Category Archives: SC

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!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Relaxation

Relaxation… Maybe just slacking! I haven’t blogged in months! Sorry folks! But I’m here to give you the scoop!

This summer’s biggest project was doing some work on the camper. Specifically replacing the floor of our bedroom slide that had water damage and installing “wood” floors (vinyl “planks”) throughout the camper and getting rid of the carpet! I started a post on this a while back but wanted before and after pictures. But the post sat and sat… and I still don’t have the pictures all together so I’ll just tell you that we made the upgrades and post specifically about it later.

Mike’s three kids couldn’t coordinate schedules for us to take all to the beach at the same time – an annual event. So darn it all – Mike and I had to “endure” the beach on two separate occasions! We took the youngest two to Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina. This island is a treasure! South of Charleston, it’s a quiet haven covered in live oaks and drapey spanish moss. Small town feel, nothing at all like the popular Myrtle Beach. I was worried the kids would get bored because they are used to going to Myrtle Beach with lots of other kids around and lots to do and see. But I think we kept them occupied.

The state park has two campgrounds, one on the beach and one set in a live oak forest, about a mile up the road. (And when I say “the road” I mean the road, the only one leading in and out of town.) If you’re camped at the live oak campground you get free admission into the SP beach area. At first everyone was groaning because they are used to renting a golf cart at Ocean Lakes in Myrtle Beach and jetting to and from the beach on it with all their gear. But they quickly realized that our 8 foot truck bed holds a heck of a lot more stuff than just trying to hold on to a few things on a golf cart! They got over their disappointment of not having the cart.

When I booked the spot about 6 months before our trip there were no available spots big enough for us in the beach campground. (Of course if you’re in the that campground you just walk out to the beach.) Which is how we ended up in the Live Oaks. However we agree the Live Oaks campground is much prettier than the beach. Plus there is access to all kinds of trails in Live Oaks. We ran on the trails a few times and also crabbed off some of the low bridges that connects the trail through the marshland!

Crabbing lesson: go to the grocery store. Ask for crabbing lines and a net and don’t forget to pick up some chicken or turkey necks. Other “throw away” parts are acceptable too. (like chicken backs we used this time.) Find yourself a little bridge or dock in a saltwater marsh at high tide. Attach a poultry piece to the end of the line (a cotton line with a triangular hook on the end and a weight) and throw it over the side.

And wait.

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Some people prefer to crab with traps. But if you’re with kids or someone who has never crabbed before using the lines are more fun. A trap you throw in, leave and come back for it later. But the lines are more like fishing. Once you feel a tug you have to pull up your line very slowly or else the crab will notice and let go. Right before you pull it out of the water you scoop it up with your net and drop him in the bucket you brought along.

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Then it’s off to make Low Country Boil! Potatoes, corn, sausage, shrimp, tons of seasonings and, of course, your crabs!!! And if you’re as lucky as we were you get Justin, my chef-y little brother, to make it for you!!

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The crabs are small and you have to do a lot of work for a little bit of meat. But it’s the experience, right??

Our next beach adventure was about two weeks later with Mike’s oldest daughter. We took her to the eastern shore of Virginia, specifically, Kiptopeke State Park. This is another gorgeous park! Lots of trails, boat dock and private beach! They even have concrete ships out in the bay for a reef! It’s just over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel from Virginia Beach. We did drive over on two occasions. But be warned – the toll for the bridge is expensive!!!

But this was a great excuse to get the jetskis out and use them for the first time since we picked them up earlier in the summer.

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After the beach we headed to Long Island! But that’s another story.. stay tuned!

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Growing Pains

Sometimes even I’m speechless…

We set off on time, October 22nd, headed to Clemson University via a stop over outside of Richmond. This was the real test. Although we had taken the camper out many times before, this is when the rubber hit the road, pun intended. Where we get to see how the camper really lives and not just weekends.

Our first stop was a friend’s house hours away in Virginia. Our first obvious mistake was not realizing we don’t make “Garmin GPS time”. Our 8 hour trip took ELEVEN! We were exhausted.

Did I mention navigation has turned into a nightmare? We purchased a new Garmin Nuvi 2555 lmt so we don’t have to rely on our phones and use our Wifi hotspot as much (or our data plan). Plus it’s much more useful in places when we don’t get a cell signal. However it arrived the day before we pulled out and I hadn’t had time to learn anything about it.

