October 21, 2014
The Liberty Lake Splash
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The view from the other side of the yard sale
6/26/2014 1:37:19 PM

By Chad Kimberley
Splash Column

It all started with a couch. 

I have wanted to get a new couch for years - literally years. Finally, Tammy and I agreed that it was time for some new seating options, so we headed out to a furniture store to make our purchase. We found a great couch and loveseat. My backside and I were now very content.

But Tammy saw a kitchen table. 

It was a nice kitchen table but a bit out of our price range based on the recent purchase of the previously reported couch. The only way we could add another piece of furniture was to get rid of some old furniture, mainly our current kitchen table. 

And if you live in Liberty Lake and the calendar is turning toward June, there is truly only one option you should pursue: the Liberty Lake Community Yard Sales. 

Since we moved to this area several years ago, the community-wide yard sale has always been a time where the family and I head out to scour the local yards looking for some good bargains, grabbing some food from vendors in the park and visiting with friends along the way. Now we were going to sit on the other side of the cash box. 

In preparation for the yard sale, we decided that obviously we were not going to just sell the kitchen table, but it was time to do some deeper cleaning and see what else we could add into the sale. As we went through closets, storage bins and bookshelves, we ran into a problem that anyone who has kids will recognize: a rediscovery of toys. 

So instead of selling off our surplus, it seemed to be that the kids were adding stuff into their reserves. I may be a good history teacher, but I stink at teaching economics to the kids. 

Deciding to make our yard sale a true event, we invited two other families to join us in the madness of the morning by throwing their stuff in with us. In reality, my plans were to get more folks to help out with the sale while myself and other interested parties could watch World Cup soccer throughout the day. 

The day arrived, and along with it the deluge from the heavens. OK, maybe it wasn't necessarily apocalyptic rains from the days of Noah, but it was a consistent and at times heavy rain that poured on us throughout the morning. We were stuck with items upon items piled up in my rather smallish garage and the inability to put items out on the display, especially the kitchen table that started this whole event.

After moving vehicles, my sister-in-law performed what was intended to be either a "stop the rain" dance or a "come shop at our sale" boogey street side. Unfortunately, it seemed to cause the rains to increase and the foot traffic to flee in a different direction. But at least it was entertaining for the rest of us. 

At 7:29 a.m., our first customers arrived. They bought nothing. This could be a long day.

Finally, our first sale occurred. A Harry Potter DVD left our movie collection, mainly because it was a Blu-ray and we do not have a Blu-ray player. Still, a buck is a buck! 

My brother-in-law set out an old lawn mower with a sign essentially saying free, doesn't start and I have no idea how to fix it. A gentleman picked it up, assuming he could get it running and thus would be a great mower. We helped him load it up. Twenty minutes later, he was back. He said the gas fumes were making him sick. He promised he would come back to get it later.

We couldn't even give stuff away. This was not encouraging. 

We made our first plus-$5 sale, which also made me greatly sad. I have a 7-year-old son and over the last few years I have bought him several Star Wars and super hero action figures in hopes he would get into collecting them as I did as a child. He would rather play with Legos. I sadly acknowledged this reality, and we packaged the old action figures in a couple of sandwich bags. Good-bye, Boba Fett and R2-D2. 

There was finally a break in the clouds, so we quickly moved out a couple of coffee tables, an old loveseat and recliner and, most importantly, the kitchen table. Within 15 minutes, the rain came back and the table went back into the garage. 

Life on the other side of the great yard sale stinks!

We sent a couple of folks on a run for Starbucks and kettle corn from the park. I was not going to miss my kettle corn. (Although I realized if I get all my favorite vendor foods from the park, I may actually lose money on this yard sale day.)

We did have a few solid sales as one of the families - not mine - sold some nice dishes for a good profit, thus giving them a quick lead in the family vs. family vs. family challenge. I got rid of a few of my old DVDs, including a buyer who picked up "Elmo's World" and "Jaws." Suddenly, I pictured Jaws eating Elmo. This could be the next "Sharknado" movie. Forget selling a kitchen table; I could make it as a movie producer. 

Finally, we had a semi-run as the rain came to a stop. We sold the loveseat, we sold a coffee table and I was loading stuff right and left. All but the kitchen table.

At this point, I gave up and realized there was only one thing left to do. Head inside, sit on my new couch and watch the World Cup. 

Next year, I go back to being a buyer.  

Postscript
After telling a co-worker about the frustration of the yard sale, the rain and the inability of selling the kitchen table, she shared with me her family was looking for a kitchen table. One picture later, I sold the table. Didn't even need to have a yard sale. Sigh.  

Chad Kimberley is a local teacher, coach and Liberty Lake resident. 

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