Sunday, August 23, 2009


Ah, the glory of being an entrepreneur! Via the lowly yard sale, that is.

Here's a look at what our front yard looked like early today when Mandy opened for business again. Keep in mind, this is after having had a pretty decent day of sales yesterday despite the light rain we had in the late morning hours.

She had, in front of the living room bow window, six long table set up. Five were arranged in an "L" shape and these all held nothing but clothing. Of that clothing, it would probably be safe to say that 95% of it was children's clothing in sizes 6 down to 6-12 month sizes. The baby clothes were not from Maya and Kurt but rather from Mandy's sister-in-law's little girl. Then, off to the side, along the sidewalk, she had another long table with a true mish-mash of stuff -a little of this, a little of that. You know the old adage of one man's trash is another's treasure and that was what was on that table -pretty much.

Along the rock wall, just below the parking area, she had a card table set up with nothing but children's shoes. Imelda Marcos apparently will someday be Maya's idol if she keeps up with accumulating so many shoes.

Then there was a old, longish coffee table piled with toys of all types, plus books and stuff. Amazingly, Kurtish made his way to that table, over and over and kept removing toys he hasn't touched in the better part of a year and to him, these were all like new toys as he had apparently forgotten that he once had them!

But anyway, here's the pictures. (And, if I were still using a little camera with film instead of my digital, you can bet your bottom dollar there would NOT have been all these pictures being taken. I would have opted to take about 5 maybe 6 shots -from afar so as to show as many of the tables at once as possible, but then, you wouldn't have been able to get a closer look at the merchandise Mandy was peddling so the overall affect probably would have been lost then, wouldn't it.

But anyway, here's the pictures and maybe a little bit of commentary here and there, in between.

Here's some stuff stashed under the table with the "mish-mash" items.

This got put under that table for lack of space to put them on the table.

The "mish-mash" stuff. Very little of this stuff was sold so it is probably packed away now in the storage shed and may make its way out for the next yard sale I suppose.
I was surprised no one bought the little plaque cause I think it says it all about today's economy, don't you?

More of the above -odds and ends. The large picture was still there this afternoon too when we were packing everything up.

All things that were stashed under the tables and brought out and put on the tables if/when any spaces came open for them.


More clothes!

Still more clothes.

Oh yes, and here's still more clothes. The dark green item in the picture -with the large white lace collar -a very pretty little girl's Christmas dress in dark green velvet. I was really surprised it didn't sell!

A single day bed that was gone by the end of the day but the Christmas tree -it's still ours.
Then there is the shoe table! See what I mean about Maya being in competition with Mrs. Marcos?

And here we have the section Maya and Kurt totally enjoyed looking over yesterday. Rehashing good times of days gone by with these toys and books. And still there are way too many toys left for them to strew around the living and dining room floors!

Now, can you believe that Mandy priced the children's clothing at a quarter per item -or fill a plastic bag for $2.00! Same prices went for the children's toys too. The shoes -I think she priced at 50 cents a pair though.

This morning she added about 10-15 books -adult books (Belva Plain, James Pattersoon and a couple others -mostly paperbacks but what the heck -at 10 cents a book, this brought a rise out of my friend, Kate, who told Mandy at the yard sale she, her sister and her sister-in-law had a couple weeks ago, they priced their books at a quarter each so when Kate paid for the four selections she had picked out, she gave Mandy a dollar for them and told her to give Maya and Kurt the 60 cents in change.

I do think Mandy could have upped her prices a little -maybe 50 cents an item and a bag for $3.00 and still would have sold the same things but the objective was to make a little bit and CLEAN HOUSE as much as possible with this whole shebang!

But there was one item not shown in the above pictures that left the house today too. And this one -well, it was a freebie and even had a bag of goodies thrown in with it -for good measure, ya know!

Yep, "Sweetheart" -the last of the kittens -went home with a family who stopped by! The woman spied her climbing up the inside of the front screen door and thought she was just such a cute little kitten and she said she just LOVED orange kittens and cats so I asked if she'd like her. "Only if it's a female kitten," she told me, explaining that she didn't like male cats because of some of their little quirks about spraying things, ya know.

When she realized I was serious -and I realized she really, really was interested, Mandy then offered her a big ziplock bag of cat food to take along too, just to sweeten the deal and it worked! So "Sweetheart" is now residing with a very nice family in the little village of Moshannon, about 8 miles northeasterly (sort of) from here! Now, to find someone who would like to claim Nina -the Mama cat -as their own too and I will be very happy and content to be done to being a "one cat only" family once again!

However, since Maya was not here today -she spent last night and is staying over again tonight at friend, Jen-Jen's house -it will be interesting -maybe not too pleasant, come to think of it, when she comes back home and discovers that Sweetheart is now longer living here. But, she is also very fond of Chino -the grey cat and Chino is also very nice and makes no protests when Maya and Kurtis start lugging her around, laying on the loving that they do in what is not always the most gentle of ways, so I don't think she will be that upset by Sweetheart's moving out after all.

I had mentioned on my Facebook yesterday about how we -and several others who took part in the Community Yard Sale were upset because of all the yard sales set up in town yesterday and today, only seven of them had agreed to help share the advertising and set-up costs. Yesterday, we thought there were six "interlopers" who paid nothing towards the Community Event and today, we learned of 3 others who hadn't contributed to the fund.

Now, apparently some misunderstood what I was trying to explain yesterday when I mentioned we were upset by this -that they thought we were feeling these people were taking our potential customers and I want to set the record straight about that.

That wasn't the issue at all. It was the fact that Mandy, our neighbor down the street (Linda) and another lady up the road from us (Cindy) had all worked to get signs made to direct people down to the village from the main highway and to make up flyers to hang at the grocery stores, post offices and other places around the area as well as to put ads on Craig's List, the Pennswoods site too -both online and also, to place ads in the two local newspapers -and those newspaper ads are far from being free!

