Friday, April 24, 2009

Who Says It's Junk?

Once when I was young my mother allowed me to walk to a yard sale down the road with a small amount of money and the instructions to not buy any junk. And of course I didn't! Who did she think I was? I brought back a very tasteful, very useful item that consisted of colorful plastic butterflies bobbing about on wire. So not junk!

I think that's where my yard sale obsession took root, and so, now that spring seems to finally have graced our doorsteps here in Virginia, my Saturday writing will suffer. Not because I'm out getting some much-needed exercise or because I'm sleeping in, but because it's YARD SALE SEASON!! YAY!!

Yes, I'm a yard-sale-aholic which means I stop on a dime when I see homemade signs decorated with arrows and eat breakfast in the car. I carry a lot of one dollar bills and walk really, REALLY fast when I spot something I like that someone else is headed for. And I bring home a lot of stuff I hope I end up using someday.

But though I tease about it, it really is a great way to cut costs, and we all know what cutting costs is about these days. Just last weekend I came across a woman with salesman's samples, all new things that would make great gifts. And she had fantastic prices. Gift-giving just became a little easier! Those sorts of sales are rare, but most yard sales have some new items whether they're unused wedding gifts or just wayward purchases the owner didn't feel like returning.

Buying for kids at yard sales is another fantastic way to pinch pennies. Kids' clothes, toys, books... you name it. Those are things you can find in abundance, and since the little ones grow out of things so quickly, it's a huge boost to the pocketbook to find bargains on them.

You can also dress up a boring room with some second-hand pictures, frames, candle holders and other little touches. And if you've finished Fireflies In December and need a new read, you can find plenty of books. :)

The trick in all of it is to think before buying or else before you know it you'll have a house full of yard sale items you'll end up selling... at a yard sale. I usually plan ahead by taking only a certain amount of money I've allotted for the trip and then making a mental list of things I'd like to have. That keeps the wild spending at bay.

Have I enticed you yet? If you've never tried it, check out your local newspaper for sales. But if you're anywhere near me, don't follow my car too closely. I brake for yard sales!


C.J. Darlington said...

I don't got to many yard sales, but now you're making me want to! I think I would not have the discipline to only bring home good stuff--I'd probably end up with a house full of junk!

On another note... Is that the cover of your next book I see up there??? Way to go! :)

Jennifer Valent said...

Yes, that's the cover, and I have a hard time not looking at it over and over again. I think they did an amazing job!

On the yard sale front, I used to bring home more than I needed to. Running out of storage space for it changed my outlook pretty quickly!:)

Blakelyn said...

I share your passion for yard sales. It is, by far, my favorite spring/summer/fall past time. I cannot wait to go this weekend! I missed 2 good weekends of yard-sales while on vacation, including one in my neighborhood. I think my husband cringes every Saturday when I walk in the door, wondering what I've brought home this time.

Jennifer Valent said...

Yeah, I missed this past weekend, and there were two neighborhood sales. Neighborhood sales are my favorite!:(

Hope you had a great trip!