I don’t know about you guys, but I get serious anxiety whenever I’m bargain hunting. Not that this is any different than my normal state of existence, but it kicks into high gear whenever I’m within ten miles of a yard sale or a TJ Maxx.
Here are the problems:
1) I hate to feel like I’m missing out on something,
2) I always imagine someone else scoring an item that’s perfect for me,
3) I always feel like I’m arriving too late and missed all the good shit.
Despite these truths, I absolutely love clearance shopping. I have no qualms about digging through racks and bins to uncover amazing finds. In fact, the more buried the treasure, the more value I attribute to that particular item. One of my favorite treasure hunting spots is Ross Dress for Less. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel dirty the minute you walk in. It’s like the Walmart of off-price retailers in terms of clientele and cleanliness. But the bargains? Unbeatable. They have the same housewares as TJ Maxx and Marshalls but so, so much cheaper. Those places can be kind of expensive, even for discount store standards. For home goods, I go to Ross. For clothing, yes, Marshalls and TJ Maxx are better. (I swear, I’m not getting paid to say any of this, even if it’s starting to sound that way).
The Far Hills Rummage Sale (if you click on the link, understand that these pics do not do it justice) has been described to me as “a place where super rich people discard unwanted Vera Wang sheaths and Louboutin pumps that are so last season.” For those of you not familiar with the area, Far Hills is a New Jersey suburb of Manhattan where most residents are very well off. Common sense dictates that a yard sale in an expensive development tends to yield better finds than a yard sale in a trailer park. No kidding. So my mom and I finally hit up the Far Hills Rich Person Castoff Sale for the first time in October.The whole thing is overwhelming, but in a good way. There are tents set up by category and people line up outside, so you’re never really fighting for elbow room as you’re digging through the racks. They literally have everything. EVERYTHING. I read in one article that there were 25,000 plush toys, 2,500 vinyl records, 2,000 pairs of women’s shoes and 50,000 books. Not hard to believe – just when you think you’re done looking, there’s more to see. At the October event, I made a beeline for the Boutique tent (clearly) and scored a bunch of adorable dresses that could have come straight off a rack at Nordstrom. Many of them still had tags on them. No, I did not find Louboutins, but I did spy a few pairs of Coach sandals and plenty of other respectable brands (rumor has it that the Manolos are gone before you can blink). The best part? The system is streamlined so that you just pay one price for each type of item. So all shirts, regardless of condition or designer, are $5. All high-end designer dresses (think Cynthia Steffe, Alice + Olivia, French Connection, Laundry, etc.) are $25. Yes, you read that correctly. $25. With tags. Hallelujah.
Admittedly, this season’s haul was a bit less impressive than last fall’s. The sale goes on for three days, and the diehards all line up first thing Friday morning (which is when mama bear and I went in October). This year we skipped the Friday crowd and went on a Saturday, so the Boutique tent had fewer amah-zing frocks.
We did find a whole bunch of random things, including one thing I’ve been trying to talk myself into buying for ages now… an under-the-desk elliptical machine. These babies go for about $100 on Amazon, so I hadn’t pulled the trigger just yet. But at the Rummage Sale? $15. I could not be more excited. I’m the girl who swapped her desk chair for a giant fitness ball months ago, but it’s not as effective as I’d hoped. This elliptical thing is perfect. Bring on the buns of steel.
Oh, and since I’ve made it through five paragraphs without mentioning baby drama, I’ll mention now that I did suck it up and peruse the maternity section (because, you know, I’m insane). It was oddly disappointing. I’m talking one small rack of totally random, ugly clothes with a preggo chick huffing and puffing her way through it, lamenting that she had “Four more weeks to go. Just four more weeks to go.” You’d think maternity wear, the single biggest category of castoffs, would be a gold mine. But alas, no. At least I didn’t have to obsess over it.