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Garage sales shall provide, part whatever

My living room doesn’t normally look like this …

Moving sale haul

But I just returned from a moving sale with all this loot: swivel recliner and hassock, seven-foot fiberglass step-ladder with paint shelf, wooden folding table, tin snips, two caulk guns, two rolls of self-adhesive drywall tape (unopened), gas can, large full bottle of Rain-X, super-duper adjustable drywall square, baby gate, two rugs, door mat, four-foot bubble level, never-used handmade afghan, doggie bistro, flexi-leash with scoop bag attachment, 100 feet of nylon rope (unopened), heavy-duty extension cord, hacksaw, etc. etc. etc.

Oh yeah, and one beach chair with two attachable umbrellas. Looks ridiculous, I know, but those’ll come in handy for sitting outside on those days when the weather can’t decide what to do.

That doesn’t include the oak-base cafe table I haven’t yet brought inside and the giant dog kennel (big enough for a great Dane or great Pyrenees) that the folks having the sale are going to give me next week, along with any other dog stuff they turn up as they pack.

And one good old metal 50s-vintage Electrolux canister vacuum cleaner (in then-fashionable aqua) that I almost forgot because it’s buried under all that other stuff in the photo. Works like a champ, too.

Total cost $43.

The sad part is that the sellers (nice people who used to own a business in town) are getting rid of all this stuff because they’ve lost their home and have to move into subsidized housing in civilization because of medical problems.

The good part is that my champion garage-saling friend and I got an exclusive ramble through their house and shop ahead of their regular sale — and they’re holding a 22-foot aluminum extension ladder for me until I make up my mind whether I want it or not. If it were fiberglass, I’d snatch it in a second. Aluminum? Dunno.

So what do you think? Should I go back and buy that extension ladder for $20?


  1. Sam
    Sam April 13, 2011 7:25 pm

    Check the fiberglass ladder(s) very carefully for cracks! I did not do that one time and thus proved to one and all, I cannot fly.

  2. Claire
    Claire April 13, 2011 7:28 pm

    Uh oh, Sam! Will definitely check as soon as I work my way through that large Pile-o-Stuff. Seems to be in pretty good shape from what I can see, though.

    I take it you were — ouch! — on the ladder at the time you discovered the crack?

  3. Oliver
    Oliver April 13, 2011 8:05 pm

    A 22-foot ladder for $20 is a steal if it’s in good shape. Just make sure to stay away for power lines when you use it.

    If you’ve not already done so, you might check to make sure the fly (the part that goes up and down) moves smoothly, none of the rungs are dented, the rung locks (also called dogs or pawls. no idea why.) engage and disengage easily when the fly goes up and down, the footpads swivel easily back and forth, and that the rubber on them is not excessively worn.

    If you buy it, get yourself a stabilizer/standoff.

    And be careful when your twenty-feet up!

  4. Claire
    Claire April 13, 2011 8:21 pm

    Thanks, Oliver! You sound like an old-time ladder man. I’ll make all those checks. Not sure what a stabilizer/standoff is, but the ladder comes with … um, well, they look like little yellow booties that extend its base and give it better ground-gripping capabilities. Anything that stabilizes a ladder is a good thing by me!

  5. Bob
    Bob April 13, 2011 8:53 pm

    can you really get hurt for $20? as long as its in good shape i’d buy it if i could spare the money. even if it sits in the garage for a while it’s their when you need it. you never need a big ladder until you want to safely crawl onto the roof or change a light on the side of the house, then you’ll be glad you have it. your friends might get more use out of it then you do. occasionally though you’ll be really glad you have it.

  6. naturegirl
    naturegirl April 13, 2011 9:33 pm

    Oh, my……this reminds me of when you were getting this house and (all) our discussions about how fast stuff accumulates when you have a bigger house….but you can’t pass up deal like these, either…..

    Assuming it’s in good shape, one can never have to many ladders…..especially with a 2 story house…..

    P.S. I like the wall color, and I love! the feathery thing on the wall…..

  7. Pat
    Pat April 14, 2011 3:00 am

    What a haul!! The Electrolux – bubble level – tin snips – a 7-ft ladder – hacksaw – and all that rope! These alone make me drool. But yeah, that ladder-to-be β€” you can use it, if nothing else, to make a getaway from the upstairs room in an emergency. And those stabilizers are well worth the price; I’ve seen them in use.

    Another placement view:

    But sounds like some people are having some hard times in your town.

  8. Oliver
    Oliver April 14, 2011 3:11 am

    A stabilizer/standoff is usually “C” shaped and attaches to the top of the fly to keep the top of the ladder a foot or so away from the house and to help prevent the top slipping or the whole ladder tipping when you’re on it. Google “ladder standoff” for pix. There are different kinds for different jobs.

