Yard Sales in Amish Country

This morning I decided to spoil myself by going out to some yard sales — no deadline to be home, just me and the yard sale map that I printed out last night.

Side note to all my yard sale friends. If you haven’t yardsaletreasuremap.com yet, I can’t recommend it enough. The site is linked to Craigslist yard sale ads, and when you tell the site which day you’re going and where you’re going, it will pull the yard sale ads from Craigslist and plot them with the sale descriptions still included on the map. You can easily add or delete sales, even ones you find in the newspaper, ask the site to optimize your route or order it yourself, and then print it. You can be ready to be out the door with a good idea of where you’re going in less than 30 minutes.

I like going to yard sales in the summer, particularly when I have some goals in mind. My yard sale goals for this summer include serving platters, bowls, candy dishes. I should get more hospitable, and while I don’t need great dishes to do that, it does make it more fun. I’d also really like to find a new set of dishes or at least a new set of salad plates and bowls to go with the white dinner plates I already have. Currently I have a yellow and blue set of dishes that I’ve had since before grad school, so some of the plates are getting chipped up and showing knife marks. They’re still serviceable though, so I hesitate to buy a set new at the store unless I find some I really like. I’d rather hold out and find some at a yard sale or put some on my wedding registry whenever I get to eventually make one of those. I also want to find anything that will help me out with my deep cleaning/organization goals for the house (though, some of the other clutter that I buy at yard sales works in direct opposition to my organization goals).

This morning I had great yard sales success. I was able to find two of these baskets for under the kitchen shelves for $1 total. They were supposed to be $1 each, but it was mid-morning by the time I got to that guy, and I think he was ready to be done for the day, so it didn’t take much convincing for me to snatch them when he told me that he’d give me both for $1. It turned out that storage unit was a goldmine because right before I walked away, I spotted a mail sorter. As I was standing there trying to decide if I wanted it to help me with my craft/office organization project, the woman walked over and started to sell me on its virtues. Then, she told me that she would sell it for $5. I think I hesitated because I was drunk on the power of negotiation after getting $5 knocked off my air conditioner price, so I  hesitated and considered asking her to give it to me for three. I decided that would be a little crazy though because it would have cost me $66 to go buy this new, and the one I got today is in great condition. It’s already in the attic office where it fits perfectly into the closet. I have to say that I don’t know if I’ve ever been so excited to sort paper in my entire life. That’s on my to do list for tonight right after I install the air conditioning because it’s getting a wee bit miserable in the attic.

Before I ever got to the storage shed of wonders, I had managed to score an air conditioner for the guest bedroom for $20. I had briefly kicked around the idea of buying a new air conditioner for that room, but I just don’t have guests stay that often, so I had pretty much ruled the purchase out and decided that if guests came I could sleep downstairs on the couch in the air conditioning or upstairs on an air mattress (which I don’t own), and the guests could take my room. But, for $20, I couldn’t pass the air conditioner up. Now as long as I only fill one of the two guest rooms at a time, I can stay in my bed when guests come.

And, finally, I made some progress in the serving dishes acquisition goal.


I scored a giant white glass bowl to use instead of the giant plastic Walmart ones that I typically use, a footed shallow bowl that I’m not quite sure how to use, a really pretty tart dish that I need to find a recipe to go with (suggestions welcome), and a white glass candy dish all for — wait for it — $4.25. The giant glass bowl hurt my pocket the most at a whopping $2.50, but I didn’t try to quibble because the proceeds from that yard sale were going to fund some ministries at a local church.

If you throw in the multi-cultural experience, the morning was golden. I was shopping in honest-to-goodness Amish country, so at one point, I had to remind myself not to step in the horse droppings on the shoulder of the road while I was making my way back to my car. The danger of yard sale driving was taken up a notch because I not only had to avoid the run-of-the-mill crazy yard sale drivers fighting for parking spaces and making unsignaled turns, but I also had to avoid buggies, tractors so old the tires weren’t even made of rubber, and people riding their bikes with boxes lashed to the back. It was pretty much mayhem, but nice. There’s something about milling about a neighborhood and hearing horse’s hooves clip-clop down the road behind you. Although, I did nearly have a heart attack when I thought that one Amish woman drove up and just left her horse standing on the side of the road. I thought, “She didn’t even tie that horse to the mailbox!” And, then I thought that was pretty illogical anyway because the average mailbox really won’t stop a horse that is determined to run away. Then, I figured out that two people were still in the buggy and wanted to say to the guy who looked like he wanted to pet the skittish looking horse, “Hey, do people come up and pet your car?” Ah, it was a good morning. I think I’ll try to get out at least one more time before summer is over.

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