Cappers Farmer Blogs > Our Fair Field

Rummage Sale Bargains

Renee-Lucie BenoitWe all love a good rummage sale, right? There's nothing like other people's discards to get us excited and chomping at the bit? Remember "open, open, open"? The thrill of finding a treasure at next to nothing, well, there's hardly anything that compares to it. If you're like me, the answer to all these questions is a resounding yes! But is everything we find at a rummage sale worth even the small price ticket? Well, the short answer is "it depends."

I believe you have to go to a rummage sale with an open mind, a lot of discipline and maybe a short list in the back of your mind to help keep that discipline. If you don't engage your discerning eye, you will simply be carting home things for your next rummage sale. And that's no fun, right?

We recently went to the Orland Women's Improvement Club Annual Rummage Sale. It was held at the Glenn County Fairgrounds and had more inventory than most home-based rummage sales. My favorite rummage sale is in Chester, California, that is held in late summer. It's the biggest of all country rummage sales I've ever seen, and they have the best quality used goods I've ever seen. A few years ago I found a full-size handmade pine bed for $90, and a chenille spread to cover it for $5. I passed up a bunch of other really nice stuff because I was on a budget.

Speaking of budget a rummage sale is the best place to go for bargains if you're discerning and knowledgeable. For example it's a great place of tools. Here's the bargain of our day at the Orland sale: two buckets of nails for $10. They were $6 each but we said to the guy we'll give you $10 for both and a bargain was struck. We're set for nails for a long time.

nails

Tools are good but you have to look at the fine print. It's not a bargain if it breaks right away, no matter how much you paid for it. We passed up these tools because they were made somewhere other than reputable suppliers. But if less than top quality tools suit the job you're doing, rummage sales are the best place to get them.

screwset

Can you guess what this is? Neither could we, but we think it's a wrench for getting into difficult spaces.

weirdwrench

There's always a lot of household goods at rummage sales. If I needed a new set of canisters, I would have snapped these up in a second.

canisters

I missed out on this beauty because we got there an hour after the sale opened. I tried it. It wasn't rickety. Some lucky person is all happy today. I would be.

wicker

All in all, rummage sales can be really great, just a waste of time and everything in between. You can do what I do. You know what I mean. It's called the "drive-by." This is where you drive by super slow, annoying everyone behind you and scan with your good eyeballs to see if anything leaps out at you from the comfort of the driver's seat. If nothing leaps out you drive on.

Look for annual rummage sales put on by the local improvement clubs or the like. They're always bigger than home sales. Then go with cash in your pocket, the steel of your Gramma Hannah for bargaining, and the discipline of an athlete. You'll do all right.

johndeerefan52
6/21/2015 8:49:50 PM

You were correct on that wrench. It's called a 'distributor wrench' and was made in that very specific shape, to get to a hidden bolt. Years ago, cars and trucks had a distributor in the ignition system. When you needed to adjust the 'timing' of the ignition, you began by loosening the bolt, that held down a clamp, which held the distributor in place. The only way to access the bolt was to use this wrench to get behind the distributor itself. Different years/makes/models required different sized and shaped wrenches.