Buying at Garage Sales
10 Garage Sale Shortcuts
A few years ago, after buying a house with a little bit more space than my 800' apartment, I took up "garage sale-ing" to buy wants, needs, and even gifts for dimes on the dollar. It's amazing how much unused, "still in the shrink wrap" stuff you can find. In my part of California, garage sale season stretches from April to late November ("holiday boutiques" not included), and there are often 40 or 50 in a five-mile radius on summer Saturday mornings. After a few months of experimentation, I refined my method for hitting the most garage sales in the least time. It takes a little bit of preparation, but it's well worth it the next morning.
After an hour or so of computer research, take a look at your book. You can make a quick visual route in seconds over coffee. The benefits are many. When you've got an embarrassment of riches, you can narrow down things to a more "tasty" neighborhood. No more "are we in the right part of the block" blues. If someone decided not to have their garage sale after all, you'll know the second you pass by the dot on your map. You can hit over 20 sales in one day (especially when you find those unlisted "freebies" on the way to your next spot). Your navigator (or you, if you're alone) has a much easier job on the road, and your map's always with you in a convenient form. When you've finished with a particular sale, just wipe off the dot. And for that one annoying guy constantly advertising his "garage sales" every few weeks (you know the kind…), you can permanently mark the photocopied page so you know better than to waste your time.
"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by mailto:MyStory@stretcher.com
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