In the past, I have usually bought one bag full. This year, considering the length of my shopping list (yes, I make an actual list of things I am looking for), I elected to go with the cart. I timed my arrival to miss the initial cart stampede. When I was there, the sale wasn't crowded, and by the time I left, there were only a handful of shoppers.
And I found a rug!!! A 9x12 foot flat wool rug, rolled up, looking neither too clean nor too worn. I also found a smaller rug. They both have large flowers on a cream background with a border; the color scheme is 1980's Country style. When I got the rugs home, I unrolled the larger one, prepared to have to wash it on a tarp in the driveway and maybe also to tea dye the entire thing...but after a good vacuuming there were only some minor stains and spots on the top side, and worn places along two edges, while the back side was almost pristine. The large rug went into the family room, and the smaller one into the TV nook. As Alexandra Stoddard says about decorating, if you change one thing, you have to reconsider everything else. The rug is making me think about making a quieter cover for the couch cushion, in a cooler color. The set of three all-cotton curtains that I found may work for that, if I sew them together.
I also found various remnants of knit fabrics, suitable for sewing pants for boy play clothes. Today I cut out and started sewing six pairs of pants from this fabric. I found several polyester (ugh) pajama pants, from which I could steal the elastic, but one of my children claimed them first. I altered them to make the legs narrower by turning them inside out and sewing new side seams with a zigzag stitch.
I felt my way through the throw pillows (apparently no one ever leaves the tags on) and found some that were down/feathers, because I discovered after we moved that although I hate beige carpet, I do enjoy lying on it with a feather pillow. I need to wash them, and make a new cover for one.
I found various clothes for me, most of which I will be altering, postpartum when I return to a less pyramidal shape.
Craft supplies: crochet cotton for embroidery, craft wire, a cheap three-ring binder to supply cover boards for my handmade blank book, a roll of wallpaper for making sewing patterns, corduroy scraps, a half-used sketchbook, and assorted envelopes and small notebooks and yarn for the children. I couldn't find leather anything for my book cover, but I did find a pair of jeans in an interesting green.
Household items: a towel, a washcloth which is now a cloth baby wipe, boot waterproofing, a like-new memory foam mattress topper for a double bed, a barely-used sleeping bag just like the one I used to have twenty years ago, a Rada paring knife, several small plates, fireplace tools.
I found a number of books for me and the children, so I am set for reading material for a while. I questioned whether I should get Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, which I used to own (before the Big Purge) and which I generally find exhausting to read because of the implied high expectations for housekeeping, but I did get it and it is proving useful...now I know how to wash my feather pillows, when I get to them.
Even near the end of the sale, on my second pass through, I was finding good-quality items. One was a Baufix starter set of wooden construction pieces (bolts, nuts, bars, wheels) with an original price tag of almost $100 that was hiding among the jigsaw puzzles. Another was a kerosene lamp in a box under a table. (Much earlier a lady had picked one up that I was on my way over to get.) There were still down throw pillows there when I left.
Finally, I got a big foam gymnastics wedge, which went on the very top of the pile in the cart. It has been very popular with my very active children.
I didn't find everything on my list, but I am amazed and grateful at how much of it I did find, along with the things that I wasn't even looking for.