Not Your Typical Tag Sale

While some sing the praises of purchasing used stuff until the cows come home (or the horses, cheao cheap in the case of the tag sale I attended on Saturday), I am not a tag sale extraordinaire like many of my eco-cohorts. If pressed, I would probably choose a deeply-discounted sale, or a decent consignment shop like Designer Resale in NYC, or The Closet in Boston, over rummaging through tossed out duds on a lawn. But every now and then a tag sale whizzes across my radar, and a lonely abandoned chair winks at me, or some junk jewels shimmer in my direction.

A letter piqued my interest in Rural Intelligence, a fabulous online local resource for Berkshire, Columbia, Northern Dutchess (where I live), and Northern Litchfield Counties:

Dear Friends,

Having just had a “milestone birthday” and embracing some of the ideas from the book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I decided to do more than clear a shelf or a closet. In my usual obsessive way, I tackled barns and attics, my studio, and the basement. Whilst I am not quite going Zen in style (far from it), I am attempting to “declutter.”

This will not be the organized, “pretty” tag sale like the one I wrote about in Veranda Magazine a few years ago, but just your classic old fashioned yard sale, with a mix of things from garden hoses to some of my beloved ribbons and silk flowers. It has been hard for me to give up some of those, but this is an exercise in editing. There is a bit of everything.

If you are around the northwest corner of Connecticut, please stop by.

Carolyne Roehm

What style-guru Carolyne Roehm did not mention in her note, was that a portion of the proceeds of the sale would be donated to Women’s Support Services. I recognized this as an absolutely prowl worthy eco-mission.

Zen style or not…Sign me up!

Now to be honest, I’m only vaguely acquainted with the rules of tag sales. For instance, I read this letter on Thursday, and Saturday around 11 AM I called my friend Juliet to see if she wanted to join me. I knew it would be right up her alley because Juliet is an equine photographer and Carolyne’s address was located in prime horse country.

We meandered through Dutchess County and into Litchefield, Ct. via a healthy lunch on the porch of the Red Devon Restaurant, which is named the best green restaurant in the Hudson Valley.

Any tag sale shopper worth her weight in recycled items knows that when a sale is slated for 9-4, you show up in an empty SUV by 8am. We landed at Carolyne’s around 2pm in my little Jetta Diesel.

We wound our way up the spectacularly stately, and stunning property. (Would you expect anything less?) Juliet jumps out of the car and starts taking pics of horses while mumbling under her breath, “These horses have such a wonderful life.” Bless her equine heart, but my eyes are peeled on the people walking back to their cars with bag loads of goodies. I am now chomping at the bit – worried that we are missing the whole shebang.

I left Juliet clicking away and headed up the path to the “sale” barns where I was greeted by a “team” of helpers. One of those helpers turned out to be my friend and neighbor, Mimi. To make an already long story short, Mimi introduces us to the energetic, and ever so stylish Carolyne, and her lovely mother. A charming and serendipitous meeting.

After filling up my little trunk with fabric scraps, a serving tray, signature wrapping paper (not so eco, but the price was right), and a bunch of other knickknacks, some of which Carolyne gave us, we headed home basking in the glow of the thrill of the hunt.

Not your typical tag sale, huh?

Credits: Rural Intelligence, Juliet Harrison Photography, Ted Fink