Comparative Analysis of Northern versus Southern Yard Sales – A Study

Many years ago when my ex-husband and I moved to Syracuse, NY we had a garage sale. We were in quite a hurry to move to Syracuse from Toledo, OH and didn’t have time to have a sale or get rid of anything before we moved but we didn’t worry too much because my company paid to move us. Once we were able to finally find and buy a house (that’s a separate, long, emotional story) we finally held a garage sale to get rid of all the extra things. Our only goal was to make enough money to buy a new sofa since neither of our sofas fit or looked good in out new house. We took out time sorting sale items as we unpacked from the move. Once we were ready we had the sale.

Also, this garage sale was in 2004, before social media really became an everyday “thing” for people of all ages. Therefore my advertising for the sale was essentially well written, easily read posters located at main intersections.

People came. They browsed. They purchased, generally $20 here, $5 there, an occasional $100 or so (for a sofa, etc). In the end we were able to rustle up $600 that bought us a pretty nice name brand couch at the overstock center of the local “nice” furniture store. We had lots of crap left over that we took to a donation center. The overall experience was a generally pleasant one. As far as the stress of hosting a garage sale goes.

Fast forward many years. Mike and I decided to full time RV. But with a decisions like this we weren’t 100% certain if we would like it or how long we’d want to continue. We actually made the decision to go full time within a month. Most people research for years, prepare for months and years and take their time paring down their belongings in preparation of finally selling a house and moving into a camper.

Nope. Not us. We sort of bought a small camper on a whim. Thought we’d leave Syracuse for about 3 months of the winter. Within a week that discussion morphed from, “well, winter here is really 6 months. So let’s RV for 6 months….. well, actually, spring is either excessively rainy or still snowy. How about we stay gone 8 months? Wait, sometimes it can start snowing the end of September. Let’s just come back for 3 months…” And then finally, “why are we spending money on a house and extra car for only 3 months??? Let’s just go full time!”

And just like that we had less than a month to clear and get rid of 2-3 properties and clean out a house, 2 storage units and a 5,000 square foot pole barn full of sh…er, crap. We tried selling the biggest stuff but we ended up giving most of it to many of our younger friends in their early 20’s – 30’s. You remember when you were that age, right? Someone wants to *give* you a table and chairs??? SURE! Now you don’t always have to eat in front of the tv! (or at least now you have another surface to stack on crap…) New, young homeowner? Yep, you can *have* the lawn mower!! We’ll even deliver it to you! Everything else was donated or trashed.

But you never really know how living in an RV is going to turn out so, just in case, we packed up a 16′ POD of stuff. In reality, it started out with things that we weren’t ready to let go, specifically, my piano. And that lead to power tools and the new sectional sofa we had bought less than a year before, beds and bed frames. But in the end I also was throwing in several bins of clothes, etc.

We had that POD in climate controlled storage in Syracuse, NY for FOUR YEARS! Ideally I would have sent the piano to my dad’s but his house at the time just wasn’t big enough, so POD it was.

FINALLY, dad and his fiancee, who both have had separate houses for years in South Carolina, finally found a bigger house with a few acres of land and a pool! But I was most excited because the house was big enough for my piano!! They closed on the house end of August and we had plans to visit for a few weeks, get the POD delivered and emptied. We would get there around September 10th, clean out and organize our camper, leave for the weekend for previous plans, come back, have the POD delivered the following week and take our time unpacking the POD and hold a yard sale on two consecutive weekends as we cleaned it out and as Dad and Wendy unearthed items they wanted to get rid of as they consolidated their houses.

Then hurricane Florence came.

We didn’t go to dad’s that first weekend. We headed to Jacksonville to wait out the hurricane. When we did get there the following week, the POD delivery was delayed a week due to hurricane damage to roads, etc. So instead of a calm, deliberate unpacking of a POD and setting up of a yard sale, we had a frantic, exhausting couple of days.

