THERE REALLY OUGHT TO BE a National Tag Sale Day the first weekend in April. I don’t know about you, but each year at this time my thoughts turn to getting rid of stuff, and foisting it off on your neighbors is one good way.
I used to love going to tag sales. Now I love having them — making up flyers and hanging them on lampposts, then having a horde of people walk away with my cast-offs, leaving me several hundred dollars richer.
When I moved 2-1/2 years ago from a Cobble Hill triplex to a Boerum Hill duplex, I had two legendary tag sales: The Great Pre-Halloween Mother-Daughter Tag Sale, and the Gigundo Cheapo Book and Tag Sale. At one of them, I sold a shearling coat I had bought for $1,000 for $40 (shame on me for buying it in the first place.)
I photographed some of the stuff for memory’s sake, and looking back, I’m entirely free of regret.
During one sale, a group of tourists who were part of an “Undiscovered New York” walking tour happened down my little mews alley and, despite the guide’s efforts to hurry them along, started picking through my stuff with glee.
Soon I’ll be downsizing again, but I really don’t have enough excess this time around to have a full-on tag sale. I’ve already made one trip to the Strand with books (which paid for lunch), and to Housing Works on Montague Street. Most clothes I just put out on the sidewalk, and I’m often humiliated to find them strewn about and rejected by passersby.
In lifetimes past, before eBay, my favorite weekend activity was driving hundreds of miles in search of flea markets and estate sales, nurturing collections of illustrated children’s books, Art Deco anything, folk-art bottlecap figures, American art pottery, hammered aluminum, and oh, so much more.
Now I try to keep only what is functional. And yet….and yet….there’s always more to get rid of.