Setting Thesaurus Entry: Garage Sale


long, rickety tables covered with kids' toys, stuffed animals, board games, sports equipment, books, coffee mugs, plates, corelle, cookie sheets, baskets, cutlery, vases, bowls, old christmas decorations, knick-knacks, collectibles (spoons, pins, figurines of angels, elephants, dogs, cats, wolves, birds, plates, coca-cola brand items, Elvis, owls, sea shells, etc), dusty silk arrangements, crumbly dried arrangements, cook books, old magazines, potty training seats, boxes of sewing patterns, craft supplies, mirrors, mismatched furniture, scuffed boots and shoes, old clothing hanging up on a portable closet, computer equipment and software, out of date electronics (old phones, answering machines, film cameras, radios, dvd players, non flat screen TVs, printers, massive stereo speakers), old, battered Tupperware, picture frames, hamster cages, fish bowls/aquariums, sheet sets, towels, curtains, pillows, throws, cheesy gag gifts (things that say 'Old Fart', Potty putter sets, singing fish, drinking games, joke books), kids clothing, bins of old hats, purses, gloves, mitts, old cassettes, VCR tapes, DVDs, CDs, tools, tire sets, appliances (blenders, tarnished toasters, big microwaves, bread makers, food processors, coffee machines, deep fryers, food dehydrators, juicers, crock pots), salt and pepper shakers, fishing supplies, travel memorabilia and souvenirs (sombrero hats, colorful art work, clay fish mobiles, maracas,) beer and wine making supplies, large ticket items (washers, dryers, stoves, fridges, freezers, piano, vehicles, boats, vanities, antiques, trailers,) sports equipment (row machine, treadmills, stationary bikes), strange things (hot tub pumps, specialty surveying equipment, roofing tile, rolls of lino or carpet, wedding goblets or wedding specific gifts, compostors, construction materials, etc), a 'free' box, kids manning drink or chip stands, colorful price stickers, signs, balloons taped at the end of the driveway, cash box or owner wearing a fanny pack filled with change


talking, haggling, whispering, muttering, doors opening and closing, boxes opening, switches toggling on and off, pages turning in a magazine, radios, laughing, cars driving by, pulling up, stopping, puzzle boxes shaking, the crinkle of bags, the thump of setting down an appliance, kids rooting through the free box, the clink of glasses, metallic shift of cutlery or small tools, people calling out in greeting, people asking questions, small talk & banter, pushy hawking, aggressive bartering, the clink of coins, papery rustle of bills, clinks, clatters, shuffling feet on the garage floor, the sounds of people testing out music boxes, boom boxes, RC cars, musical toys, the air hum of a plugged in microwave, the bang and clash of sorting through pots and pans, the rustling flaps of a cardboard box as it's opened


dust, oil, grease, musty clothing/towels/bedding, candle wax, potpourri sets, decorative soaps, scented candle sets, coffee, perfume, aftershave, leather, wood, varnish, drywall


Kool aid/chips/treats/hot dogs sold by the owner's kids, coffee, bottled water, a metallic tang in the air, dust


Dusty knick knacks, the weight of a cold, chipped coffee mug in the hand, running fingertips over a soft bedroom comforter or item of clothing, the prickle of Christmas garland against the palm, warm coffee in the mouth and throat, bumping and brushing against other people in the narrow table isles, the papery feel of money, grease on the fingers from handling of tools, sorting through boxes of mixed junk, bending down to sort through a box, pulling out a paperback from a box and rifling the pages, pressing buttons, lifting, opening boxes, digging a wallet out of a back pocket, juggling multiple items as you go to pay, fingering a price tag, turning a book over to read the back coffee, paging through a cookbook, Trying on a pair of shoes or shrugging into a jacket, unzipping a purse or duffel bag, carefully handling figurines and collectibles, the pull of plastic bag handles as you leave with a bag of treasures, hunched shoulders or bending over tables, shuffling along the tables, closing hand over a pocketful of change to count out the correct amount needed, setting down items on the cash out table, holding two similar items in each hand to compare & choose, tugging on the sleeve of a friend to draw their attention to something

Helpful hints:

--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

Marion immediately honed in on a large clump of knotted, broken jewelry sitting out on the five dollar table. She knew a bargain when she saw one, and this hodgepodge of chains and tarnished silver would almost surely yield a treasure or two for someone patient enough to unravel the twists and tangles. She handed over the money to bored woman manning the cash box and hurried to her car. Last year she's found a similar find at a yard same and ended up with a dainty pair of pearl studs and a ten karat gold wedding band.

Example 2:

I lift the lid of the washing machine and twist the agitator to make sure it actually turns. Next to me, the owner explains it's barely two years old and that she's only selling it because her sister moved a week ago and gave her a front loading one. Other than a big scratch in the paint on one side, the unit appears in great shape. I frown and let out a heavy sigh, like I'm really weighing the fifty dollar price tag. Finally I give a slow nod. "Take forty for it?" I ask.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

On the last table, a colorful collection of stained coffee mugs huddle around a broken coffee machine like mourners at a funeral.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

As I step into the dim garage, I shake my head in disbelief. Bald tires, threadbare towels, a refrigerator held together with duct this a garage sale, or did I take a wrong turn somewhere and end up at the town dump?

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Angela said...

Note on sights of a garage sale--really, this list is the tip of the iceberg. Items at a garage sale are only limited by the imagination!

TerryLynnJohnson said...

great work Angela. Hope you sold your stuff! FYI - I gave you a shout out on my blog.

Danyelle said...

Awesome list!


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