Yesterday marked the beginning of this summer's garage sale season. Eli and I got up with the sun, threw hats on and packed our bags with food and water for the entire morning. I was so excited for the good weather, the small wad of cash and the list of sales to visit. Eli was excited because he knew it would be a shopping adventure-much more fun than the weekly grocery shopping adventures we go on.
If you're new to the yard sale way of life, here are a few quick tips I like to use. These will help you save time and keep you from bringing home junk week after week.
1. Make a LIST- Keep a list in your wallet of things you know you need or want. Think of things that you can wait for, too. One thing on my list (which I got to cross off yesterday!) was a bookshelf for Dan's office. For the last 8 months, Dan's beautiful book collection has been stacked neatly on the office floor. Sure I could go get one at Target for $20 or even find one on craigslist for $10. I guess I was holding out for a better deal, and I got one!
2. Keep to the list- If you haven't thought about it before heading out the door, you probably don't need it. Things like small bowls and containers will easily catch your eye, especially when it's priced at $0.10. Still, those things will only clutter your life and can distract you from the mission. Of course, there is always room to splurge on a great pair of slightly worn jeans or an IKEA rug that wasn't on the list. Definitely give yourself room for surprises, just don't be tempted by the knick-knacks and bric-a-brac. As well, you can always keep adding to the list as life changes, your family grows and needs arise.
3. Think ahead- Especially if you have kids, shopping at garage sales is a GREAT opportunity to buy for future seasons. Children's clothing can be very expensive in the stores, and we all know it will only be worn for a season, only to be thrown into a box and shoved into the basement. If you can score a $0.50 bathing suit or a $2 winter coat for next year, GRAB IT! In 6 months when stores are selling those things for $12.99, you'll be glad you did. If you know you need more Christmas ornaments, and some crazy neighbor is selling hers from last year's Crate & Barrel Christmas season, GRAB THEM! Your husband might think you're mad, but when winter rolls around and you're spending time with him instead of shopping for full price ornaments, he'll be glad you did.
4. Map it out- My mom likes to use the local newspapers to find weekend yard sales. I use craigslist. Under the "For Sale" section, there is a garage sale link. Simply type in your neighborhood and voila-you know where to go. Craigslist is great, too because people usually post a list of items for sale. Jot down addresses with a side note i.e. "kids clothes" or "electronics" to you can remember why you wanted to hit up that sale in the first place. I usually make a plan, starting with the sale closest to my house and then making a circle of sorts back to my house. Use GOOGLE maps or bring one with you so you don't waste time driving around looking for some random house.
5. Be flexible-Most times, sales turn out to be a bust. I went to one sale yesterday that advertised kids clothing and toys. When I showed up, there were a few little girl onesies, old stuffed animals and a potty seat. Really?? Don't be discouraged and don't be slowed down. Just get back in the car and keep moving. If there are sales on the way to ones on your list, by all means, drop by! Just don't go on wild goose chases following signs that will lead you 2 miles away from your neighborhood. That just wastes time.
6. Drive by-Some sales are lame and you can tell it just by looking out your window. If a sale isn't on the list for a particular reason, and nothing caught your eye in the 5-10 seconds it took to slowly creep by, pass it up. You could easily spend hours picking through junk and if you're like me and have a deadline (namely nap time!), you've got to keep focused.
Although we didn't hit it big, I was able to get some things that were high on my list. The most exciting thing was the bookshelf for Dan. I purchased it for $2!!!!! I'm pretty sure it's from Target or Wal-Mart...not the best in quality, but it is sturdy, in great condition and most importantly-big enough! There was even room for Eli to relax in the bottom shelf while Dan put away his books.
Other items worth mentioning:
$0.50 - Brand new boy's bathing suite, 3T
$1 - Modern tall square flower vase, glass water pitcher, retro thermos (for Dan's growing coffee addiction), glass mixing bowl
$0.10 - 1 Bag of unopened polyester batting/filling for quilting
$1.00 - Old school Sesame Street Sing-a-long DVD
$1 - Beautiful framed mirror (to be spray painted and hung in dining room)
$2 - Wooden and stone beads along with crimp beads and clasps to be donated to FORAI.
From now on until the end of this year's garage sale season, I hope to post regularly on my awesome finds. With baby number two on the way, I have a long list of things I KNOW I can find in someone else's front yard for much cheaper than store prices. I've got a lot of hope for this summer!!