Part 4 of a 4-part series.
With the help of her two boys, Boyle Heights resident Maria Morales starts off her weekends by wheeling suitcases of used clothes onto the front lawn of her apartment complex.
Preparing for her weekly yard sale, she stacks piles of neatly ironed men’s pants from smallest to largest and organizes trinkets that spill onto the sidewalk.
The boys, seven and 10, remain on the porch, waiting for their mother’s calls for assistance until 3 p.m.
Morales emigrated from Mexico 15 years ago with little education, some pocket money and a goal of finding better economic opportunities for her family.
Like many in Boyle Heights, Morales makes a profit from her yard sales, which can happen continuously. Although such sales are a common sight in the neighborhood, they come with challenges.
“Sometimes neighbors do complain,” Morales said. She only sells within her apartment complex to avoid complications with the police and neighbors.
Morales said she sells weekly “to help my husband with the rent” because his wages as a fulltime factory worker aren’t enough to provide for the family of four.
One of the biggest perks for Morales is flexibility– being able to set her own hours and care for her two sons while working.
As an undocumented immigrant, Morales has no formal job opportunities, but in the future, she says, she hopes to “do something different once my children grow up.”