As a mother, a wife, a teacher, there are many things I repeat.
"Clean your room. Pick up your towels. Do your homework. Please sit down."
Most of my repetitious phrases are pretty routine, pretty mundane - lackluster in general. Yet there is one phrase I love - love! - to repeat ... over and over again: "It's time for the 700 Family Yard Sale."
There, I said it. And I'll say it again. Now repeat after me: It's time for the 700 Family Yard Sale. In Durham. This Saturday, Sept. 7.
If you have a short memory (like my husband and daughters do when it comes to washing dishes), you might not remember my column from a year ago celebrating this most wonderful, brilliant day.
A refresher: This coming Saturday, the community of Durham becomes a fabulous land of bargains, fun and shopping. For me, it all begins at St. Thomas More Parish, where Father Andy blows the whistle for the shopping to begin precisely at 8:30 a.m. The rooms of St. Thomas More are orchestrated and designed for maximum efficiency - one room devoted to books, another to electronics, the yard out back to children's goods. The gym inside is, literally, filled to the rafters with clothes, bags, accessories and more. It's simply brilliant.
It's simply brilliant because the many hands, the many hours, the many devoted volunteers of St. Thomas More make this event one that celebrates not only bargains but community. University of New Hampshire fraternities contribute time, energy and strength to move and load furniture. Silvie, of the massive clothing room, organizes sweaters, skirts, pants and shirts with scientific precision. Volunteers from St. Thomas More and surrounding organizations label sporting goods, check to ensure electronics are working, determine if toys and dolls are worthy of resale.
One particular St. Thomas More family, the Kellihers of Barrington, has been contributing time and enthusiasm for years.
When I asked 13-year-old John why he helps out year after year, he replied, "I like helping with the money, and I love to see all the families that come. I love, too, that helping out means I can reserve things beforehand."
John's brother, James, has been helping for four years. When I asked his favorite find, he responded, "A really good stereo system for my iPod. Ten bucks, and I saw it months later at Walmart for five times as much."
Aelish Kelliher, 11, remarked that helping is really fun and said she loves seeing all the stuff "that other people don't think is cool. There are so many choices - lots of stuff, so many clothes."
The method behind the madness of orchestration allows many people to depart the 700 Family Yard Sale satisfied and with budgets intact.
When I mentioned to my friend Trish that the sale was coming up, she checked her schedule and shrieked in delight, knowing she could make the date again this year. Last year, she paraded her find of Bose 301 stereo speakers and a Yamaha receiver down the street en route to her car, smiling to passersby and remarking, "Yup, look what I found for $60!"
The combined value was a cool $600. Trish won.
And, indeed, we all win when we converge upon Durham on Saturday, Sept. 7. This is indeed worth repeating: It's time for 700 Family Yard Sale. This Saturday. You heard it here first AND second
Happy "sale-ing" from Budget Vogue.
Susan Dromey-Heeter's " Budget Vogue" column appears the first week of every month in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.