“Garage Sale-ing” Rules and Tips for the Money-Saving Weekend Sport:
By: Amy Hannold, of SavingCentsEveryday.com
You see the signs and if you know the game, you follow them. This is a sport like any other. It requires speed, knowledge, determination and – cash?? Termed “Garage Sale-ing”, as it is known to seasoned competitors, it adequately defines this game of buying and selling. Like any other sport, those who are successful veterans arrive prepared each week and usually walk away as winners. You can see them around 2pm on Saturday, a little spring in their step and grinning as they head home with their scores of great deals. How do they do it week after week – and just what are the rules of this (usually) non-contact sport? Let’s take a look at what the great sale-rs know.
One: Fuel Up: You’ve heard that “Early to bed, early to rise…” saying. With garage sale-ing, it’s a must. The night before is crucial for vehicle and physical preparation. Making sure that all of your gauges are on “F” for full will ensure you an edge on beating out the competition at the first sales. For proper pre-game fueling, fill the car, set out breakfast, pack snacks, a lunch if desired and get to bed early.
Two: In God We Trust: This means carry cash and coin. Exact change speeds up the payment process and enables you to better present your final offer. How can you offer only $5 for a $7 item when you’ve just flashed them a ten or twenty? Cash is good; checks are time consuming and increasingly unaccepted.
Three: Mind Your Manners: Garage sale-ing is as much of a social affair as it is a sport. Remember those out there are often people you will see again, long past the possible score of a great deal. Good manners and sportsmanship go along way toward netting you not only new treasures, but new friends as well. Be respectful of others’ belongings. Listen politely to them about their prized possessions (and how much they can’t bear to part with them…”. Make an offer that is reasonable, leaving room for their inevitable rebuttal. If you are a prepared, cash-carrying competitor, you’ll win the deals. Fighting over plates or digging through someone else’s stash of finds won’t earn you any points with your fellow sale-rs (neighbors).
Four: Love Thy Neighbors: Those would include the neighbors of those who are holding the sale. Be patient and courteous with long, narrow driveways. Be mindful of whose lawn you may be parking on. Respect the property of others! Even if it means walking the extra steps up the driveway, instead of across the driveway, do go the extra mile. Neighbors also include our honorable mail carriers. Please do not park in front of mailboxes. After the sale is over, whomever you are buying from will appreciate a peaceful rest from their undisturbed neighbors.
Five: Map Your Course: I have to hand it to my Dad here. He’s a seasoned sale-r (sailor) through both the high seas and the garage sale-ing game. Dad knows how to map a route and he’s got his map book in the car. (Great maps can be found in your local phone directories or by contacting your chamber of commerce). Dad numbers the sales by time and location (or sometimes by items listed in the ad he’s particularly interested in). Charting a course before you set off saves you time and prepares you mentally for the game ahead. When you know where you’re going, you can get there faster.
Six: Networking, Networking, Networking: Though this “hobby” may be seen as a sport to some, it really is about people helping people. With this in mind, exchange information with those you see regularly out on the trail. Get to know the folks and let them know what you are looking for. While you are seeking the deals, seek information about what the other sales are like today or about an unknown address. Networking pays here- you may even find your next job, home or best friend while garage sale-ing.
Seven: Know your goals, Seek your Goals (or “Look Quick, Grab Fast!)”:. There are sale-rs out there who are very quick on the draw! Some write lists, some take orders and others are seeking specific things (bookworms, antique collectors, handymen, ebay-ers, ect). Do your homework. When you see something you like, grab it fast! Items move very fast and so should you! By knowing what you’re looking for, you know whether a sale is for you – or whether you should cruise on down to the next one.
Garage sale-ing, whether for sport or for keeping the cost of living within a reasonable budget, is great fun—and adventure. Once you’ve been out there, seeking the treasures and finding great deals, it can become addictive. Garage sale-ing fits in well with the rising popularity of living simple and recycling. Many local organizations also, hold great sales, as fundraising events.
My hometown is home to the best garage sales seen in our region—and your community may be as well. Our neighbors hold the best sales—and the best stuff. The sale-ing folks believe that perhaps nothing new comes onto our island, we just move it from house to house, from year to year. This can be illustrated by the reappearance of my own highchair, coming back into my family just in time for my son’s use – 15 years after my parents sold it at their garage sale. There are many other stories like ours. Many happy reunions of old things once owned, super deals made and neighbors met when someone else’s discards become someone else’s treasure.
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