By Donald Wittkowski
Leslie and Peter Staffeld had a handwritten list that meticulously spelled out all of the items they were hunting for, what they had bought and how much they had paid.
No doubt about it, the married couple from Center Valley, Pa., were taking Sea Isle City’s community yard sale on Saturday very seriously.
Well, maybe not that serious.
“I’m just looking to make my wife happy,” Peter Staffeld said with a laugh when asked whether he was searching for anything in particular.
The Staffelds, who have a vacation home in Sea Isle, were among legions of bargain hunters who hovered over tables laden with everything from valuable family heirlooms to just plain junk in hopes of finding something special at a great price.
Leslie Staffeld gave a peek at her yard sale list. She noted that she had bought some curtains for $1, a book for $1, a jewelry box for $1 and a rug for $2.
“The most expensive thing we’ve bought so far was $3,” she said, pointing to a cement flower pot on her list.
Sponsored by the Sea Isle City Chamber of Commerce and Revitalization, the yard sale allows residents to clean out some of the old items and clutter in their garages, closets and attics while making a little dough.
“We’ve sold more than $400 worth of stuff,” said Tina Cummiskey, a homeowner on 44th Street who was joined by her husband, Gary Kester, and her daughter, Kaitie.
Among other items, they had sold a surfboard, a bike and even a snow cone maker. What they weren’t able to sell was a copy of the 1978 “Shadow Dancing” album by Andy Gibb.
Cummiskey posed with the album cover featuring Gibb in his groovy, disco-era hair style.
“When I was 8 years old, Andy Gibb was my boyfriend,” she confided of her childhood crush on the pop singer.
Yet, she was willing to let his album go for $5.
Cummiskey and Kester’s driveway was crowded with racks of clothing, including some baby outfits that still had the store price tags on them.
“We have a ton of baby clothes,” Kester said, nodding toward the racks.
Alluding to his now-adult daughter, Kester joked, “Apparently, she walked around naked from 1 to 4 because none of these baby clothes were worn.”
Other homeowners were just as eager to sell off some of their old and unwanted household items. They hoped to capitalize on the yard sale’s timing, coming on Mother’s Day weekend, a popular time for visitors heading to the shore for getaway trips.
Matt and Kate Boyle, who were holding a yard sale at their Sea Isle vacation home on 54th Street, were happy that they were able to persuade their 8-year-old daughter, Regan, and 4-year-old son, Matthew, to finally part with some of their old toys.
There was a catch, though, Matt Boyle pointed out.
“We are selling their old stuff so they can buy new stuff,” he said, laughing. “Out with the old and in with the new. They’re finally letting go. We’ve been trying to do this for years.”
The Boyles live in North Wales, Pa. The yard sale at their vacation home was overflowing with toys. Little Matthew was playing with a miniature truck and a toy tank, while his sister, Regan, was discussing her sales strategy.
Regan had prepared for the yard sale for weeks, her father said. On Saturday, she eagerly jumped out of bed at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for the big day.
“I was really excited,” she said. “I was excited to sell all the toys.”
Before she put price tags on the toys, Regan used the internet to research the value of some of the items.
“Some of the things that were already used, we priced them a little less. The toys that are still new, we priced them a little bit more,” Regan said in a soft voice.
Not a bad strategy. Maybe all of the Sea Isle homeowners who participate in next year’s community yard sale can learn from an 8-year-old girl.