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This past weekend was the fall citywide garage sales in Forest City and with so many sales happening all at once, I must say, garage sales are some of my favorite places to go – and not just because of the sweet deals like a $15 bookshelf.

One could say garage sales are like mini windows into the person’s home and what’s been happening recently.

See a lot of baby clothes? Baby must have grown up, at least into kids clothes. See a lot of furniture? Probably moving or downsizing – that, or clearing out their garage to finally be able to put their car in it.

They also present the style of each seller. One might find a bunch of antlers, some elegant metal paper towel holders or a giant collection of old 80s CDs.

I remember in the spring garage sales I made sure to hit as many as I could that sold what I thought I would be interested in, which at the time was bookcases. I had books coming out of my ears and no bookcases to put them.

I found this one garage sale where the seller was trying to drastically downsize because he was moving to Texas, where as I could recall he said he had lived before living in Forest City. He had a couple small bookcases, lawn mowers and other machines – he was practically selling everything. He also had a massive CD collection with easily more than 100 CDs, and almost none of the actual CDs were in their respective cases. He had the cases and the CDs, but all the CDs had been in a 100-disc CD player or something like that, which he had sold earlier. So he had all these CDs in a stack next to all their respective cases, waiting to be sorted and put away.

For me, though looking through all the other garage sales was fun, this was the best experience for me. I helped him put the discs back in their respective cases, as I love the menial tasks like organizing and not having all the CDs in the cases but still being sold was bothering me, and we talked about a lot and had fun doing it. I probably spent about an hour and a half at that one garage sale, just putting CDs back into their cases so people can actually browse the collection and have the CD in the case rather than find a fun album and then have to find the actual CD in one of the several stacks of CDs.

Since he was moving and getting rid of pretty much his whole house, whatever was sold up front in the garage was quickly replaced with something else. With that much stuff to always be moving, it’s no wonder he didn’t take the time earlier to sort the discs.

In an odd way, I think that’s why I love garage sales the most. Not just because I’m getting an excellent deal with my two $6 bookcases, but because in a weird way everyone is helping each other out. Someone has all this stuff in their house they need to get rid of, and someone else finds it and decides they need it themselves, knowing they won’t be charged regular prices like they would be at the local Wal-Mart.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

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