The POD was delivered on THIS PAST Wednesday morning. Dad, Mike and I had that sucker unloaded and spread across the driveway and yard in less than 2 hours. I had posted the yard sale announcement on Craigslist and about 8 local Facebook pages for sales. But by around noon on Wednesday I was panicking that we weren’t going to have time to get rid of everything! So I posted “Hey, come preview for the sale! We’re not set up for the sale yet but if you see something you want we’ll probably sell it!”

My plans for going to the bank to get proper change went out the window. But I was excited with the social media response and made a sign with details that we accepted PayPal and Venmo in addition to cash! I was so excited how far garage sale-ing had come since I had last held one.

In the south Yard Sale-ing is a religion. If you post it they will come. And come they did! Dad and Mike kept unloading and organizing items while I took care of people stopping by. By the end of Wednesday I thing we had already gotten rid of a third of what we were selling. By Thursday we had another third or more gone! People started coming Friday morning even though the posted hours for the sale were Friday 2pm – 6pm and Saturday 6am – 2pm.

Ten minutes to 2pm on Friday (10 minutes before the official opening of the sale) we were almost sold out! By 4:30 or so dad, Mike and I determined we had so little left it wasn’t worth keeping the sale going. It was all going to charity. We started closing down shop, moving stuff in the garage, taking down signs and I frantically went to try and find all the posts to notify everyone we were Closed for business.

There were many memorable moments during those few days. There was the woman that was on her way to Lowe’s to get a pitch fork, saw one of our signs and thought she’d drop by just to see if we had one. Sure enough, we did! And she wandered around the sale for over 2 hours, looking, talking to her husband and son on hr mobile about all the tools we had and what they may want. She also talked our ear off relentlessly, and that’s saying a lot coming form me!!

We had a man stop by who buys and resells stuff at the flea market. He must have wandered around for about 2 hours too. Also talking our ear off about all the stuff he’s bought and sold over the years. And how we makes his own homemade wine.

And the neighbor and her college-aged son who were actually the first people to stop by as we were unpacking the POD, gathering up a few big bins of stuff that we set aside for her and her son. (Normally we refused to hold anything for anyone but since this was dad’s neighbor and he was new to the neighborhood I made an exception. Plus, we knew where she lived. 🙂 )

Oh, did I mention that each of the above people spent about $200 EACH!

And did I tell you that they all came back AT LEAST one more time, maybe more?!?!? (and spent more money) We had several people that stopped by more than once! I had never experienced that before!

And then Thursday afternoon there was a woman looking for stuff to help her and boyfriend with some new business pursuits – specifically a hot sauce they made and were selling at farmer’s markets and their plans to open a restaurant downtown. Mike and I had put our old trade show pop-up display in the sale (minus the company artwork that attached to the display frame). I was originally going to throw it out but Mike reminded me that people buy all kinds of things at sales and to keep it in. I had a great conversation with this woman, showed her the display and gave it to her to use at their farmer’s market setup. All they have to do is buy their artwork to attach to the frame. (the frame being the most costly part of the set up. The artwork should only be $25-$50 so we saved them a lot of money. She was so excited and appreciative! And when I helped her load all the dishes, glasses, etc into her car she gave me a bottle of the hot sauce!!!

Yesterday while we were starting to wind down, one of our previous customers, the guy that resells stuff at the flea market, came back and gave us a bottle of his homemade strawberry wine!

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In the north, people go to sales, browse, buy a few things and move on. But in the south… in the south they come with a vengeance! They come with perfect change. They buy LOTS of stuff and will come back. And bring their friends and relatives! And they don’t buy a few things… they buy hundreds of dollars worth of stuff!!! They are friendly and will have a conversation with you. They share intimate details of their live (for better or worse) They aren’t in a hurry. They aren’t interested in Moose Christmas decorations (that i had in NY) And they DON’T use PayPal or Venmo. 😦 I had no takers…..

In the end we made almost $2,000!!!!! And that’s even give sh*t away towards the end. It was a fast and frantic 3 days but the POD is empty!!! Most things are gone and what’s going to charity is a manage in one truck trip.

It was a great time!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Full time downfalls

Of course full time RVing has lots of pros. But there are a few cons too. Exercise, for instance.

I told myself I’d have all the time in the world to exercise when we were on the road. That’s partially true – I do have more free time. But I never considered how much of a routine you can get into at home. A routine that I’ve found impossible to find on the road.

