The sun came out. It warmed up. And I think I even heard some birds singing, or maybe that was me humming a happy tune.
The first Saturday in January rang in the first good day for garage saling following a bit of a dry spell. I'm grateful for the rain. But it sure can dampen the spirits of garage-sale lovers.
"It really irritated me because there weren't enough sales," said avid garage saler Robin Johnson of Mesa.
That's right, treasure hunters like Robin and I just went through a really rough period - you might call it a bit of a garage-sale drought. Thanks to miserable conditions three weekends in a row with cold, wet, windy weather - and then the holidays - garage sales seemed to evaporate in the Valley.
But aahhh . . . January would bring mild conditions and, as a result, an abundance of sellers and buyers.
"I've never seen anything like it. It's been a hoot," said Gina Simpson, who along with a friend was holding a garage sale in Gilbert.
When I pulled up to their sale, I couldn't believe my eyes. There were nearly 50 people gathered in the tiny front yard picking through boxes and looking at furniture. That's a lot of folks because typically, I might see a dozen or so shoppers at an average sale.
"We were planning on doing this several weekends ago but the rain caused us to cancel it. So, we've been ready to get rid of this stuff," Gina told me in between making change for customers. They made nearly $500 in just four hours and sold almost everything.
Is your home overrun with unwanted knickknacks, unplayed games and unworn clothes? Before you start chucking things, why not throw a garage sale? Garage sales are a fun, economical way to cut down on clutter. They can even net you some cash when they're organized effectively.
Here are some tips for throwing a low-hassle, high-profit garage sale:
Ask neighbors to join in. When it comes to garage sales, the axiom "the more the merrier" holds true. The more browse-worthy stuff on display at the sale, the easier it is to draw in buyers.
Select sales items carefully. Whatever you're trying to sell, you have a much better chance of selling it if it's clean, particularly when it comes to clothes.
Group objects by type and display them on clean, sturdy surfaces. If you're selling smaller items, like hair clips or costume jewelry, consider grouping them in plastic bags.
Tag everything with a suggested price. It helps to minimize confusion and discourage prolonged negotiations.
By mid-morning, the jumbo-sized garage sale filled with hundreds of vendors and bargain hunters trying to strike deals on trinkets pulled out from the backs of closets, precious antiques saved for years, marbles, DVDs, houseplants, records and all the other staples of the home marketplace.
For many who came Saturday, the ninth annual "World's Greatest Garage Sale" at the Monroe County Fair & Expo Center in Henrietta, was a gigantic treasure box to dig through.
"This is the thing I get excited about all year," said Fran Lander, of Le Roy, Genesee County. "We make sure we come every year."
This year, Lander had come in search of a glass teapot and didn't find it. "But I found everything else," she said, leaning up against a cart filled with pillows, clocks, baskets and other odds and ends.
In another corner, Greece resident Josiane Laloggia scanned over painted dishes and mirrored vanity sets — "just to see if I can't find some good deals," she said. Already, she'd purchased a Gorham crystal ball for $2.
"And you can't beat that," chimed in sister-in-law Janice Laloggia of Fairport.
Dallas residents may soon have to register with the city before holding a garage sale at home under a proposal being considered by officials.
Dallas city policy currently allows residents to hold two garage sales at their homes per year. Each sale can each be up to three days in a row.
But Mayor Pro Tem Elba Garcia said too many residents are abusing the system, causing traffic problems and disrupting neighborhoods with frequent sales.
Dr. Garcia said it's not uncommon to see people virtually running businesses by selling new merchandise from their homes or from empty lots.
Some offenders, she said, have been documented using department store-quality clothes racks to sell used apparel.
"It's resale, not a garage sale," Dr. Garcia said of the illegal home-based enterprises.
Both Dr. Garcia and employees of the city's Code Compliance office are analyzing proposals to change Dallas' garage sale ordinance to require residents to register with the city before each sale.