  9. John Venlet
    John Venlet April 14, 2011 4:48 am


    That 20 ft aluminum ladder will be far lighter, weight wise, than a fiberglass one, and is definitely a factor to be considered.

    The ladder safety tips you’ve received apply to all ladders.

  10. Claire
    Claire April 14, 2011 7:43 am

    Thanks for the continuing ladder advice, guys. You’re feeding my temptation. The thought that the ladder could also be a quick second-story escape tool is one I hadn’t thought of. But if the stabilizer costs three times what the ladder does … hm. Still dunno.

    naturegirl — OMG. You’re right. I kinda thought of that while looking at that Heap. But when it comes right down to it, I’m in denial. The lawn chair with attachable umbrellas … there’s really no way I can justify that, except as pure stuff-collecting. And thank you for the compliment on the room. The walls were bright, screaming yellow when I bought the place and they hadn’t been cleaned in at least 12 years. Much better now. And the feathery thing is a woven conical sconce that somebody gave me, filled with peacock feathers from a local farm. I like ’em, too. πŸ™‚

  11. Matt
    Matt April 14, 2011 8:00 am

    At worse, you can sell the $20 dollar ladder for $25 at some point if you don’t want it. Tall ladders can be used for short tasks, but short ladders are worthless/dangerous for tall tasks.

  12. Sam
    Sam April 14, 2011 8:35 am

    “I take it you were β€” ouch! β€” on the ladder at the time you discovered the crack?”

    Yup. It looked just fine at a quick glance when I bought it used. I was in a hurry and just climbed right up it to get on the roof. CRACK! Scarred me silly, falling some 15 feet or so. I was not hurt at all, not even a bruise. Thus my bride wanted to know what all the cussing was about. “Just practicing Dear, just practicing.” ;o)

  13. EwB
    EwB April 14, 2011 9:21 am

    My wife is the yard sale queen ( at least that’s what I think ) when it comes to finding deals for our flock. She is very good at threading through the neighborhoods, church bazaars, and the like. We also find good deals at thrift-shops and the places like the Good Will. More details on getting by cheap and why we do what we do:

  14. Scott
    Scott April 14, 2011 12:08 pm

    Check ladders carefully-especially fiberglass. I had a cheap aluminum ladder fold up two jobs ago(at nearly full extension)-I didn’t get hurt,but I did provide amusement for a few dorm residents. Little cracks can become big ones in a hurry. Looks like you got your $43 worth. A word on Rain-X..It’s O.K. in warm weather,but beware this sh*^ in the cold,and don’t use it on the inside of the windshield(like the instructions say) Why? It frosts up almost instantly in cold weather,and is difficult to get off(alcohol works). I will never use that stuff again..

  15. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty April 14, 2011 12:38 pm

    I left a 20 ft. aluminum ladder behind in Calif…. wouldn’t fit on the truck, and I’ve always wished I could bring it. …for the friends, of course. I get a nosebleed standing on my two foot kitchen ladder. πŸ™‚

    Sounds like one heck of a good deal all around, for you. The sellers seem to have lost their shirt. Sad.

  16. zohngalt
    zohngalt April 14, 2011 2:39 pm

    A really good selection of usable items. Not a bargain if you can’t or don’t use it, but these all look to be great finds.

    As for the ladder, also consider that you can separate the 2 sections of extension ladder and use (the half with the yellow feet) as a much lighter 10 foot ladder.

  17. naturegirl
    naturegirl April 14, 2011 6:39 pm

    You’re welcome, it does look really classy in there now :)…..I did not know there were peacocks in the no’west, isn’t it to cold for them? Somehow I thought they were tropical critters -!- but I admit I don’t know much about them other than their feathers are gorgeous…….

  18. Claire
    Claire April 14, 2011 6:53 pm

    naturegirl — Hm. Never gave a thought to where peacocks might like to live (though they do indeed look tropical with all that glorious plumage). When I learned that somebody here had them I thought it was odd not because of climate but because … well, mostly this just isn’t a peacock sort of place. More like a mudhen sort of place. The woman who raises them is a bit of an exotic bird herself.

  19. Marlana
    Marlana April 16, 2011 4:37 pm

    Early invites to yard sales and the such are awesome! Our local humane society hosts two huge rummage sales every year and I mentioned to one of their workers that they should charge a cover charge and let people come in the night before. I always come out of there with awesome stuff. Last one they had I came out with a brand new lodge pizza pan for $3. I also bought my $2 food processor there a few years ago. It didn’t come with any fancy attachments but it processes like nobodies business.

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