Carol relaxing in a hammock

Thrifting is my deal. This brand of treasure hunting gives me a secret little thrill so I do it whenever I can. Tiny shops are really fun, but best of all is an unexpected find at a yard sale. The memory of my own — wild — sale is at the top of “The Best Yard Sale Ever!” [Hint: we sold our house!]

It’s 2004 and I ask my husband how we did on our the yard sale. He throws me a curve, “Best sale we’ve ever had, I sold the house!” WHAAATT? First shock, then laughter. The decision to move out of this conservative community had already been made months ago — but later, when we’d had a chance to fix it up and get rid of stuff!

The story behind the story:


No wonder she wanted this little gem!

A woman shows up on the last day of our 3-day yard sale. It’s the day of rock-bottom prices and we’re selling stuff for a buck just to get rid of it. I decide to take a break and walk across the street to visit a neighbor. The piles have dwindled to the last 4 boxes and a free pile when a last looker of the day asks if we’re moving. (Our neon orange road signs say “The Big Sale”) Since we’d already talked about it, Bill agrees to take her on a lookabout. Right then and there he takes her through the house. Dirty dishes, piles of laundry and heavens knows what else is strewn about. All warts are showing. Mind you, his wife IS NOT there and was mildly freaked out that he would do such a thing. My panties were on top of that laundry pile for heavens sake!

Garage sale woman isn’t fazed. Bill gives her a ballpark figure, “I like it. I’ll be back next week to talk.” Yeah, right. Well, she and her husband not only come back, but make an offer. We take a risk, up her offer by $20,000, and hold our collective breath. Basically, we sit and stare, waiting for her reaction. That 20 seconds seemed like 20 minutes. Finally, “OK, but that’s as high as we can go!” Holy s- -t!

Add Real Estate to Your Yard Sale: You Never Know Who’s Coming!

The small stationery store in town supplies us with a standard selling contract. We consult with an agent we know about what’s needed and voilá. The next week the 4 of us sit around the kitchen table, all civilized and everything, discussing terms and pass a pen around. The stack of documents we ended up with was possibly 10. I know, the civility of it all boggles my mind today. Rather like an honor handshake in today’s real estate world.


Billy zoning out in the backyard

This woman really wanted our house. No wonder. It was set back in the middle of 5 acres with a curvy driveway snaking through the woods to the garage. A small custom-built home, sitting in the middle of manzanitas and pines and wildflowers, where wildlife adventures are promised. It was the best ever. The kicker was they had made an offer the week before on another house close by, but thought nothing of forfeiting their $1000 earnest money. She really really loved the place.

We’ve had several real estate deals over the years, but none so sweet as our move north from Grants Pass, Oregon to Whidbey Island in Washington State.

I wonder now what suddenly triggered this sweet memory just before blog time. Maybe it was watching the ostentatious pageantry of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral this week, or maybe that the newscast sandwiched it between the depravity of war in Ukraine and yet another flooding disaster of climate change. Or maybe it’s just the insanity of the real estate market. Making sense of it all has my mind fighting for some peace and thinking about a simpler time feels good.