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Editor's Notebook: At a garage sale, it is much more fun to be the buyer

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 8:36 p.m.

There was a time when I went gaga over garage sales.

I loved the thrill of hunting through someone else's treasures and trinkets.

When the children were young, we snatched up many of the popular, plastic must-have toys, ranging from toddler sliding boards to pretend shopping carts, at yard sales.

The toys were used and abused, and we contributed our own signature dents and crayon scribbles before passing the toys onto yet another family.

Other “prize” finds over the years have included: a vintage Pitt vs. Penn State football button; a wobbly personal trampoline; a leather chair that I could barely squish into the car and a hockey stick that resulted in a quizzical look from son before he informed me that it was a left-handed stick (and he is right-handed).

I was more careful from then on when I started looking for golf clubs.

Today, I realize I need to be on the other side of the garage sale business.

It's time to part with toys sitting in the attic, a saxophone no longer played and a land-locked canoe.

I have, however, made some quasi-successful attempts at hosting garage sales over the years.

Some of my yard sale memories include pushing a couch three blocks down the street when I teamed up with a neighbor for a sale.

I remember having to practically give the couch away to the only couple that expressed an interest so I wouldn't have to push it back up the street.

Service with a smile, I told myself.

I remember someone ruthlessly ruminating over whether to buy a 25-cent candle.

Picking it up and putting it down. Fingering and refingering it.

“Buy the thing!” I shouted at her inside by head, hopefully reaching her telepathically. She didn't buy it.

With a little bit of experience under my yard sale belt, I now have developed rules.

No early birds. No, 8 a.m. doesn't mean show up at 6 p.m. the night before.

Yes, stay in the roped-off area. No, you can't go in the house and look around.

No, the furniture on the porch is not for sale. No, the car is not for sale.

No, I can't change a $100 bill. No, I won't take a dollar for something marked $10.

No, No, No!

I think it's more fun to be the garage sale goer.

Debra Utterback is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1403 or

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