my new treasures, she kindly informed me all items were half off.  I made a lunge toward the painting to stake my claim as soon as the word half came out of her mouth adding the painting to my protected stash of cast off delights

As I took one last lap, the lovely women hosting the sale watched as I eyed these fun and playful paintings. At 3 dollars apiece I knew I could only justify buying one. While attempting to find the one Alex would despise least, pretty sure the weird red bird painting would be the one I would select with the elephants coming in a close second, the delightful host implored, "I'll give it to you for $1." This being a deal I could not pass up, I preceded to take the red bird away.  "No no, you must take all six for for 1 dollar,” she insisted.

Well all righty then. I scooped up all six deciding not to kick this gift horse in the mouth by asking if I could take just two. So I made off with six original paintings for 1 dollar.Alex says we can only keep one.  I will sell the others at my yard sale, and most likely turn a big  profit (relatively). Or I'll find friends who also have a strange taste for yard sale art as well to bequeath them to. Or,wouldn’t they just look adorable in a children's room.....minus the fact I have zero  children, and six paintings….whatever less than 20 cents per painting, no buyers remorse.

……my best friend Lindsey turned out to be that very lucky friend and also enjoyed my 20 cent bright animal art. She took three, but I have a feeling Jeff her boyfriend moving in with her in August might, like Alex, only allow one of these 20 cent delights in the house. But since birds of a feather flock together (especially weird red birds), I have no doubt Lindsey can pawn…..I mean kindly gift the other two paintings to a friend with similarly eccentric taste in colorfully weird animal art.

Totals for the day: Teak Tray 2 dollars+Candelabra 1 dollar+ Painting 5 dollars+ Mugs 1 dollar and 50 cents+6 Original (strange yes, but still original) works of art (ok work of art might be a bit much….but whatever) 1 dollar = 10 Dollars and 50 Cents Triumph! Only 50 cents over arbitrary budget, and most items were of the useful and un-ridiculous sort (at least to me). Happy Spring!  I wish you all sunshine, blossoms, and yard Sale bounty in this upcoming season!


  1. How delightful! It conjures up all those wonderful days of my own personal yard-sailing!
    And the words "buyers remorse" that you used brought up the idea that sometime soon, you could write about it! It's one of those things that we all have had. Keep up the great work!

  2. Yes buyers remorse....I think that would have been the title of the yard sale I hosted before I left Iowa :-)

  3. Just loved the writing in this. You could definitely feel your excitement. I hope there are many more blogs to come and that you won't agonize over perfection. (I mostly hope this because I selfishly want to read more soon.) Thanks for the peek.

  4. Oooooh! Loved reading this! Makes me itch to get out and hit the sales. Give me a call if you ever need company on your expeditions. And I look forward to reading about your latest finds!

  5. Wish I were there to go with you! I had lots of fun redoing the furniture I bought at Goodwill for you and your brother as you set up apartments and homes. Keep looking for the dove-tailed drawers and no veneer finishes! Quality stuff, just like you.