4/22/11

First garage sale of the season bodes well for the year!!

I hit my first garage sale of the season this morning, and I'm still breathless with anticipation about what that means...a whole new season of super deals, finds, and bargains!

The sale didn't look like much when I pulled up, but I hopped out anyway, checklist in mind and went straight for the kitchen supplies. Lo and behold, there was an oil lamp with wick and glass chimney in perfect condition...asking price: 3 bucks. I grabbed my wallet from the car and pulled out $2.00, and the oil lamp was mine.

It's not just the great prices at garage sales that excite me, its mostly the thrill of the hunt itself that sets me aglow. Idling up to a driveway stacked with crap and recognizing whether it conceals a treasure trove of goodies or just washed up 80s paraphernalia. Spotting the one item the seller is just as excited to get rid of as you are to give them 50 cents for it.

There's a euphoria to be had from recognizing genuine value in something lost, dust-covered and discarded by a prior owner, and getting it for dirt cheap. It can also be pretty lucrative if you can pull it off. I'm just an amateur at it, but even so, one year I made enough to pay for 2 years of garage sale shopping by buying a couple of pieces of nice furniture for dirt cheap and reselling them on craigslist. Oh, the joy of coming home and telling the hubby that I had earned my own garage sale money!!

I'm no garage sale expert, but I've picked up a couple of tricks that minimize hassle and maximize my results. First, if, like me you have to bring your kiddos, it's best to bribe them with either a trip to McDonalds for breakfast after (if they're good) or a 25 cent book or toy from one of the sales. Second, go on Friday morning for the best selection...this is a no-brainer, but I will do almost anything to avoid a crowd and being a stay at home mom gives me the advantage (for a change) over other shoppers. Third, I keep a list of the stuff I'm looking for in my glove box so I can stay focused on the priorities. Here's the stuff I'll be hunting out at the sales this year:
  • Camping or backpacking gear
  • Oil lamps
  • Hunting/fishing supplies
  • Firearms reloading supplies, books and gun parts
  • Animal/farming tools & supplies (harnesses, halters, boots, bridles, farrier equipment)
  • No-electricity-needed kitchen gadgets (wheat grinder, meat grinder, egg beater, food processor, etc.)
  • Cast iron skillets
  • Dehydrator
  • Canning supplies
  • Pressure canner
  • Oversized stockpot
  • Kids clothes, shoes & books
I hope you'll share your garage sale secrets, stories, successes, and shopping lists in the comments...I'm always looking for new ways to save and I'm as thrilled to celebrate a great find or deal as the next person. Here's to the joys of a great garage sale season for all!

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