• The Garage Sale Review: The Legend of the Double Garage Sale

    Books for sale at a garage sale.
    Books for sale at a garage sale.

    Editor's note: All photos taken by Gillian Rhodes, Daily Texan Staff.

    Hi, you lovely garage sale connoisseurs!

    This weekend was a big one for The Garage Sale Review. I guess it was just something in the air. I caught Gillian's eye when were getting in her car and we both immediately sensed it — there was an electric energy flowing all around us, guiding us in our quest to garage sale nirvana. Or maybe the feeling was just the comforting embrace of Gillian's garage sale iPhone app, iGarageSale. I'm telling you, if you want to get into garage selling, having a garage sale phone app is the way to go. Seriously, the thing is the bee's knees, the cat's meow, or, if you prefer a Spanish translation of that particular idiom: la mamá de Tarzán, which according to wiktionary.com means the same thing as the bee's knees. I don't know if I buy that or not, though.

    Anyhow, there are a few yard sale apps to choose from so make sure to poke around before you settle. Find the one that's the right fit for you! It's like having a tiny, sleek, downloadable Magellan in your pocket when it comes to navigating garage sales in Austin (or wherever you are). Those random neighborhood streets can be labyrinth-esque, and if you're not properly equipped you might not make it back to the familiar. Ever. Well, at least not for a little bit, which can be annoying.

    OK, let's "git 'r done," shall we?


    View The Garage Sale Review: 7/11 in a larger map

    3613 Winfield Cove

    Our first garage sale was being operated by Toy, who until recently was a teacher. She told us that she was interested in getting rid of some of her junk, which I've realized is like some kind of Newtonian law of garage sale physics. It's like answering "food" when someone asks you "why are you eating that?"

    So, Toy said that she decided to stop teaching in order to bartend full time because she doesn't want life to pass her by — a noble desire if I've ever heard one. As such, she was getting rid of a lot of teaching materials, like twenty copies of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, for example. I was tempted to buy every single one of them, but no, that would mean I'm crazy, so I resisted. Also, there was some inexpensive-ish sound equipment ($30 for a pretty cool record player, $30 for a respectable looking sound receiver) and a couple of funky loveseats for $40 each.

    GARAGE SALE CENSORED

    The next garage sale was a total fail in that the garage seller had no desire to be in a garage sale-focused blog. We didn't resent the seller's resistance, however, as being featured in a weekly column that talks about the junk people sell from their yards isn't for everyone. I bought a pack of Seinfeld playing cards for $2 (way overpriced, but I'm a sucker for Larry David) and we went on our way.

    4810 Avenue H

    The third garage sale we checked out was a real gem, not necessarily because of the quality of the stuff for sale, but because it was a double garage sale — truly legendary! Like a star system where two burning suns orbit around a common system of mass (that's called a binary star, just FYI), the double garage sale consisted of two garage selling parties, James and his wife, Laura, and their next door neighbor Marisa. The garage selling folks had decided to combine because, as James put it, "if it was just us it would be kind of lame," which I have to admit, is a true statement. The items were just standard garage sale fare.

    There were DVDs for one dollar apiece, a hammock that a dog chewed on for $30, a rug, and some other knickknacks and electronics. However, Gillian and I insisted that, like an ugly duckling or a kid that no one likes, every garage sale has some intrinsic worth, so we kept digging around until we found a bouquet of James and Laura's wedding flowers for sale. That's just sweet, I don't care who you are. You might think that a couple selling off their wedding decor is a little sad, but James assured us that they were only doing it because "we're not planning on using them again." Ah, youthful garage sale romance — warm, tender and only $3! What a bargain.

    3800 Avenue H

    Charlie, the spiffy garage seller pictured above, was the host of the fourth garage sale. He told us the story behind the garage sale and the house where it was taking place. The house, which had been built in 1936, had been Charlie's home all his life and he knew a lot about the history of the area. He described the changes that he'd seen in the city and even in 48th Street, which runs in front of the house, and has become a pretty heavily-trafficked road.

    Charlie said that a lot of the items in the garage sale had belonged to his brother, who had recently moved to a nursing home. There were lots of books and clothes ("he was a pretty large fella', all the pants are 42 waist, the shirts are extra large") and even some artwork that Charlie's daughter had painted like the painting of Bevo that he's holding up there. We chatted with Charlie a bit more and then went on our way.

    3501 Greenway Street

    Our final stop of the day was described as a "designer garage sale" by the garage seller, because she "wanted people to know that it wasn't a lot of crap." She said she was having the garage sale because she's putting her house (designed by Lake Flato, the architects responsible for Hotel San Jose on South Congress) on the market soon and wanted to clear some stuff out.

    Anyway, Julie was right, there wasn't a lot of crap at this garage sale. There were some really nice couches and fancy stereo equipment — a lot of it already gone — but, being poor and cheap, the high-end items weren't really what stood out to Gillian and I. We were immediately drawn to the robot that Julie had for sale. She told us that it dances and picks stuff up and that she "bought it when it came out, but now she's done with it." Love 'em and leave 'em when it comes to robots, that's what I always say. Also, notice the oversized light bulb to Julie's left there. That, my friends, is a big light bulb lamp. "It's a light bulb and it's a lamp," Julie said. Accurately stated. And guess what? She bought it at a yard sale! Whenever I see a killer deal a little siren inside my head starts going off and when Julie told me the light bulb lamp cost $5 my brain nearly exploded. I bought it and now it's in my room, illuminating my things like only a big light bulb can.

    Welp, that's all, you guys. Join Gillian and I next week for more garage sale action or you'll be sorry. Just kidding, it's OK if you don't, but you really should. Really.