I love yard sailing but can never hold one



Back when I lived in Washington, DC (many moons ago), I used to go yard sailing.  I meandered most weekends through numerous neighborhoods getting a feel of new spaces. I was excited to see these beautiful homes and the so-called junk they were getting rid of. I had never gone to yard sales growing up. No one held those in the South Bronx. It was such a delight to see artwork, pots, shoes and furniture in ostensibly good condition being sold for pennies.



My very first wok, was one that I bought for a dollar at a yard sale. I had never cooked food in a wok before that. I actually had rarely ever cooked before that moment. However, I wanted that shiny big red wok for a dollar. It was awesome and mine. I also remember that I bought a yellow pot for a dollar that I still have till this day. I heat up my son’s soups in that cute little yellow pot that came into my life as I was starting to learn about other people’s lives.  That there was the fun part of going to yard sails.  I got to find jewels and make up backstories for my new belongings. You can’t really do that with items you purchase new in a store. They come devoid of a story. No history. And I was starting to live a new life on my own, years ago in DC, I was really into buying other people’s stuff.



Fast forward a decade or so, and it was actually hard to go yard sailing in the suburbs of New York and then the hills of San Francisco.  There is no point to doing yard sails in San Francisco. First off, too many hills and its hard to walk up to them. Second, people just tend to put a sign that says “free” on items that they then leave on the street. Those items usually are picked up by someone within five to ten minutes.   Now fast forward a few years to my time here in Los Angeles. I came across a yard sale this very weekend where I found an awesome NY Botanical Garden poster from the 1940s.   It was just $15.  I hung it up immediately in my new home and started wondering why and how this poster from New York made its way to Los Angeles. Did it go through my own struggle and path?



This past weekend, I took my adventure in yard sales even further. I went to the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market.   I had high expectations as to what I could find and what stories would be attached to the items.


I came across old desks that made me remember what it was like to be a kid in school many years ago.   Life and society have changed so dramatically.  Now kids have shared desks in open spaces or high tech tables that have outlets for all their iPads.  I showed my son a old desk chair that he just looked at with intense puzzlement.


There were all sorts of drums all around that made me wonder for a second what type of music was played on them and where had the music gone?


Now, while I love buying old furniture and other such items, I don’t think I myself would be able to hold a yard sale. I don’t see myself parting with my items in such a public way. I would wonder how they would fit in to their new space and whether their new family would treat them with respect. I just can’t part with my items in such a way.  For now, they are stuck with me. 

15 replies »

  1. I absolutely love yard sales (and thrift shops!) But I’m focusing my life so much on minimizing now that most of the time I just look for things. I rarely buy anything new anymore though, there are a few select things I won’t buy used, like upholstered furniture (bed bugs, fleas, and the like, ew!!) but everything else is fair game. My boyfriend and I were actually talking about starting a business in the future buying up old end tables, dressers, and stuff and restoring them, then reselling. It’s so fun to see what other people are getting rid of, especially when it fits something you need!


  2. Yard/garage sales are lots of fun, whether you actually need anything or not. We used to go every Friday and Saturday, and sometimes on Sunday if we could find one. I’ve had a few myself, but it is so much work. I’d rather go see what I can find somewhere else. 🙂


  3. Love this story. I am very into buying other people’s stuff, mostly from thrift stores. The best way I found after moving to the west coast was a group called Buy Nothing. It is through Facebook. usually grouped by what neighborhood you live in, where people just post items and you pick them up for free! The poster of the item gets to choose who gets what in the comments so there’s no going to pick up something that is already gone.
    After moving to Seattle I got a really nice kitchen table and chair set and a stationary bike.
    Idk if this is in LA, but look into it!


  4. I could never host a a yard sale I just don’t have enough stuff as I pair down often and keep a charity box in the garage. I do however love the antique mall , thrift shops and looking through others peoples treasures …


  5. It seems that a start
    Dates back many moons ago
    Is a good enough reason, for a New-Yorker poster
    To find its new owner
    Who is ‘yard-sailer’ at heart

    (That sure was one suspicious-looking made up phrase, I guess) 🙂


  6. I prefer regular retail therapy, though I have many friends who use yard sale retail therapy instead. Those good friends have even been so good as to acquire some useful furniture for me, often found on the curbside for free pickup after the “official” yard sale was closed! Truly some of the many advantages of living in sunny So Cal, where it’s more often than not “yard sale” weather.🌞

    Maybe when your son “outgrows” some of his “stuff” you’ll be able to comfortably, and may actually decide that you MUST, have your own yard sale!


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