The easiest exercise for me is running (although probably my least favorite). But sometimes I get overwhelmed trying to find a new route in an unfamiliar place. But I try.

I like to road bike and mountain bike. These are significantly harder to do. Not many places in the US are bike friendly. Not to mention that Mike hates to ride on the road. So that forces us to find paved bike trails. *If* we can find them they are usually great! Most often then not they just don’t exist.

Weight lifting is my favorite. I have not been on a lifting program since we started full timing. Almost 4 years!!! My body is screaming at me too. Where there was once tight, strong muscle there is now atrophied mass and and unusual amount of cellulite. Swimming is good too but we aren’t always close to a YMCA. Which is also the reason I haven’t been lifting consistently.

Here’s the thing. When you live in a house with someone you presumably have 2 cars and go about your own routine. In a camper, when you’re always moving around and have 1 vehicle, this routine is non-existent. If I want to run in the morning, instead of just going, I wait until Mike is ready. That’s not usually until the afternoon. By then I’ve lost motivation and it’s usually hot as balls. I’ll do it but it absolutely kills me.

If I want to bike I also wait for Mike. But he doesn’t like riding on roads so it’s a hunt to see if/where there are trails.

If I want to swim I have to find a pool. And Mike really hates it soooo…

Is it Mike’s fault for me not working out??? NO! Absolutely not! It’s my fault for not just doing what I know I need to do when I need to do it. Mike might want to go for a run with me but I need to do it when I need to for my body. (Usually in the am).

This is an interesting trap I have found myself in that I didn’t expect.

So I’m trying to turn this sinking ship (aka – my large ass) around. This morning, in SC, I got my butt out for a run before it got too hot.

Did it feel good? Honestly, no. It did not. I felt like a fat, sluggish, 2 ton bouncy ball bumpin’ down a dirt road. Every step hurt my joints. My heart rate would skyrocket after about 100 steps forcing me to walk a bit. Which, by the way, if seen by a bystander, they probably couldn’t tell the difference between my “run” and my walk.

Was it embarrassing? ABSOLUTELY! Times like these I’m glad I’m alone.

But I did it. And I need to do it again tomorrow. And if my joints hurt too bad in the morning then I’ll just walk. Because this unhealthy “situation” I’ve gotten myself in is NOT sustainable.

(This is my face for the “Julie, get your shit together” talk.)

Going… home??

We wrapped up Dayton shennanigans with friends and headed back east. Stopped last night outside if Cleveland to meet up with my cousin Laura and her hubby, Bill. Laura and I do look similar, our moms are sisters, but a few months ago we got mistaken for sisters!!❤️❤️

This morning we got out if town fairly early and are now almost to Syracuse. This is, was, our home town. We haven’t been back in a few years. True to form it’s cold (for August) and rainy here. Two of the three main reasons Mike wanted to eave in the first place. (Snow was #1, in case you’re wondering.)

We’re excited to be able to meet up with friends we haven’t seen in a while but I also think Mike has a countdown somewhere that’s he’s tracking days until we leave. We both have a lot of mixed feelings coming back. August is generally a good time to visit and it looks like the weather is going to clear up soon and it should he delightful while we’re here.

We are planning on staying at the Elks lodde just a few miles from.where we used to live. Funny it never occurred to us to become Elks while we lived here. But we ar e now and can’t wait to meet some new people and maybe some we already know!!!

The Most Underrated City Ever – Dayton

I know, I know. You hear “Dayton, Ohio” and you’re like… what? Who cares.

But let me tell you. You should care. After almost 4 years of travel this is the most underrated city we have EVER visited!

I don’t even know where to start. The beautiful artwork and murals? The awesome craft beer, breweries and restaurants? The fountains? The bike paths and parks?? Cutesy neighborhoods??

Since we’ve been in Dayton there has been a HUGE Celtic festival. There’s a German festival going on right now. I have biked the neatest, cross-town bike paths, seen fantastic fountains and imbibed at the most unique and coolest bars and restaurants ever!

