The Ottumwa Courier

May 23, 2012

Two women’s junk ...

Et Cetera

Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — We should have a garage sale, I casually said to my friend.

She gave me the strangest look, like, well, that might not be a bad idea.

Uh-oh, I thought. Wasn’t I just kidding?

I was just finishing up a house project. She was getting ready for one.

We had talked about the need to “de-stuff.”

We both had too much stuff. We needed to get rid of it.

Of like minds at times, we both had, over the years, given away stuff — clothes to the Salvation Army or Goodwill or to friends, and useful things to people working on our houses. She has given things to me. I have put much of my crappy stuff in the trash bin or out on the curb. In fact, I’ve yet to put anything out on the curb that hasn’t disappeared — sometimes in a speedy fashion.

When the guys doing work at my house removed my very old washer and dryer from the basement, they put it out on the curb one afternoon. I called recycling and arranged to have the appliances picked up the next day. A few minutes later, I went to my favorite drug store and bought two appliance pickup tags. By the time I got back home, the curb was bare. The guys were laughing — also amazed that the appliances quickly disappeared into someone’s truck. Luckily, the nice lady at the drug store let me return the tags. She mentioned that she should have told me just to wait awhile ...

I love it that many of us recycle that way. If someone else can use one of my cast-offs, that’s fine with me. Even if they re-sell it, I don’t care. I just want it gone.

So, Pam and I scurried around for a couple of weeks and started filling my garage with sale goodies. We called it an “eclectic” sale in the Courier ad with unusual treasures.

We set up the night before and were at it early the morning of the sale, putting prices on the nicer items. Unmarked items sold for a dollar. Pam was surprised I could shoo people away before the 8 a.m. starting time. We were still pricing and didn’t want to be interrupted.

One man in a truck patiently waited 30 minutes until we opened and eventually bought some stuff. A nice group of garage sale buyers came to look things over. I held firm on some prices, and a few of those items are still in my care. Toward the end of the sale, though, we often told prospective buyers, “make me an offer.”

About 1 p.m., we both were getting worn out. I made her a deal. If I sold my folks’ 1920s-era bedroom set and she sold her Victorian-style lamp, we’d call it a day. Pretty soon, here came a nice couple in a truck. They made us offers on the bedroom set and the lamp. We accepted.

Yea! We could quit.

More fortune came our way. Another nice man said he’d take anything we were going to toss, so he filled up his car. The rest Pam took to Goodwill and books to the “Pennies for Pages” book sale. I put a few items on the curb.

They were gone the next morning.

How did your sale go, I was asked that week? My stock answer: “That’s a lot of hard work for $100.” Pam made more because she sold more. But, she agreed with me. No more sales.

Although I do have some winter clothing I’d like to get rid of later, and in sorting stuff in my now dry basement (it hasn’t rained), I’ve found other treasures to sell.

Or give away.

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.