Romeo Village Park was open for business the morning of Saturday, July 21.
The reason? The Kid to Kid Yard Sale, which gave children an opportunity to sell unwanted items for profit.
Thirty-six children signed up to sell, said the event's supervisor, Grace Venet of Romeo-Washington-Bruce Parks and Recreation.
"The weather's beautiful and the kids brought their treasures," Venet said. "I think a lot of us are buying each other's stuff."
Tables selling stuffed animals, dolls, board games, videotapes and books dominated the park. More outdoor-oriented sale items included baseball mitts, golf clubs and bicycles.
Washington Township resident Rachel Williams, 12, took the opportunity to sell two bearded dragons she had previously owned. The dragons' tank and necessary supplies were included in the purchase.
"I'm more of a warm-blooded animal kind of person," she said. "They were great pets, I just got kind of bored with them."
If she couldn't sell the dragons, Williams said, she would take them back to her house.
Romeo resident Robert Murphy was so enthusiastic about the sale that he wore a sandwich board to help promote the event.
"I just think it's great for the kids," Murphy said. "It's just wonderful."
A nice change from the plethora of "Garage Sale" signs.
A crowd of people charged straight at me when the garage door opened for my big sale. Helpers jumped behind tables loaded with "good stuff"-and the fun of garage sales began.
The season of yard sales is upon us with signs around town and front yards overflowing with yesterday's gotta-have merchandise. Most folks face it eventually when "keen treasures" we've successfully accumulated must go.
For me, the revelation came when my empty-nest house had more grass to mow, more energy-consuming maintenance, and not enough of me to go around.
A smaller downtown Des Moines water-view condominium stole my heart and 32 years of "good stuff" had to go.
I zeroed in fearlessly, cleaning out nooks and crannies piled high with boxes and dusty stuff, some of which I hadn't seen for ages. Then the sorting began. Something I kept, however, are these useful tips that I learned from my yard sale.
Do you remember when your kids moved out years ago, leaving things for you to store "just for a little while?" Well, it's probably still in the same spot and even the kids wonder why they kept it. Tell them to come and get it, lock, stock and barrel.
This is also a good time for them to take items you intended for them that you won't need.
Listen to the music of their laughter and memory-talk as they sort the items. Gain some help, too, by arming everyone with a grease pencil, price tags, 409/Windex and paper towels. Clean stuff sells best.
No matter if the thing looks ugly, put it out. Toss odd items in a box marked, "Your choice-All ne price." It's amazing what people buy. Donate leftover items to charity.
A -- Arrive Early. If the sale is advertised to begin at 9 a.m., you need to be sitting in your car in front of it and ready to leap out by 8:45. As yard-sale holders will report, diehard shoppers are often at their doorstep two hours early. This is just plain rude. Let the sellers at least have their first cup of coffee.
B -- Bring a Friend. It's nice to have someone to give you an honest opinion. My good friend Vicki is my best yard-sale companion. She talks me into buying things and I talk her out of buying things.
C -- Carry Cash. Unless you personally know the sellers, they most likely will not take a check, and you can forget about plastic.
D -- Don't Dilly-Dally. This isn't the mall. Take in the full picture on arrival and head toward the items that interest you most.
E -- Estate Sales are upscale yard sales. Often the sellers will enlist a private group to help conduct the sale. Things are pricier, and you will find people following you around as if you were just released from jail on a shoplifting charge.
F -- Forget the Fixer-Uppers. You may have good intentions when buying a chair with a broken leg, but truth be told, it most likely will remain in that condition until you pitch it.
G -- Go for it! If you are a female, rationalize your purchase with the sociological principle that men are the hunters and women are the gatherers. If you are a male, just stash your purchase with all of the other so-called tools in the shed and no one will ever notice it.
H -- Hang on to it! If you spot something you may want to buy, use the "hands-on" approach. Otherwise, before you can say "I've hit the mother lode," it will disappear before your eyes into someone else's hands.
I -- Inquire if needed. The sellers usually are very willing to answer questions, the most common being, "Does it work?"
J -- Jewelry. Check for missing stones, broken clasps, etc. Ask the seller if you want to try it on.
K -- Know your stuff. If you know there will be collectible items, do your homework and research the going rate.
L -- Leave kids, especially young ones, at home. There are many fragile items usually displayed within a child's reach. While you're at it, leave your non-yard-sale aficionado spouse home, too. You'll have more fun, and he/she will thank you for it.
M -- Mirrors. Mirrors, especially older ones, require inspection. Take a close look to ensure they would not be better suited for a fun house.
N -- Never leave your purchases unattended. If you can't carry them, lock them in your vehicle. The chaotic atmosphere of a busy yard sale can lead to sticky fingers.
O -- Open it. Don't hesitate to open drawers, jewelry boxes, luggage, etc. to make sure everything is functioning properly.
P -- Plug it in. When purchasing an electrical appliance, it's a good idea to ask if there is an available outlet to check it out.
Q -- Quick decisions are a must. The old adage, "you snooze, you lose" applies here. And if you're really not sure about buying, it's not fair to ask the seller to hold it for you.
R -- Returns are a no-no. If something is defective when you get it home, you could try to return it. Good luck.
S -- Sniff test. It's a good idea to check for mustiness, especially when buying old books or furniture.
T -- Tuck an extra $20 in your wallet. You'll be heartsick if you run out of cash and see someone carrying away a great find that in a perfect yard-sale world should have been yours.
U -- Use your imagination. If a piece of furniture is structurally sound, a coat of paint and some inexpensive hardware can do wonders.
V -- Vans, trucks or SUVs make it a lot easier to get large and bulky items home to where your spouse is not so eagerly waiting.
W -- Wear comfortable shoes.
X -- Xylophone. You just might find one. That's part of the fun of a yard sale; you never know what's going to be there.
Y -- Yard-sale listings. Start checking the classified section of your newspaper on Thursdays for dates, times, and places.
Z -- Zip up your purse or close your wallet before you overdo it. yard-sale shopping is a great hobby but you could end up with a bunch of stuff that you have no use for. Just in case, you can always have one of your own!
he garage sale crowd was out in force Saturday morning and normally, Bethany Henry would have been among them.
But this week, Bethany - whose husband Todd calls her Lincoln's Garage Sale Goddess - had her own gig going. Lots of neat "stuff," arranged in easy-to-see groupings all over her garage, driveway and yard.
And all of it was free.
"I think that's wonderful, amazing. I couldn't believe it," said Cori Daniels of Lincoln, as she surveyed the household goods, clothing and toys.
Daniels said she'd never been to a free garage sale before. She picked up some clothes and knickknacks.
"I wish I'd gotten here earlier," she said.
Another shopper was looking for toys for her grandchildren to play with when they visit.
Jody Bruce was on her way to Chicago, when she stopped in Lincoln to pick up her mother. A friend alerted her to the "sale."
"This is pretty cool - amazing," Bruce said. "I got dishes and toys and knickknacks and picture frames and clothes."
A single Mom who called Friday night and said she had to work on Saturday got the toddler bed the Henrys gave away.
Bethany usually has a sale every year that brings in between $500 and $600.