It felt like the two hottest days of the year. A yard sale in late July – what were we thinking? I believe the last time we did this a few years ago, it was at this same time. Are we nuts? It all reminds me of having a baby and thinking you’ll never do that again because the pain was unbearable.

And, then before you know it, another little one is on the way, and that pain thing is back. I have to be honest, I do enjoy this kind of thing once it’s up and running, but it takes a team effort to put it together. Thus, another yard sale journey began.  

As we readied for the sale on Thursday evening – yes we waited until the night before to go through everything – I started to panic about getting this all together. But my husband, Rob, reminded me that no one will care if we’re still going through boxes when they arrive. So I took a deep breath and plunged into our stack of stored boxes. That’s when the fun started.

We have the oldest hamburger stand, Claude’s Café, in our backyard. It was moved to our house in the late 1950’s, and it was one of the selling points that we liked when we bought our house. It was being used for storage at the time, and that’s what we use it for, but the thought of the history within those walls makes me smile.

It used to be located on Ferris Avenue near downtown, and we’ve run into various folks through the years who used to eat at that establishment or even flipped a burger or two there as teens. There is one particular back closet area where we store boxes, and it was my goal to clear that out for our sale.

I haven’t been through some of those since we moved in 13 years ago, so as I opened each one, it was like unwrapping a Christmas gift. I never knew what was in store each time I sliced through that old crumbly tape and pulled back the warped cardboard. One of the first boxes included several old pictures and books.

There was an album that had been designed by one of my student’s parents to hold pictures of a wedding shower from 1984. I taught school for two and a half years back then, and seeing those pictures brought back so many memories. I started to laugh, and Rob walked over to see what I was doing. Since these were from BRY, “Before Rob Years,” he wasn’t as amused as I was, but he was humored at how young I looked. Then he reminded me that I wasn’t going to make it through my stack of boxes, if I looked through every picture and reminisced. I knew he was right, so I picked up the pace.

Then I came across an 8 x 10 photo, and this one was mounted on a sort of plaque surface. When I first looked at it, my first thought was “look at all of that hair.” Instantly I was transported back to the front row of Reunion Arena in Dallas, with my sister by my side, and we were rocking out to songs by the band Whiteksnake. It was 1989, big hair was in style, and we had the best seats in the house or at least we thought we did.

We got the chance to go back stage and meet David Coverdale with his band after the concert, which enabled us to have this picture to remember in days gone by. Wow, where has the time gone? Then I felt a tap on my shoulder, and Rob cleared his throat reminding me that I simply cannot do this memory thing, or we’ll never get this sale put together. I knew he was right, but as I continued I couldn’t help but hum, Whitesnake’s “Here I go Again.”

Finally I had enough things to put out on tables. I have to admit I’ve been through different stages of collecting things through the years, and I started to see patterns of that on the tables. There was an interesting assortment of hearts, angels and shoes, oh my. I have a passion for all three of these, and as uncomfortable as it felt, I simply cannot keep all of them. Finally we called it a day, and when our heads hit the pillows we were out.

 The next morning we ventured out at 6 a.m., and started arranging the best we could. We listed the sale in the Daily Light to start at 9 a.m., and our first customer arrived at 6:30 a.m. Her name was Miss Becky, and we see her ride past our house at least twice a week in her motorized wheelchair. She apologized for being so early, but she wanted to get a jump on the other shoppers. As she looked around, I couldn’t help but smile inside because I’ve often wondered who she was as she passed our house, and now we’re getting the chance to meet her. She picked out two lamps and a shelf, and we made our first sale.

Then our next set of customers appeared, and little did I know that this would make yard sale history. It was a mom with her three daughters, and as they looked around I noticed the youngest, who looked about 6 years old, was really clinging to her mom. And, without skipping a beat, the little girl tossed her biscuits (threw up) in front of one of the tables.

My first thought was to do the same thing, but then I yelled for Rob and told him we had a cleanup on aisle 9. The mom was so sweet and tried to clean up, but we reminded her that it was in the grass and that all was good. When I posted this on Facebook later that morning, one of my friends said to make note to add barf bags to my list for the next sale!

As day one continued, the customers kept coming, and the items kept leaving our yard. Our son, Sterling, was quite the salesman. It was fun to watch him in action, and one particular sale stood out. We had an antique dining table and chairs that I’ve had for at least 25 years out for sale, and even though I had mixed emotions about selling it, I knew it was time.

As a truck pulled up with another dining set in the back Sterling struck up a conversation with that customer, and before we knew it, he was buying our set too. It was pretty cool to watch Sterling work his sales magic. I asked him later if it were hard for him to sell some of his things, and he said not really because each one contained a memory and he got to relive it.

With day two upon us, we had two particular goals we wanted to accomplish. One was to sell two doors that we had after remodeling our house, and the other had to do with unloading,

I mean selling a queen mattress set. I also decided to go back into Claude’s and pull out as much as I could. Even though it was a Saturday, the customers continued to come braving the hot temps. As we began to wrap up for the day, I couldn’t help but recall what Sterling shared with me. He was right about reliving the past. Even though we were clearing out what we’ve collected, going through those things was a gift. It reminded me where I’ve been in my life, but it also let me clear out space to experience what’s ahead.

I also enjoyed visiting and meeting new friends who stopped by to shop or just look at what we had. So often in our busy lives we don’t take the time to share that with others, so that was also a blessing. But we HAVE to remember to do this sale in a cooler time of the year, but then again, if I’m too comfortable I probably wouldn’t get through those stacks of boxes, would I?

Colleen is a journalist with Waxahachie Newspaper, Inc. You can follow her on her twitter and email at or Facebook at or contact her at 469-517-1452.