Tag Sales are Educational


Well, the dust has settled and the tag sale finds of this past weekend have been absorbed into the household. The vintage coffee cups I bought are now washed and in the cupboard. I wore my new bead necklace to the pond today. And Ginger has been tapping away steadily at her new typewriter. And, while all of these purchases have been fun and even money-saving, they’ve also been pretty darn educational when you stop and think about it. In fact, tag sale-ing, itself, provides a lot of opportunities for learning. So many, in fact, that I’m tempted to include it in next year’s home schooling curriculum.

For instance…

1. Math and Economics

This is a no-brainer. I’ll use Ginger in my examples since she’s the one who went tag sale-ing with me on Saturday. Ginger had a limited amount of money to spend. So, for the entire time we were out, she had to calculate, and she had to budget. And, when she wasn’t buying things, she was comparing prices. That’s a lot of math for anyone – much less a fourth grader.

2. History and Technology

In addition to getting a crash course in furniture and design styles of the past, Ginger also learned that typewriters don’t have “delete” keys and that different radios play the same song at the same time. You and I take this for granted, but Ginger has grown up in a world where computers (with delete keys) are the norm and Pandora supplies the music. When she realized that the Barbie van (with radio) she bought played the same song at the same time as Pepper’s iPod radio, she was floored. This of course led to a discussion on radios in general.

3. P.E.

Exercise and fresh air are a definite perk of tag sale-ing, and we got plenty of both on Saturday. Between walking to and from car, navigating the sales themselves, and lugging our purchases to the car, we were on the move. We moved so much, in fact, that Ginger fell asleep on the ride home!


4. Manners

My neighbor (who accompanied us) was a huge help in this area. Both Ginger and I benefited from her example. She was wonderful. She greeted each seller when she arrived at their sale and often made small talk with them as she browsed. Then, after looking around, she would say “thank you” before she left. It struck me as being a very “classy” way to act. By the end of the day, I was following her example, and I really believe it made the experience much more pleasant for everyone.

5. Spirituality

Finally, you can’t escape the spiritual aspect of tag sale-ing. At some of the sales we stopped at, the homes were thrown open and everything was up for grabs. Items were offered at extremely low prices, considering the amount of time and effort that must have gone into selecting and maintaining them. Jell-O molds and jewelry were laid out next to Christmas decorations and record collections. Books and furniture, evening gowns and gardening tools… it was all there. A person’s entire life on display. And it was a great reminder of our inability to take anything with us after we pass on.

On a lighter note, we also got a bit of spiritual mileage out of this dollhouse.


Ginger had been wanting a doll house like this for quite some time, and we were so disappointed to learn someone had already spoken for it.

“But the woman hasn’t paid yet,” the seller added. “She has five minutes to get here.” (The sale ended at 2:00). “If she doesn’t show up in five minutes, it’s yours.”

“Start praying,” my neighbor told Ginger under her breath.

So, Ginger said a prayer, and we wandered around for five minutes, with me lingering over a pair of beaded evening gowns that were a size too small for me (as if I have anywhere to wear a beaded evening gown!) and having mild panic attacks any time anyone appeared who looked like they might want to claim the dollhouse.

No one did. The five minutes passed, we paid for the house, and then we loaded it into the car as quickly as we could, not wanting to be there in case the woman showed up after all. She didn’t. And now, Ginger has her dream toy. Hooray!

So, there you have it! We have new coffee cups, polished manners, a greater appreciation for math and our own mortality, insight into 20th century technology, healthier bodies, and a testimony to the power of prayer. When viewed in this light, tag sale-ing is nothing short of incredible. I’d be crazy to give up this new habit. Don’t you agree?

From the dining room table, feeling flushed because I had a hot cup of tea on a warm summer evening (what was I thinking?),

Mrs. Smythe



10 Comments on “Tag Sales are Educational

  1. What an inspiring post! I’m glad Ginger learned how much God loves her and cares about everything she does!

    • Glad you liked it, TeaLady. And, I’m glad Ginger knows that too. 🙂

  2. That day was a lot of fun, and very successful! Thanks for going with me, it was great having fellow bargain hunters going from sale to sale.

    • We had a wonderful time, too. We definitely benefited from your expertise and had so much fun spending the day with you. Thanks for inviting us along. 🙂

  3. Looks like a great day. Love the doll house. Need any curtains or
    quilts? Have fun with it Ginger. And love all your applications of
    learning. I never thought of it that way.

    • We’d love quilts and curtains! Shall I measure the windows? I was thinking I could knit up some rugs and things. I’ll have to be careful not to take over decorating. I love dollhouses.

  4. That looks like a really fantastic doll house!

    • It is! I was so excited, because I love dollhouses too, and always wanted one of my own as a child. I’ll have to keep reminding myself it’s Ginger’s and not mine. 😉

    • We did have a lot of fun. And, it’s always nice when the kids can find something they really like at a bargain price.