COLUMN: Aberdeen great for garage sales

Farm Forum

Every spring, our family cleans out the garage, makes use of the citywide cleanup and gathers items for a rummage sale. This has become a family ritual and a sure sign of spring. After the long winter, spring cleaning not only organizes our household, but serves a dual purpose to renew our attitudes.

The biggest issue our family has with spring cleaning is deciding how much to throw away or sell. My wife and I are at loggerheads when it comes to what goes and what stays. I admit to being a collector (she says hoarder). My interests, which translate into varied collections, include World War I military items, old books, toys, comics, sports cards, American Indian items, coins and rocks.

My wife continually questions why I need to have so many collections. Her idea is that I pick one thing to collect. I insist that my collections will be the basis for a terrific estate sale someday. She tells me that “estate sale” may come sooner than planned unless I cull the chaos. So this year, I parted with a big chunk of items. Admittedly, I still have a big chunk, and the old adage “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” is sure to apply in my situation. Be that as it may, I was proud of my efforts to thin out my collection this spring.

When it comes to garage sales, Aberdeen is a great place to shop for gently used items. The American News has a good package deal for advertising a rummage sale, including stickers, an inventory sheet and posters. For the shoppers, the newspaper publishes a map of rummage sale locations. We have always had good luck at rummage sales, both buying and selling. In our opinion, the key is selection and discounted pricing. Sales with like-new prices or limited offerings get a big thumb down.

Weather is another consideration for rummage sale success. South Dakota is known for temperature extremes and wind, but in our experience, the nicer the weather, the more traffic a sale will garner. We have a two-car garage, but it is nicer to display things outside in the sunlight, with big ticket items close to the street for “curb appeal.” It also allows more space for shoppers. We always offer a “free” stack to get rid of those inexpensive items that we really want to get rid of, but that might still have use to someone. When the sale is over, we immediately load up and donate the unsold items to local charities. One caveat here: I do not advocate taking junk to our local charities — that is what the landfill and citywide clean-up are for.

Although rummage sales are a lot of work (if you do them right), they not only encourage spring cleaning, but also become the ultimate form of recycling. If you make a little extra cash, so much the better. In other words, go green for spring!

Alan L. Neville is an associate professor of education at Northern State University. The views are his and do not represent Northern State University.