The Garage Sale Review

Documenting crap that people sell in their yards

Junk magic in Bend, Oregon


animalHello you hagglin’ hound dogs! The Garage Sale Review, your go to guide to the dog-eat-dog world of yard sales and the brazen souls who choose to navigate it is back.

Readers, one of the many great things about garage sales is that they’re everywhere. Just like the mighty Sasquatch or registered sex offenders, you can be certain that no matter where you go a slew of yard sales are sure to be found nearby, waiting patiently for you to approach the driveway with your guard down.

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Sunday yard sales: Day of (the) Rest

gsrBuenos días, you salvaging sweethearts! The Garage Sale Review — your window into the wonders and horrors of the yard sale world — is back, and you better buckle up because this week we’re going to explore some new territory.

I’m serious, readers — this uncharted area of garage sale culture, which I managed to break into this weekend, was full of cement-gray skies and cheap, contraband booze. No, I’m not talking about the state prison’s annual solitary confinement rummage sale. Obviously I’m referring to the Sunday garage sales of Del Norte County, California!

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The yearly junk cycle

joaquinWhat’s happening, you garage sale goons? Another week has come and gone, and as the Earth careens around that big ol’ beautiful ball of yellow we call the sun, turning day to night and beckoning the Cascadia subduction zone closer to collapse, the junk we sell to strangers in our driveways grows older too. And not only does it accompany us on our journey through time and space, like a familiar companion or a mountain of inescapable student loans, these secondhand treasures are making their own unique revolution — from driveway to driveway in Crescent City, California.

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Pricing anxiety and Eastern wisdom

This $1 cat-decorated bag was once filled with a grandma's underwear

This $1 cat-decorated bag was once filled with a dead grandma’s underwear

How do you do, you knickknack navigators? The Garage Sale Review is back in action, ready to chronicle the fascinating tale of strangers selling crap in their yards, as well as document all the yard sale wisdom that these junk fiends tend to discard like unwanted pennies, or, as I’ve seen available at several sales before, like secondhand underwear.

Yes, it’s a tough gig being a garage sale reviewer out there on the Crescent City yard sale circuit, but someone has to hold Del Norte’s junk slingers accountable for the quality of their sales via public glorification/humiliation. And this week, as far as quality goes, was a mixed bag. Literally, this bag I saw for sale for $1 at one garage sale I went to — which was covered with a stylish cat print that I couldn’t take my eyes off but also had previously been filled with a deceased grandmother’s old lingerie — was mixed. Let’s get down to business, shall we?

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Sign Science 2: THUNDERDOME — Signs vs. Sales

Is the "Quality Sign" advertised on this sign indeed a quality sale

Is the “Quality Sign” advertised on this sign indeed a quality sale?

Hello, you odds and ends enthusiasts! This is the second part of an in-depth look at what your garage sale sign says about your garage sale, so if you’ve ever been in a position where you’re deciding whether or not to use a yellow crayon and a piece of toilet paper to advertise your sale then start paying attention. In last week’s installment I detailed my conversation with Terry, The Garage Sale Sensei, who turned me onto his good sign-good sale theory, and what follows below is a play-by-play of what happened when I put The Sensei’s hypothesis into the ol’ secondhand test tube of yard sale experimentation.

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The GSR hits the nationally syndicated big time!

The Garage Sale Review was a call-in guest on the edgy, tell-it-how-it-is, adults only podcast “A Way With Words” this week. Listen in to hear me and these IDGAF word nerds as we chat it up about early birds, Hello Kitty humidifiers, and smaller-than-normal-sized slotted spoons. Check it out at the link below (GSR starts at ~2:33)

Sign Science: What does your sign say about your sale?

This sign says something about the sale behind it, but what?

This sign says something about the sale behind it, but what?

Buenos días, you deal-diggin’ dingbats! For this week’s Garage Sale Review, I thought it’d be useful to begin looking into an element of the garage sale world that’s so universal, familiar, and integral to the weekend junk-buying process that without it, scholars argue, yard sales in their current form simply couldn’t exist. Like oxygen or the mystical Sasquatch, this fundamental factor of garage sale life is lurking all around us, yet it usually goes unseen and forgotten. As you probably guessed, I’m talking about yard sale signs.

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The controversial plight of the early bird

Nick, a self-proclaimed early bird, has been chased out of a garage sale with a broom for showing up too early.

Nick, a self-proclaimed early bird, has been chased out of a garage sale with a broom for showing up too early.

Hola, crap crusaders! The Garage Sale Review is back after a brief hiatus, and since my last column put the yard sales of Southern Oregon in the secondhand spotlight, I figured it was only right to return to Crescent City — my first love when it comes to stumbling into strangers’ yards and printing demented ramblings in the newspaper about what I find there.

Sadly, there were only three garage sales listed in the classifieds on Saturday, so this week’s junk manifesto was a bit limited by a lack of cool stuff for sale. But I soldiered on, keeping in mind what Dad always said, “When life hands you a rusty barbecue grill, spraypaint it black and sell it to an unsuspecting sucker for double what you paid.”

Even though I didn’t come across many interesting items this week, and I’ve also totally forgot any life lessons my dad taught me that actually had any value, I did manage to dig into an important element of garage sale culture: early birds.  Read the rest of this entry »

Frog love and the classified ad piggyback

frogsWhat’s happening, you beautiful bargain bandits? This weekend I decided to turn the tables on everything you’ve come to expect from this garage sale column. “Did he finally stop blathering on about old junk?” you might ask.

No, faithful readers, I’m still blathering on about junk, and I always will be. But this weekend I’m blathering about the junk in Brookings. 

Not only are the garage sales in Brookings located in a completely different city than the sales in Crescent City, they’re also located in a completely different state. The people of Oregon typically follow very different rules (these are called laws) regarding society, culture and the pursuit of happiness than the rules that Californians follow, and this was made quite clear to me when I ran into a person who the State of Oregon had allowed to be absolutely obsessed with frogs. As this person’s license plate stated, she was “unfrogettable.” 

Let’s begin, shall we?

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Legend of the lunch meat-eating eels

bethesdaHow are you, my fellow crusaders of crap? I woke up on Saturday and I immediately knew that it was going to be a beautiful day for garage sales. And that proved to be so true when I found for sale a huge 50-gallon tank that used to contain several lunchmeat-eating eels at the second garage sale I went to. Let’s get started.

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