It cost Mandy $20 to place an ad in The Progress -the Clearfield paper -and $41 for an ad in the Centre Daily Times -the State College newspaper. That's a lot of moola to shell out and to try to make any money then off your own sale too.

What had been decided and what Linda and Cindy had done last year -and in previous years, was to tell those who wished to participate that the fee was $4.00 per household to cover the advertising fees and try to be fair then to everyone to be able to make a little profit.

If each family who had a yard sale yesterday and today had contributed $4.00 per household, that would have given Mandy $64 -which would have covered all the advertising costs in the newspapers as well as the cost of making up the flyers too! Instead, since only 7 families paid that fee, Mandy ended up paying the balance out of her own pocket then which means she shelled out $36.00 that she had to recoup from her sales before she cleared any cash from her own yard sale. And those who chose not to come forward and contribute -well they benefited greatly from the advertising -just as the rest of us who had kicked in the money did but there's no way to actually stop that from happening again so what probably will happen is that in the future, no one will be willing to organize the event and then when folks do have yard sales, they'll have to pay the advertising costs by themselves. So see how much advertising they would do and how brisk their business will or will not be then as a result of the lack of advertising of such an event.

And that -if that's how things may very well go next year -is a shame because operating a yard sale is a good way to generate a little bit of extra cash for sure but it is also a great way to help others to find some really great bargains, get quality clothes for their kids too at extremely affordable prices and also, to have a good time doing it in the process. All the while, also an added benefite -they are cleaning out their homes to make room for -as George Carlin spoke about this in one of his great routines -"More Stuff!"

When we packed up the clothes left unsold this evening -along with the toys too -Mandy and Bill then loaded boxes and large (leaf collection sized) garbage bags on to the truck to take those items to the "Lifeline" organization in Clearfield where they will be donated. These clothes will then be given out to families in need -whether it be from the terrible economic times or from fires and things like that -so they will then be given another chance to make other kids warm and well-clothed and happy too that they might even find a new toy or two as well.

And the past two days worked well for me too as I sat out in the front yard with my latest embroidery project in my lap and stitched away on that while meeting, greeting and occasionally tending the "till" too if Mandy had to run an errand, feed or change Kurtis.

I got a good bit of stitching completed on a tablecloth I started this past Wednesday that way. This one is a 50x70 Christmas type scene that I figured as slow as I am with the embroidery at times, I'm going to need a lot of time to get it finished and still be able to whip up some other items before Christmas too.

To show how effective the advertising campaign was for our yard sale, one couple who stopped here yesterday, we learned in talking to them that they were from the town of Port Allegheny which is up fairly near the New York border -probably about 80 miles or so from here, at least. Now that's a pretty good drive for folks to make just to track down a bunch of yard sales but that's what this couple had done and they found out about our Community Yard sale event through the advertising Mandy had done!

So to those people who came here yesterday and today and whether you bought something or not, thanks for visiting our quiet and pretty little village. To those who participated in the Yard Sale by helping to get it off the ground and paying that little $4.00 fee, thanks again to all of you -all seven famlies that is -Linda, Joan, Cindy, Crissy, Shelley, Irene Mandy -you all were great to help out that way.

Now to those 9 other families in town who couldn't cough up $4.00 to help your neighbors make a success of this event, to prevent one person from paying the freight alone, of letting two others do all the printing and such and organization of the yard sale, a pox on you and your future success in yard sales is about all I can say -or do -to you I guess!

And now -I better pack up my embroidery stuff for the night and start getting my mind geared towards a big day ahead today. Gotta cook a big dinner -ham, mashed potatoes (hopefully some good ham gravy too) along with veggies, some salads and of course, a dessert to have as our celebration of the two birthday boys in the family this week -my grandson, Alex -who was 12 on Wednesday and my son, Clayton, who was 36 today -well, actually yesterday since it is now going on 3 a.m. Sunday as I write this!

And boy, my son, his girlfriend and her daughter better show up for this too or there really will be hell to pay!

Peace, Happy Birthday Alex and Clate and Happy Yard Sales in everyone's futures.



... Paige said...

Garage / yard sales are a ton of work. We are lazy around here and just pack stuff up in a box or bag and take to one of our kids or drop it a "drop off station"

Travis said...

Way too much work for me. I either keep my stuff, donate it, or get rid of it.

Well, that last one doesn't happen too often because I rarely get rid of anything.

Marguerite said...

It was worth all of the work because you found a good home for the kitten. I've had plenty of litters of dogs and cats and I understand how hard that can be. Sounds like it was a fun weekend for all. You sure had a lot of good stuff!

Dr.John said...

We did our last yard sale when we moved from Michigan to here. Never again.
Now I sell stuff on E-Bay. No tables to set up. No cranky people. And it works pretty well.
Sorry you had people who rode your advertising. There will always be people like that.
At least the kitten is gone.

Dianne said...

it is a shame about the people who didn't play fair on the advertising costs

I donate or keep LOL

yard sale is way too much work

Anonymous said...

I love yard sales! No place better to find craft stuff! And I'm one of those crazy people who love to have them! I love to chat it up with people as they're browsing, I like to haggle for a bargain.
Your yard sale looked fantastic! Sry I missed it! =) The advertising glitch blows but in the long run I think you did good!

Deb said...

We are having our annual community yard sale in October. Each family pays 10.00 to be listed on the yardsale map - and this also serves as a fundraiser with any extra monies going to our school. We also have to deal with the families who do not pay their 10.00 but do have a yardsale. Yardsales are a lot of work but it is fun meeting people and wondering which piece of 'trash' they will consider to be a 'treasure'. Glad you found a good home for Sweetheart! Take care.