Today we biked with a group around Dayton and stopped at R- Taco. It’s a small taco joint that also sells margaritas and beer. In my book that gets a rating of #1!! Order single tacos or a dozen. Choice is yours. Inside and outside seating. Granted, they have locations in OH as well as TX, NM, NE, MN, CO and IA. But it’s still a great location in a great neighborhood!

We also stopped at another bar… or should I even call it a bar? Proto Buildbar serves beer and cider but also….. has 3-D printers, soldering tools and other delightful nerdy things you can rent!!!! This is such a unique concept I can hardly wrap my head around it! AND they have a life-size giant claw game!!!!

Having run, biked, walked and driven through town, you see all sorts of murals painted on walls of buildings. I have never seen so much artwork in a town! Even the graffiti! It’s like all the graffiti artists got together and agreed they would respect each other’s art, not paint over each other and provide a unique artistic angle to their artwork. It’s beautiful!

We only came to the Dayton area because we made friends months ago who lived here. But we have not been disappointed. I’m sure the winters aren’t fantastic – I mean, it does snow here. And I’ve heard when the river floods, it FLOODS. But hey, that’s river life in most places, especially in the midwest.

About an hour north of Cincinnati, Dayton should be on your list of places to visit. Dayton has a minor league baseball team and summer festivals are sure to keep you busy. This town is a hidden gem!

A Great Way to RV – Elks Lodges

About two years ago Mike and I joined the Elks lodge in Phoenix, AZ. We kept seeing lodges pop up on one of our overnight camping apps but every entry included “Must be a member to park”.  The costs were minimal, usually anywhere from $10-25/night! Some are dry camping, some have electric hook up and some even have little RV parks!

We get a lot of jokes about us being so “young”  to be Elks from people who are not Elks. Yes, the average age of an Elk member tends to be on the grayer side – but this is only because most lodges have had a difficult time recruiting “younger blood”. This is by no means an “old person” club.  It’s a social/philanthropic organization that does a lot for kids and military (active and retired).

The great parking options was the original reason we joined the Elks. However it has become so much of a family for us! We can pull into an Elks, go inside, sit at the bar and just meet the neatest people! We always feel welcome and have some great experiences. Some lodges are large with lots of amenities.  Our Phoenix lodge has a pool, 2 racquetball courts and a small gym! (And showers!!) Although we have to dry camp in the parking lot. But we don’t mind especially with the showers so close. They also are large enough to have dinner every night. So if I’m feeling lazy I can feed the 2 of us at the Phoenix Elks lodge at the Friday night steak fry for $8-$12 each!!! The whole meal with sides and everything!! (salad, bread, potatoes or something similar!) You can’t beat that!!!

Did I mention it’s inexpensive food and drinks?!?!?!  There aren’t many bars anymore where you can get a pint of Bud Light for $2 or less!

I really encourage you to look into your local lodge and see if it’s a fit for you, whether you RV or not.

Meeting Fellow Travelers

I haven’t posted in forever. However, after a fantastic convo with Elise, an dental student starting at U of L (Louisville) in August, I feel the need to make a post.

What a great time talking about traveling, people of the US, etc. over craft beer!

I thoroughly enjoy talking with people who also share the love of exploring. Elise, if you read this, never stop exploring!!! And share your adventures with everyone! We can all try and encourage adventure and travel! Cheers!!

Need to Buy Stock in Tires

Welp! When you’re driving a huge fifth wheel camper on the interstate and there is something in the road (scattered across a few lanes) your only real choice is to hit it. Swerving and/or slamming on brakes are NOT options.

And so we ran over a big twisted sheet of what appeared to be corrugated metal.

And now we’re waiting for roadside assistance to replace a flat camper tire.

Again….😕

EDIT: we got lucky! The Ram is a fricken beast! (Little crack in the under bumper). The belly cover under the camper saved us from getting a rip in any of our tanks. (Cuz no one wants literal crap leaking all over the roads) and lastly, an outter bin – that we dont even use – got a slash. Speaking of slashes….. the far back trailer tire got the worst of it.

Where we capture our shenanigans as we work and play, traveling the US, living out of our camper!

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