Over and above all of those reasons, the main thing I love about yardsales is it's a way to look into the past. I've seen beautiful functional things from years ago, like furniture, china and tools, that were made in a time where the people who made them cared a lot about the manufacture and design. I'm not saying we don't have beautiful and well-crafted things in the stores today, but a quick trip around my neighborhood yardsales can reveal some wonderful things.
About two years ago I was at a moving sale and saw a tea set. I had been in the market for a tea set, something pretty that I could take out for special occasions with my husband (like, it's 9 pm and the kids are in bed). It looked to be a set for two, with pot, sugar and creamer bowl for $5, so I snapped it up! Here are some terrible photos:
This is a Seltmann Weiden tea set made in Germany, from about the 1950s. I love the set for the look; it has such elegant shapes (the curls at the handles, the little bulges and delicate toppers on the teapot and sugar/creamer bowl). The pears appear to be hand painted and are not too orange (they aren't brightly colored, the orangey-red is very soft and makes me think about the tree they could have been picked from).
There is a downside to yardsale-shopping, sometimes you don't get what you expect. For example, I checked before I bought the above tea set that all the parts were there. However, when I got home I realized that I was missing a cup - I think I had miscounted one of the bowls as a cup.* As a result, I have a tea set that is missing a tea cup. Yes, so this does explain why the set was $5. I still love the set, and I know that that's how things roll sometimes.
Do you buy used things?
Have you loved something so much it didn't matter that it was slightly broken?
*Side story - when I saw the cup was missing, first I tried to go back to the house where I had bought it. I thought maybe I had accidentally left the cup behind. I was too late, they had already moved, and there was a realtor's lock on the door. I left a note saying 'please, did I forget a cup' but I don't know if it ever got to the seller. I chose to believe that I miscounted originally, and that the cup was never there, rather than assuming that the seller is keeping the lone cup and saying 'ha ha' :).