Insight News

Feb 09th

Getting "a steal" at garage sales

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garagesaleI just got off the phone with my girlfriend Danielle. She was calling me to be sure that I had set aside time on my Thursday morning calendar. See Danielle and I have taken a strong liking to garage sales and Thursday is our day to hit the sales. Garage sale season is in full swing now and it’s a great place to get mega-bargains. I know you are wondering why we could be attracted to the act of rummaging through other people’s junk that has been hauled from inside their home to the garage. (Often in preparation for the donation truck that will arrive in a couple of days.) Well here is the answer: There is often hidden treasure to be found (imagine my best pirate voice). Garage sales are perfect for tight budgets or for the person who simply wants to stretch that dollar as far as possible. If you have never garage-saled before, or if it’s been a while and you are a bit rusty, I want to give you some ideas on how to snag a steal this week.

Phone a friend
Not only is garage-sale-ing for finding super deals, you can also double as time for reconnecting and bonding with friends. Last week Danielle and I took another girlfriend who is very inexperienced when it comes to g-sales. The laughing and talking we did as we drove from house to house was her favorite part. I won’t mention the fact she scored the best steal of the day: a dainty sterling silver necklace sprinkled with garnets for only $1.

Grab a paper and start Thursday
(if your schedule allows). Friday and Saturday are the most popular days for having garage sales, but there are plenty that start on Thursday. The earlier you begin, the better your chances of finding the best merchandise. Serious g-sale-ers even arrive about a half hour before the scheduled start time, especially if they are trying to snag a particular item. Find sales advertised in your newspaper’s classified section, Craigslist, or simply follow the signs (but please, no erratic driving-safety first).

Go on the other side of the tracks and find the garage sales in the high rent districts. Wealthy neighborhoods are more likely to have higher quality items, like name brand kids’ clothes. Because my children are growing so fast, especially my boy, Landon, I am always on the lookout for good treasures for them. Actually, in the last few weeks of garage sale-ing, I nearly have Landon’s entire school wardrobe for the fall. Many are name brands like Gap, Ralph Lauren, Nautica, and Old Navy. Aside from tons of children’s’ items, which are always plentiful, there are household items, books, furniture, antique dishes (Danielle’s weakness), clothing, coats (my weakness) and everything in between.

Danielle and I pride ourselves in being garage-sale-professionals. We look for cues that reveal whether a sale will be worth our time to visit. Brightly colored, neat signs often indicate a good sale. Church sales can also have great stuff. Neighborhood sales are our favorites. The last one we visited, we parked our car and walked from house to house, talking, enjoying the sunshine, the beautiful flowers and landscape, and interacting with shoppers and sellers. A day of bonding, bargains, and beauty equals a great day in my book. Enjoy!

Marcia Humphrey is an interior decorator and home stager who specializes in achieving high style at low costs. A native of Michigan, she and her husband, Lonnie, have three children.

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