But the stop at my college girlfriend’s house, Margarita Girl and her hubby, was a great respite. It’s was a well-needed stop for us all – Indy gets to stretch his legs in the backyard with Lulu the bulldog and Sweetie the lab-who-was-rescued-from-living-a-life-on-a-chain. Sweetie was very excited to chase Indy around Lulu could barely keep up. Indy just wanted to check out the yard.

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But in true Margarita Girl fashion, even a late, simple Mexican dinner somehow turns into a fiesta! We arrived to the restaurant to a Mariachi band!!! And when I figure out how to insert the video I took of that Mariachi band I may just even share it with you! But close your eyes and envision a Mariachi band playing and dancing the Macarena behind my friend (who is pregnant with twins!!) in the picture below. And we got a table-side rendition of Margaritaville too!

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The next morning we set out to Mike’s brother’s house in West BY GOD Virginia. We needed to drop off items for him to store for us. Unfortunately I chose the wrong the route on the new Garmin because I CAN’T FIGURE OUT HOW TO USE THE STINKIN’ THING YET!  What was supposed to be a 4 hour drive took us over 8…. through hairpin turns, up and down mountains on two lane roads.

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We had to stop in a small Virginia town to let the truck and camper brakes cool down for a bit. It seemed like a great opportunity to buy that grease gun and get to greasin’ those brakes! Except we went through three guns (in the auto parts parking lot) before we could find a gun that worked properly. Note – just break down buy the full-sized version, not the mini. Because apparently no one gave any extra engineering time to design the mini. So it has design flaws and just doesn’t work.

Oh, and when you stop later in the trip to check that your brakes are ok, DO NOT use your fingers to test how hot the brake discs are… (that was Mike’s mistake, not mine. For the record.)

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But like all the RVing adverts show, you can slow down a little and enjoy life, even if you’re trying to hurry up and get somewhere. We decided to lunch at Penny’s diner, a little chromed-out retro joint on the side of the interstate that serves your grandma’s iceberg lettuce salads and “pickle fries”.

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We made our drop off in WV and drove as far towards SC as we could make it that evening, pulling into a Wal-Mart parking lot to sleep. This is where we realized the fridge wasn’t working quite right. And the batteries weren’t holding a charge. (both of the “new” ones.) So we got ready for bed using flashlights. Let’s say it was a challenge and leave it at that.

Trying to navigate seems impossible. I have a Garmin, an iPhone, an iPad, and an android phone all mapping AT THE SAME TIME and still can’t always get us where we want to go. (Yes, I have paper maps but we’re trying to learn the ins and out , i.e. weaknesses and strengths, of our technology.) All with a cat on my lap who has decided he LOVES the road life and refuses to get out of the front seat.

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Have I mentioned this whole time our 80+ pound dog refuses to sleep on his dog bed and demands to sleep in the camper bed with us?? On top of all these issues we aren’t getting much sleep due to a third “person” trying to snuggle in bed with us. It would be accurate to say we have short fuses at this point.

But we DO make it to Clemson! And we DO get to see my dad and his girlfriend! And we DO get to see Clemson beat Syracuse! (although that was the ugliest game I’s seen in a long time…)

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So dry camping is an issue at the moment. We had to constantly run the truck to keep any charge in the batteries because it appears our solar panel isn’t working either. So here is the recap of issues we have/ need to get resolved over the past 5 days:

– fridge not consistently working
– batteries not holding a charge
– need to figure out navigation technology
– find a better bike rack solution (and make sure the current rack doesn’t loosen and come off!)
– get the dog off the bed at night! (found a temp solution to that last night!! yippee!)

The biggest lesson? SLOW DOWN! Unfortunately these next few weeks we MUST be certain places at certain times and the urgency in our schedule is adding extra stress to our schedule.

I won’t lie. This trip hasn’t exactly gotten off on the right foot. But before leaving Clemson we stopped at the SC Botanical Gardens (located on Clemson’s campus) and I got a much needed recharge. If you’re in the area I highly recommend it!

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We are currently in Asheville, NC for a few days. As always, it’s beautiful! So long as we don’t kill each other today we’ll will have made it past our first milestone – 6 days without calling it quits on the trip (or each other)! haha! Yes, we may have had some friends betting on that. And the way the trip has started so far those people might not have been too far off. But we’re hanging in there!

Hopefully we’ll get some normalcy soon with more consistent electricity and WiFi and a more normal schedule. I plan on making more consistent blog posts too and not overwhelm you with these doozies!