I almost forgot the best, pretty much sure fire thing you can always find at yard sales. Books.
We do get new books from the Otto side of the family for Christmas and birthdays. But otherwise most of these are used. My mother picks up books at yard sales as well, and the collection keeps on growing. Personally, I don’t like to pay more than 50 cents for a hard back book and a quarter for paper. Even better are the occasional bag sales where you can fill a bag for a dollar. And then this is what happens. (If you don’t remember, the cube storage used to have cubes.)
We try to be selective in the books we pick up. But when they are so cheap, or often free, it’s hard to say no. There are a few things we absolutely won’t have in the house. Like Disney books, books with illustrations where the artist didn’t even try, mass produced template books like the Magic Treehouse, Baby-Sitters Club, or Boxcar children (excluding the original author), Berenstein Bear, comic books, and generally anything with a shiny cover and space ships. Not to mention, Marc holds a special grudge against Dr. Seuss, Richard Scary, and Eric Carle.
On the other hand, I have a special fondness for old books. It’s nice that Gideon can burn through books so fast. He is my referrer. If he likes it, then the less intrepid Jehu will try something that has no pictures on the cover and was written by someone dead. I’m hoping someday to give each child their own bookshelf that they can stock with their personal favorites that they can champion. That way books won’t get lost in the mix as the mix gets bigger. Leftover books would have their own shelf, waiting for the day when someone is desperate for something to read. Other books are confined to the reference section. Where sadly, they will never be read unless someone has to. Which is often enough the case, since I don’t let my children “Google” at large. I’m always telling them to go look it up. And by that I mean; go look on the shelf.
The problem is that we’re operating at max capacity right now. Already all of Marc’s and my books are either boxed up or stuffed in the laundry room. Not only that, but I’ve noticed that the kids’ books are starting to stack on top of things. In all these pictures you can see little inconspicuous book barnacles growing unchecked in the corners.
Other than a few books that I’ve needed for school, and the occasional Christmas K.Y. Craft book for the girls, the books on this shelf are the only ones I’ve really bought. I’ve been collecting the Puffin classic series for Gideon, and this summer I bought him my friend’s Henty collection. The top shelf houses my Canon Press books, which are holding their own on two linear feet of shelf space. The bottom shelf has a few die hard cookbooks and my J.C. Ryle books. Everything else belongs to Gideon. Overall, I don’t really feel like we have that many books. I’m sure lots of people have more. But the fact that we have a home library at all can be attributed to yard sales. Now the only problem seems to be where to put them.