By ISABELLA SMITH
Each year hundreds, if not thousands, of people brave the heat of summer to browse and bargain hunt at yard sales.
It has become a sort of summer ritual for many families. Some would even go in rain or snow if those holding the yard sale were able to keep their items out.
Lisa Story, a Jonesborough resident, said she enjoys going to yard sales because it’s a good way to hang out with her family.
Story, her sister and nieces spent the morning visiting different yard sales, one of which was at the home of Amy Knight at Main Street Village Road in Jonesborough.
Knight held her yard sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Knight’s mother, Linda Anderson, who recently moved to Jonesborough from Johnson City, helped with the yard sale.
Some of the things they sold were clothes, furniture, rugs, lamps, decorations and children’s books.
Knight said they chose to have a yard sale in the hopes of making some extra money and to thin out the number of belongings in their home.
“We’ve always loved yard sales and used to go to them all them time,” said Anderson. “We don’t get to go to them as much anymore, but I still enjoy going when I can.”
When asked what she thought was the biggest difference between being a seller and buyer Knight laughingly said that holding a yard sale is a lot more work. She could not decide which one she liked more because she enjoys both.
“It gives you the chance to talk to people,” said Knight.
Knight said they chose to have the yard sale this past weekend because the forecast promised to be good weather for it.
She holds at least one yard sale per year usually at the end of May, beginning of June. Their subdivision usually holds a community wide yard sale around that time, and they participate in it.
Both Knight and Anderson agreed that yard sales are a great way to get to know their neighbors.
They also stated that yard sales are good for the community not only because they allow people to get to know each other but also because it gives those hosting the sale the chance to sell a neighbor an item they may need for a reasonable price.
Knight said she has had a few buyers come looking for a specific item, though most come to browse. Some ask for tools or a particular piece of furniture.
“Someone actually asked if we had any guns for sale,” said Anderson with an echo of past surprise in her voice.
Michelle Basel and her daughter, Kaylee Hutsell, were out shopping when they saw Knight’s yard sale sign and decided to stop and take a look at the items that Knight and Anderson had set out.
Basel said that they go yard saling when they have time and that it’s sort of a family tradition. Her mother took her around to different yard sales and now she’s passing the hobby on to her daughter, who bought a makeup bag set from Knight.
“It gives you the chance to see people you haven’t spoken to for a while,” Basel said, referring to an instance where she ran into the son of a man she used to work with a few weeks ago.
Hutsell mentioned to her mother that yard sales allow people to purchase items for a price that they would not have found otherwise.
“We were able to find two wireless keyboards for me and my brother for like 10 dollars each,” said Hutsell.
Knight agreed that yard sales are a good way to find bargains. She was able secure an Italian piece of pottery that goes with a collection that she’s building at someone else’s yard sale.
“It’s also a great clean family activity that allows people to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather,” said Knight.
The only thing that Knight and Anderson said that they would change about having a yard sale and going to them is that they would choose to not get up so early and sleep in on a Saturday.
Even more yard sales took place Saturday, two of which were in Jonesborough and another in Gray.
One was the Hoxworth’s home at Upper Sand Valley Road, Jonesborough.
Kenny and Margaret Hoxworth, along with their grandson, Colton, held a weekend-long yard sale that began Friday and lasted until Sunday.
Margaret Hoxworth said that they chose to have a yard sale this weekend because the weather was good, and they wanted to get rid of some of their “stuff.”
Colton was a very energetic seller. As soon as someone walked up with a question, he was ready with an answer and could detail what items they had to sell.
The item Colton got most excited over was the ‘68 Mustang that his grandfather was selling.
“It runs great,” Kenny Hoxworth said. “It just needs a new paint job.”
They were also selling a ‘68 Ford Fairlane, a pontoon boat, 115 Johnson outboard, Toyota motor home, blue goose neck trailer, as well as box after box of household items.
Margaret Hoxworth said the thing she enjoys most about having a yard sale and going to them is the opportunity to speak to people.
Friday, for example, she got the chance to visit for an hour or more with one shopper just discussing chickens because they both had experience with them.
For Colton, it’s all about the appeal of finding things.
“I like buying stuff,” he said.
His grandfather, on the other hand, believes that “yard sales are great for the community because it helps the economy by reusing items, and it’s a good way to get to know neighbors.”
His grandmother said yard sales are good because people who would not usually be able to afford certain items can get things they need.
“If someone doesn’t have the money to buy something, sometimes we’ll lower the price to help them out,” she added
Many sales have unique choices for buyers as well.
“Last year my daughter had a yard sale where she sold chickens for $5 each and puppies for $10,” said Margaret Hoxworth.
The only negative thing the Hoxworth’s could think of when it comes to yard sales is when people don’t take down their signs when the sale is over.
Another yard sale that took place Saturday was at the home of Brenda Sluss at Shannon View Road in Gray.
Sluss decided to have a yard sale for Friday and Saturday because she just had too much stuff.
“I sold a bit yesterday, put out more things today, and still have more that I haven’t got out yet,” said Sluss.
She said that at lot of people usually come by her sales. Friday, she had at least 25 people stop by and was anticipating more by the time she put things up at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Sluss said she loves every part of yard saling, both selling and buying. Occasionally she will buy items at other yard sales and resale them at her own.
She chose to have her sale this past weekend specifically because there was no prediction of rain and she had a friend available to help her to setup and sell.
Sluss said that the work you put in and the money you make from a yard sale is worth every penny because you get more than money. You get the opportunity to have quality human interaction.
She loves getting the chance to meet new people and talk to those she knows.
Throughout the summer months, many people will hold yard sales. Sluss cautions those that do to keep pricing in mind.
“If you no longer want it, why would anyone else spend a lot of money on it?” Sluss questioned.
Something that Sluss really likes about yard sales is that they allow people to get items that they may not have been able to afford otherwise.
She also said that it’s a good reason to get out of the house, even if the person doesn’t buy anything.
Lynda Jack, a woman who lives in the neighborhood, was walking her dog early Saturday morning when she noticed one of Sluss’s signs was down. She stopped by to let her know about it and saw some picture frames.
Jack decided to take her dog home before coming back to buy the frames for the painting that she has done.
“I would have to say my favorite thing about yard sales is finding a bargain,” said Jack, who wasted no time in buying no less than five of the frames.
She said she also likes getting to talk with others.
Just like Basel, Jack has made yard saling a family tradition and passed her love of bargain hunting onto her daughter.
A boy about 10 years old ran past Sluss and Jack, and excitedly grabbed a 40-year Mr. Coffee pot that Sluss’ mother gave her years ago for the mobile home she once used. He looked as excited about getting it as most children look on Christmas morning.
Sluss said he was there earlier and really wanted the coffeepot for his grandfather.
“He gets up every morning to make his grandpa breakfast and does a number of other chores without a word of complaint,” said Sluss.
Yard sales or garage sales are so well known now and regularly occur, but some may not know its origins.
According to the Ultimate History Project website, the present-day yard sale held in America originates from rummage sales that emerged around the docks in port cities.
When ships came into the port unclaimed or damaged, cargo would be taken off the ship and sold. Those sales were called rummage sales.
Like most things, Americans have taken that practice and turned it into something new and creative — something that has become a summer hobby done by countless individuals and families.
Thus far, this summer is proving to be a hot one, which means there will be many more yard sales to come. As long as there are sunny days there will be people setting up to sell things they no longer want or need.
So, this summer keep your eyes open for those colorful homemade signs. You never know if they’ll lead you to something you’ll come to treasure.