The Ottumwa Courier

September 8, 2013

Finding a great deal

Courier staff writer

---- — AGENCY - While there were colorful signs all along Main Street advertising yard sales down every road, one stood out from the rest.

At the home of Cindy Atwood's parents, a house on a corner lot, there was a 4-foot tall wooden sign proclaiming, "Huge Sale!" It was more than enough to get your attention and get you to pull over to look through the goodies on display.

"It's worked before, so we put it back out," Atwood explained.

They were among dozens of Agency residents participating in the annual citywide rummage sales over the weekend. While many sellers said the two-day event was slower than in years past, finding a great deal was still the goal.

And making a deal is, too. Atwood lives in Fairfield, but she was in town to help her parents with their sale. Downsizing is a necessity these days, and the Agency sales are the perfect way to do just that. Often, she said, shoppers aren't looking for anything in particular, just something to catch their eye.

Many of those hosting a sale said they have been participating for years. Atwood said they have done several, and they're always excited to get some things cleared out of the house.

For sellers, Atwood said, variety is the key to having a successful sale.

"It must be the marketing outside," she said. "People will drive by and look and just keep going if they don't see anything.

At the Agency Community Center, the mother and daughter selling team of Marilyn Schindler and Carla Skinner had many tables full of treasures. One little boy found a new toy robot to take home, while a woman found several piles of clothes for her grandchildren. Those browsing took their time flipping through magazines, finding a new favorite shirt or picking out some canning jars.

"A lot of people are just looking around," Skinner said. "Yesterday, a woman was looking for three particular things, but most people aren't."

The added bonus of having so many sales is being able to look at what other people have for sale, too, and find some things you can't live without.

"It's fun to browse around and pick things out," Schindler said. "You never know, I might find something I need."