Garage Saling: End of the Season

Now that Labor Day has passed, the garage sale season is winding down here in southern Wisconsin. It is the human equivalent of the hummingbirds leaving and the crickets going quiet. There have only been a few sales in town for the last few weeks. I’ve been thinking back over the garage sale season and the sales I didn’t write about because of the business of children, animals, and gardens.

A  British friend of mine tells me that they have car boot sales not garage sales in England. From what I can make out, a car boot sale is what we would call a flea market here in the United States. You haul your stuff to an assigned place to sell and pay for your space. She admits that it would be nice to just haul it out into the front yard and have the buyers come to her, but that is not how they do it in Britain. The last sale I did with a friend of mine required three trips with my Chrysler Grand Voyager jam-packed to get all of my stuff over to my friend’s generously sized garage! We filled the garage, the driveway, the terrace, and her side yard with our combined stuff and had four individuals (three of whom were complete strangers) give us stuff to sell—no strings attached!

I have since realized that I did shop at a car boot sale in Verona, Wisconsin, of all places, during their village-wide garage sale this year. And I have pictures to prove it. I think the money raised was going to support the local food pantry.

I didn’t shop at any plant nurseries this year. I found all my perennials at garage sales. This “Megasale” is a good example. I bought a box of big blue hostas for $5. I broke the clump up into three or four pieces. It came to about $1.25 per hosta. I’ve been selling my extra perennials at another friend’s annual garage sale for a couple years now. I always do well, and she has an added dimension to her sale that draws more people off the highway.

I bought most of my year’s supply of shampoo, toothbrushes, and dental floss at yet another sale. These people fill their garage with personal care products every year and have a garage sale. It is a barn burner of a sale! (I know—that expression is usually only used in connection with really good-looking horses, but in this case it still applies because this sale was both unusual and exceptional.) My guess is that these people either are couponers and/or rebaters (ONLY IN AMERICA—right?)

I shopped at a number of wonderful estate and moving sales this season, but this one took the cake. Both my daughter and I found wonderful bargains. The buffet mirror cost only $1 with the mirrors and gesso in perfect condition. The Easter Island mugs were my favorite, but the 50-cent market basket came in a close second. The long bread pan also cost only 50 cents! This sale had everything from a honey extractor to a milk pasteurizer. I could have gotten a sawbuck for a buck if I’d wanted to cart it home (which I didn’t).

This potato chip tin is a bit of local history. I found it at the sale of a collector who was downsizing before moving. The company was based in Madison, and the man who founded it began making potato chips in his kitchen for friends. I and my daughter met one of these friends while visiting at our local nursing home! Anyway, I bought the tin for $4 despite the creepy clown it features prominently.

My absolute best find of the year were these clip-on bird Christmas ornaments. I admit to being just a wee bit of an ornament-oholic. (They are like that old advertising jingle about Jello—“there is always room” for more of them!) I put up at least eight themed Christmas trees each year. These old beauties are destined for the faux feather tree I decorate with my oldest ornaments. I paid something like $8 or $9 for the box. At first I thought all of the tails were missing, but they had just slipped inside the bodies! This peacock is my favorite of them all.

All in all, I am satisfied with my garage saling this year. I found most of the things on my list, and what I haven’t found yet can wait for next year! Begonia

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