For something that takes days of preparation - lifting, loading, pricing and ultimately letting go of - having a garage sale is not a moneymaker, it's actually just a mini family reunion.
There hasn't been a year of my life we haven't had a family garage sale. It all began at grandma's, who just lived up the street, so it wasn't as difficult a task to get our "stuff" all in one location. For two days, every summer, we’d gather in her garage and watch her and mom arrange and rearrange merchandise. Family, friends and neighbors would come by to take a look at our junk and then hold hour-long conversations getting caught up on life. Grandma would serve doughnuts for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch and we’d snack all day in between.
Eventually, the garage sale location was moved to mom's, maybe because she had accumulated more junk than grandma, or maybe it was just time. The “official” 1930s money box moved as well and mom's back porch became grand central station for two days each summer with grandma overseeing the arranging and rearranging of merchandise. Breakfast and lunch would be served as we took turns taking care of the customers.
I’m now the holder of the money box and we held our annual family garage sale last weekend. As my sister and I built tables out of sawhorses and plywood, stacking boards across rungs of ladders, I realized no matter how much work and how much money is, or isn't made, it's a family tradition, and for whatever reason, we all consider it to be a fun time.
Breakfast and lunch were served while my sister took over the duty of arranging and rearranging and I managed the money transactions. Our kids came and went throughout the day and laughed at our garage sale tradition we take so seriously. The joke will be on them when the time comes to pass the money box.
With both grandma and mom being artistic, it's hard to part with all the things my sister and I have hoarded over the years. From ceramic roosters to pictures painted on pieces of barn wood, little by little, every year, we part with a few memories as our own lives are creating "stuff" quicker than we have room for.
During the lull of the afternoon, we'd wander around tables looking and picking up items like we'd never seen them before. Then we'd have to convince each other we really didn't need to take anything back into the house. Before the two days were over, we both had a pile of sentimental items that were taken off the sale block.
Nothing has changed in the garage sale world. Garage sale enthusiasts still showed up an hour early while we were trying to set up and began negotiating prices before we'd have a chance to get it sold. I'd get irritated when they'd leave without buying anything or even more irritated when they’d buy something I wasn't sure I wanted to sell.
I decided to make more grapevine wreath decorations this weekend, just to make sure our next generation will have plenty of garage sale merchandise, so I can be sure to pass along the money box.
-- Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org