Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Yard Sales - the Treasure Trove

It is that time of year again!  Yard Sale Season; when people start to clear out their houses after the winter or maybe many years, exposing the insides of their walls and lives to passers-by on the street.  Some people are preparing for moves, some are only trying to cut down on things that they own and don't need to keep, others are making room for new objects.  Whatever the case, these lovely individuals choose to make a few bucks from selling their precious belongings to other people for cheap, rather than take things to the good will or salvation army.  And I'm glad they choose to exercise their right to sell their things for quarters, because yard sales are fun to stop and poke around at, and they sometimes yield the most amazing treasures.

Yard sales pepper my childhood memories, as my Mum has always been a passionate yard saler.  She is the yard saler who purposely purchases the Thursday paper in order to peruse the classifieds section, where Saturday yard sales are listed.  She and her friend(s) rise at 6:30 on a Saturday morning, stop at Tim Horton's for a coffee, and head off in a car (we live in a rural area) to traverse kilometres of road and visit many towns in the surrounding area.   Usually, she would not return before noon.

I am a much less dedicated yard saler.  I don't look in papers for the yard sales; I just keep an eye out for hand-drawn signs taped to telephone poles or little stakes at the corners of roads.  However, I understand the reasoning for getting up early and planning your yard sale attack.  If you know that a yard sale is going to be a really good one (and some neighbourhoods are known for their excellent yard sales) and you don't get there early, you may miss out on the best finds.  That said, I've done fairly well over the years by luck and good fortune.

Toast rack, aka mail holder

Some of my more notable yard sale finds include: a large hand-painted chinese paper fan that used to hang over my bed (is now packed away), two or three original artworks, a real pearl bracelet, a sterling silver toast-rack that I use to hold mail, two vintage fur jackets, hundreds of books, many records, a tall art-deco glass vase, and this:

A Miu Miu calfskin bag.  What a find!  As a general rule, one should be skeptical of anything at a yard sale that has a designer logo on it, and I was properly suspicious.  In this case, I was eyeing up the bag for a while.  I checked out the labels and noted that inside it says 'Miu Miu, Made in Italy', and that it is made of genuine calfskin and leather (strap and clasp) and has a 100% cotton lining.   This kind of quality is very rare in cheap designer knock-offs.  The woman selling it was asking $40 also, which is *very* steep in terms of yard sale pricing.  It turns out that she had bought the bag in Europe, it is a real Miu Miu bag, and she was heartbroken to be parting with it.  I suppose that she decided to sell it because it was a luxury of sorts, but frankly I think she made a mistake!  Lucky for me, however, and my brief moment of indecision won me a lower price for this excellent bag as well.   Here are some close-ups:

I am pretty psyched about this find, I can tell you.  Figuring out how to fit it into my wardrobe might be a challenge, since I haven't carried a hair-covered bag before.  But I am also quite ready to ignore convention in order to carry this around.  I love the holstein motif!

My fairly disorganized yard sale-ing ways have paid off yet again.  I am excited for the weekend, since the weather will be nice and there will very likely be many yard sales to stop at.  Fortunately, Drew also likes yard sales (his Dad is an antique person, and also heads out before dawn on summer Saturdays to get a deal), so we're on the same page with checking them out.  Maybe we'll even accompany my Mum when we visit in July.

1 comment:

  1. It looks like you have a knack for finding stuff in yard sales. Are you ever sorry about getting something? Not because the price or because it is not nice, but rather because you cannot find the right place for it in your house? You can list all your unwanted items for sale online on - it's totally free. No fees, no commissions - you keep all the money.