It’s yard sale time


Warmer weather means only one thing around our house: it’s time for some much needed spring cleaning. Usually, we spend a week or so deep cleaning the house and gathering all the junk we’ve collected over the last year. And by our junk, I mean my junk.

In years past we’ve boxed up all our stuff and donated what we could before leaving the rest out on the curb for trash pickup. This year was to be different. This year would be the first time we ventured into the world of yard sales.

And by we, I mean me. The Wife really didn’t want anything to do with my great idea on how to get rich quick. It was a shame; she didn’t get to enjoy all the snacks, music, and scented candles. Confused? The Wife was too when she saw my yard sale setup.

Spring cleaning takes little or no preparation. Wake up one morning; grab a broom, mop, giant sponge and cleaner, then start cleaning. Not so with our first-ever yard sale.

If we were gonna be successful and sell a bunch of stuff, then we had to start early and buy a bunch of stuff. Just to be sure, I started a month ahead of time. I know some of you may think that’s ridiculous, and I’d agree. I would’ve started much earlier, but I had to babysit Little One and Sweet Caroline for a week.

My first stop was to the giant hardware store with the orange roof to buy four folding tables. After all, the best way to sell our junk isn’t to spread it out on the ground. It must be laid out neatly on tables. I also bought paper tablecloths and skirts for each. The next stop: the office supply store.

The office supply store didn’t have a yard sale sign. So I bought a garage sale sign. I wasn’t selling a garage, but they didn’t have a sign that stated: Please buy my junk so we can go to Florida and visit my dad.

Blank stickers to label everything with a price were also on my to-buy list, but they actually had stickers with prices already printed on them. The stickers were three times as expensive as blank ones, but would certainly make my life much easier so I bought five packs. Next stop: the giant electronic store with the blue roof.

I read somewhere that stores pipe in music and fragrances to make shoppers relax and slow down so they will buy more. This would be perfect to keep the shoppers at our first-ever yard sale lingering around. And what better music could I possibly buy other than the Beatles? So I bought the entire Beatles anthology. Last stop: the corner grocery store.

At the grocery store I bought a variety of snacks and three vanilla candles. I know what some of you may be thinking: I should’ve bought cinnamon candles, The Wife’s favorite, but I like vanilla better.

After an entire day shopping, and spending over $200, I finally made it home. For the next week, tables were set up, junk was found and labeled, and snacks eaten. The day before the yard sale, more snacks were bought, items were staged just so, music was checked, and candles were placed in safe locations.

To be honest, after all the work and preparations, I hardly slept the night before. As it turned out, I had plenty of time to sleep the very next day.

Imagine my surprise when I woke up to rain. But this was not to be just any rain. Nope, that Saturday it rained a total of three inches, tornado watches were issued for our area, and our driveway was completely covered with hail, not once but twice.

Yep, didn’t sell a single thing. But our yard sale wasn’t a complete failure. I did enjoy listening to the Beatles, eating snacks, and smelling vanilla candles all day.

With a huge clap of thunder, the yard sale came to an end around 5. I came inside, and The Wife asked how we did. I replied, “Don’t know how we did, but I didn’t sell a thing.” She then suggested taking pictures and trying to sell everything online. It turned out to be an extremely good suggestion.

For those of you that have been inspired to hold your own yard sales, here are some helpful tips. If you don’t want to gain five pounds, buy healthy snacks. You only need one pack of pre-priced labels. Scented candles are on sale at the grocery store usually on Saturdays. Rent tables instead of buying them. And the entire Beatles anthology is great and well worth the money.

It has been over a week since our ill-fated yard sale. Although not nearly as much fun as sitting in the garage all day listing to The Beatles, eating unhealthy snacks while watching sheets of rain fall and having hail pound the cars that we had to park in the driveway, I’ve sold almost enough stuff online to break even.

All in all, I’d say our first yard sale was a success. I think we’ll have another next year – minus the rain, tornado watches, and two hailstorms.

Author’s note: Last weekend something extraordinary happened. It was the end of a five-year journey that many start, but few finish. The Wife received her Ph.D., and this writer couldn’t be more proud. Does it mean that she must now be called The Doctor instead of The Wife? Come back next week and find out. After all, it’s The Doctor’s orders.

[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]