Around here, winter can be tough. We get through 100-plus inches of snow different ways. Some embrace the season, some hunker down, and some (me included) look forward to a sure sign of spring: The church rummage/garage sale.
In the next two weeks there are at least a half-dozen such sales on my agenda and more seem to pop up every day. In fact, there's one Thursday and another on Friday that I plan to attend. You could say I'm ready to rummage.
Why do I love a good rummage sale so much? Well, what's not to love?
One good rummage sale is akin to what Barbara wrote about here. It's like at least a dozen "years of accumulation" sales in one location. I've found some of my favorite treasures at such sales, and usually at bargain prices, including several pieces of white pottery, Christmas decorations and lots of vintage clothing and shoes that have become part of my daughters' costume closet.
Pottery from two different church sales. I don't think I paid more than a dollar or two for each piece.
I love the little old ladies who staff the sales. Sometimes they gather in a little circle for a prayer right before the sale begins. Taking a cue from them, I think, Lord, help me find good stuff.
These ladies are almost always nice enough to price anything unmarked right on the spot, and usually quite reasonably. At one sale, I found an old papermache Santa boot. When I asked how much, I was quoted a nickel. A nickel? I think I gave the woman a dollar and told her to keep the change.
I love how a good rummage sale is clean and well-organized. The little old ladies spend hours sorting and arranging items by category (toys, clothing, books, housewares, etc.). At one sale that I really love (the one with the Santa boot of course), there's actually a holiday room, where the Christmas ornaments are hung on trees and priced at a dime or a quarter each.
I also love that there's usually a bake sale. If I don't find a treasure to buy (and that seldom happens), I can always bring home a pie or cookies, and what's not to love about that?
And then there's the grand finale: The bag sale. In its closing hours, a good rummage sale lets you buy a grocery bag for a few dollars and fill it up with what's left. The bargains get even better when that happens.
But there are a couple of things I don't love about rummage sales. Not every one is a good one. It seems they go in cycles; good one year, not so good the next. And then there are the antics of my fellow treasure seeks, who seem to get more aggressive every year. I sometimes wish that the secret of a good rummage sale was all mine.
What will this year's crop of sales bring? I'll soon know. Wish me luck and say a little prayer, too.
The Santa boot and an ornament. And, yes, that cute flocked soldier was really just a dime.