Macomb TownshipJuly 5, 2012
Kids-only yard sale teaches lifelong skills
By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer
MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Ashley Guilbaut, 15, is saving money to buy her first car.
To help, she brought some books, CDs, dolls and other childhood toys that were only taking up space in her house to the Kids Only Yard Sale June 26.
She and her siblings — Tom, 14; Jimmy, 12; Michael, 11; and Laura, 10 — displayed their toys of yesterday on tables in hopes of replacing them with toys more relevant to their ages.
The boys, for example, are shedding their Pokemon cards and toy swords and guns, so they can purchase fireworks.
Laura Guilbaut, only a few years from being a teen, plans to purchase clothes.
This is the family’s second year participating in the sale.
For the past decade, families from across the township and the surrounding communities have descended on the Town Center Park, a flatland of grass on 25 Mile Road next to the Suburban Ice Arena and the township Parks and Recreation building.
Originally called Too Much Junk in the Trunk, the yard sale has grown each year, going from just one or two families to the fleet of minivans and crossover vehicles that lined the north side of the park last week.
And each year, the kids selling their old items are learning the very basics of money management and sales.
Michele Guilbaut said she leaves it up to her five children to decide what they sell. Last year, she said, her children quickly realized they weren’t going to sell anything without price tags.
“People are less likely to buy it if they have to keep asking how much it is,” she said, relaxing in a foldout chair while her children manned the tables.
Another part of selling is bartering. “Some people, they want stuff for a cheaper price,” said Jessica Mijal, 14, while sitting with her mother, Sherrie Mijal, under the shade of their vehicle’s rear hatch door. “And it’s kind of like much nicer than what they’re asking.”
Meanwhile, her brother, 11-year-old Daniel Mijal, whose face was stained blue and red from a snow cone, was learning the basic of capital investments, even if unintentionally.
For every item he sold, he would peruse the other yard sales and buy himself something.
“He’s just buying more stuff here,” Sherrie Mijal said. “And then he’ll bring it here again next year because he’ll realize he doesn’t need it.”
Other tables were set up as fundraisers, like the one staffed by the Beck Elementary Cub Scouts.
Chrystal Roessler, mother to a Cub Scout, said the children learned organizational skills by coordinating the different items they are selling.
But perhaps the greatest lesson learned from the Kids Only Yard Sale is the understanding of what you do and do not need.
“I want someone to enjoy it, you know,” Jessica Mijal said. “It’s kind of sad to see it go, but when you see someone else with it, it’s worth it.”
“And I get a clean basement out of it,” her mother added.
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