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Yard sales reveal items’ true value

You know what they say about one man’s trash being another man’s treasure?

The person who coined that phrase was probably at a yard sale.

Yard sales are places of almost endless possibility – and usually also places of “What in the world…?” When I was younger, my mother would usually have one yard sale each summer, combining with my aunt and grandmother to stage a sale that always attracted plenty of potential customers. I loved to poke through all the boxes of trinkets, linens, old toys and dishes and usually find a “treasure” or two to hang onto.

The funny thing about a yard sale is, the sellers are just hoping for pennies on the dollar, and buyers are keen on a bargain. Even things that are in perfect condition – sometimes unopened, unused, still with price tags – aren’t worth half of what they would cost on a store shelf. Things we would pay $10, $15, $20 for in a store without batting an eyelash – a nice sheet set, a trendy lamp, a hardback book – gets the side-eye if the price sticker asks for more than the kind of cash you can find in the couch cushions or the car floorboard.

Some of the best hagglers in the world are yard sale enthusiasts, and they aren’t ashamed to ask if you’ll take 50 cents instead of a dollar for those name-brand jeans you only wore twice.

That’s why I rarely shop at yard sales. I have never been comfortable with haggling, and I feel like such a chump when I pay $2 for something I probably could have gotten for 25 cents.

I still love to be on the seller side of a good yard sale, though. My husband’s family usually has two or three a year, and I always try to get in on the fun. I love seeing what people will pick up, put down, what bits and bobs they decide to spring for. It’s neat to see the tchotchkes, knick-knacks and kitchen supplies I no longer have a use for going to a new home to bring someone else joy.

And hey, if I only walk away with a little pocket money, well, that’s a little pocket money I didn’t have before.

Franklin County loves yard sales. We always have some listed within our classified pages. So if you’re in the mood for a treasure hunt, put on your haggling hat and go after it. May X mark the spot.

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