When you go to garage sales there are three things to keep in mind while searching for bargains: Keep your eyes open, be curious (nosy) and adore animals. Sounds a bit odd, I know, but all three helped lead me to quite a find at a recent sale.
It was cold, OK, freezing, on a recent Saturday morning in the Valley. But despite the low temperatures there were still a lot of garage sales. I pulled up to one in east Mesa and I knew right away I wasn't interested in buying anything, or so I thought.
I did, however, see something that will always coax me out of my car and up the driveway: A cute dog. The owners had a darling Shin Tzu-Bichon mix named Gizmo. (I love dogs almost as much as garage sale bargains so I had to give him some attention.)
I bent down to Gizmo's level and we exchanged pleasantries. I scratched his ears and talked to him and he gave me a little tail wag. I was rising up to go when I saw it. A darling Halloween basket.
This wasn't just any basket, though. It was a highly collectible Longaberger. These are handmade in Dresden, Ohio, and signed and dated by the artist. They eventually retire them and each one becomes quite the collectors' item.
The basket I spotted in the garage in a container was round and sported a lid on top with a darling handle in the shape of a ghost.
n 82-year-old woman is accused of getting out of hand at a yard sale in San Carlos Park, Florida over the weekend.
Deputies say she stabbed a man with a knife, frightening customers and neighbors alike.
Grant Boxleitner has the story.
"She was jabbing at me. She was jabbing at me, literally with the buck knife," said David Paci.
Paci got much more than he bargained for at his neighbor's garage sale. He says 82-year-old Sybil Atterbury started chucking knives.
"She reached in and threw a chef knife at me, probably a 9-10-inch knife," said Paci.
Witnesses say Atterbury was honking the horn and cursing at anyone within earshot.
"There were people buying things and I'm trying to make change, and his woman came running up and says here's a dollar. The woman's got a gun," said Bev Hornack.
It wasn't a gun, but according to deputies, Atterbury had at least two knives in her car, including a large butcher knife.
"By the time I looked back, she had another buck knife in her hand, taking jabs at me, and she got me twice on the arm," said Paci.
ON HEARING that household clutter is the enemy of creativity and positive energy, I organised a garage sale, conveniently forgetting that I'd previously sworn never, ever, under any circumstances, to hold another one. Seconds after placing the advertisement over the phone, I realised that the extremely chatty person at the local paper had talked me into an outrageously expensive boxed ad. There goes $40 profit already.
Two days after the ad appeared we received a letter from a very forward real estate agent who had noticed the ad and was offering his professional expertise if we were thinking of moving. Even more startling, his letter was personally addressed. Um, thanks, but no thanks.
We decluttered, with a few heated exchanges about what could or could not be sold, and tossed a mountainous pile of energy-sapping items into the garage. I could feel the creativity returning already and designed some big, colourful signs to direct innocent pedestrians to our colossal pile of junk.
After arranging the items so that customers could actually get into the garage, there was just one more vital thing to do - stick a shiny 50-cent coin to the garage floor, which would provide endless unbridled, guilty entertainment while we watched dozens of gullible visitors attempt to pick it up.
In garage sale land, Tuesday is the new Saturday and 8am the new 9am. After we advertised the sale's starting time as 9am on Saturday, three dealers knocked on the door during the week hoping for a preview. Um, didn't you read my outrageously expensive boxed ad? Obviously not carefully enough. Come back on Saturday. And they did - at 8am.
- DERBY - Had it not been for Ed Tackach’s curiosity, a 130-year-old piece of Derby’s past might not ever have come home.
Now, because of his generosity, a historic musical instrument will grace City Hall.
While on vacation in Kalamazoo, Mich., in 2003, Tackach and his wife, Penny, decided to check out a garage sale. Tackach, who was feeling a bit tired, stayed behind in the car while his wife rummaged through the antiques. However, Tackach’s curiosity got the best of him, and he ventured out to peruse the knickknacks.
He quickly spied an old upright piano sitting in the corner of the garage. Crafted of maple and oak, the piano had some nicks and scratches, but still had its original caster wheels and most of its keys were intact. Tackach, who happens to be Derby’s historian, is always on the lookout for items of historical significance, so he lifted up the piano’s lid, in hopes of learning more about the 800-pound instrument.
"I flipped open the lid, and there, in big gold letters that were in perfect shape, were the words, ‘Sterling Piano Company, Derby, CT,’" Tackach said. "I just stood there with my mouth open."
On closer inspection, Tackach discovered a second Sterling insignia, forged into the piano’s cast-iron interior.
The instrument dates back to around 1876.