Sunny Saturday mornings in springtime always signify one thing in our little town: a plethora of garage sales. Of course I knew what garage sales were before moving here, but I’d never met anyone who took them as seriously as my friend Christine. She was the one who showed me how to maximize garage sale returns using her highly organized method.
A few days prior to Saturday, she buys the paper and looks online to see where the garage sales will be held. I’ve discovered that Christine is not the only person who takes the sales seriously; even the sellers advertise well in advance. It’s definitely not a “let’s just put out our junk on a table today and see what happens” approach, but rather a strategically thought-out operation.
Using the tourist map of the area, Christine then flags all the addresses of the garage sales and creates an itinerary, so as to minimize pointless driving around, which equals lost time and less chance at finding real treasures.
The sales all begin at 8 a.m. sharp. The expectation is that, if you’re a serious garage-saler, you’ll be there at 8 a.m. sharp, too, and not a minute late. Sleeping in is not an option, but then it hasn’t been an option for me since the arrival of my first child, nearly three years ago.
Yesterday marked the first garage-sale experience of the year for me. I headed out with my sister, who’s visiting from the city, and another friend; neither had gone ‘garage-sale-ing’ before, though they might have checked a few out in the past. To leave the house early in the morning with the specific goal of touring local sales was a foreign experience for them, and they were quite amused by my excessive enthusiasm.
The first sale was a bust – more of a junk show than anything. At least I found a nice rug for $2.
The second sale was a treasure chest of spectacular finds. I found a six-person tent for camping that’s in perfect condition except for one little tear, a frame for my university diploma, a dictionary, and – most amazingly of all – a solid maple twin bed ($20).
The third sale was okay – a mini muffin tin and watering can were the extent of my finds. I returned home by 9:30 a.m., having spent a little over $30 and feeling quite pleased with myself. My husband gave me the usual incredulous look that reads, “Seriously? You bought a tent? and a bed?” But I know he’ll thank me for it when we look at the cost of new maple beds and he discovers we’ve saved hundreds of dollars in the process.
True garage-saling ability takes time to develop, I’m realizing, and while I’m relatively new to the experience, I think I’m already developing a knack at sniffing out bargains.
How about you readers? Are garage sales popular where you live? What’s the most interesting purchase you’ve made at a garage sale?