The signs of spring are everywhere the birds are singing and the flowers have started popping u all over the place. That other sign of spring is also showing its self, the multicolored rummage sale sign. That is the one I look for each spring and I am not alone I see a lot of the same people each year where ever those signs sprout out of the ground or are nailed to a tree.  We are kindred souls in search of bargains and this is our time of the year. Watch out for us as you drive along the city streets because our focus may be on a yard full of treasures someone has decided they no longer need.  This Mid-Missouri Memory is dedicated to all those people out there who  have waited through the gloomy days of winter. Like me they have been dreaming of those signs of spring that whether they are made of cardboard, scrawled with crayon or factory made we appreciate their beauty, and their message of spring.


Rummage Sale Time


The first sign of spring to a lot of people isn't the Robin hopping in their front yard. To a lot of us it is that sign nailed to a telephone pole or stuck in the ground, inviting us to stop in and look around for awhile. It is for many of us the rummage sale, yard sale or garage sale sign.  Those multi-colored signs, manufactured, or home made signal a season all its own that lasts from the mild days of spring, until sometime past the first snow fall. Some hardy souls, like yours truly search for signs all year long.

Most people love a bargain, and that is what makes going to rummage sales such a popular activity.  The frugal shopper hidden inside most of us, makes that barely used item at a fraction of the store price, irresistible. I can't think of anything I'd rather do with my week end than go to rummage sales. The old saying "One mans trash is another mans treasure" is the motto of the true rummage sale devotee’s, who gather at yard sales to search for the holy grail, which can be something as simple as a doll, or as complicated as a computer.

I'm not sure when people started setting things out for strangers to rummage through. I only became aware of the practice after I was married, and had children, who went through clothes faster than I could cash a paycheck. The rummage sale is to a small family, what hand-me-downs are to large ones. The difference is if your real good at washing and ironing, as my wife is the kids in the small family aren't aware their new shirt, or blouse, has been worn by someone else.

The yard sale, is a practical way of disposing of something a person no longer feels the need to keep.  It is also a good way to clean out an attic or garage, while making a little money at the same time.

You may not find a work of art, or a treasure chest at a rummage sale, but with persistence, you can find something to make the looking worth while. I can be happy for instance if I find a jar of screws for a dime or a saw blade for a quarter. My wife on the other hand can't pass up Christmas bowls, or baby socks.

The best rummage sales, I believe are the whole town or neighborhood sales, because you can park the car, and stroll from yard to yard shopping, and exercising at the same time. Something even more appealing with the high dollar gas we have now. I can't pass up a good rummage sale that is spread all over the yard when traveling either, even if I have to wait miles for a turn around. You have to be careful, not to slam on your brakes on a busy highway however.  I always keep an eye on the rear view mirror as well as the oncoming traffic, while someone else looks for the signs.

The rummage sale is a social event too. I am always running into old school chums, and people I have worked with through the years. Everyone it seems loves a bargain, even those people who can afford to shop in the best stores in town. I have seen them all bent over a table in someone’s yard searching for something they would only know they needed when it appeared.

Rummaging is a family affair for my wife and I, we like to have her sister and her husband come along with us. It gives us a chance to catch up on family gossip between sales, and makes the experience more enjoyable, and it also puts two more sets of eyes in the vehicle to look for those signs.

Grandparents like the four of us, who got rid of everything when the kids left home, find rummage sales to be the ideal place to buy toys, and baby clothes; so grandma and grandpa's house will have all the necessities needed, when grandchildren come for a visit. Buying barely used items on rummage sales, makes restocking those things more affordable too.  A word of caution here. The competition for baby items can be intense, when a bunch of grandparents hit a sale with great bargins at the same time. My brother-in-law and I usually stand way back, and send in the grandmas.

I have never found that hidden treasure worth a lot of money at a rummage sale, as some people have, but I have gotten a lot of pleasure out of looking for one. So if you see me driving in front of you, on a street with rummage sale signs on it, remember---, I will be stopping.