Saling, Saling!

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Yes, you read that right…saling…cruising garage sales. Yesterday, I wrote about having garage sales. Now it’s time to devote some verbiage to attending those sales. There is an art to saling, or g’raging, which I’d like to share with you. Whatever your shopping preferences are, you need a method to your madness.

If you are set for a serious day of g’raging, you need to be prepared. First, do some research. Scan the local classifieds for the listed sales, and mark your paper, so it’s easy to see as you’re driving. Visit Craig’s List, or any other online posting of sales, and either print or jot down the sales you are interested in. Talk to your friends…many sales are advertised by word of mouth. And, of course, be ready for the unplanned visits to those sales that are only advertised by signage. Keep your eyes peeled! Plan your general course in a loop that ends back at your house, deciding your direction according to sale starting times and travel time.

Bring along your coffee, water, and maybe some munchies, because you never know when you’ll get to stop for food or drink. And clean out the car before you go so you have room for all the great stuff you are going to bring home. Get plenty of cash before leaving. I keep mine in my pocket, so I don’t have to carry a purse while I’m trying to look through stuff…you’ll need both hands if you are a serious shopper.

If you are in serious garage sale territory, on a busy weekend, traffic and parking can be an issue. Be mindful of those leaving the sale as you are arriving, and keep your eyes open for available parking spots. Also, watch as you walk to and from the sale, as others are arriving and may be so anxious to get to the goods that they are not watching for pedestrians, or would be willing to mow one down if it meant getting to that pewter beer mug before anyone else has a chance to snatch it up.

As you are heading into the sale area, greet the hosts in a friendly manner. Remember…you may soon be bargaining with them over an old milk pail, so make friends from the start. Take a quick scan of the area, and make mental note of what you see. Pick a side to start on, and work your way through the entire area. Don’t hesitate to circle several times, because if it’s a full sale, you will miss things on your first time through. If you’re like me, you have to touch things to really decide if you want them. There are things you’ll know right away that you want…grab them! There’s nothing more disappointing than going back around for an item, and finding it is gone. If you are debating over an item, don’t take too long to do so, especially if it’s a crowded sale. And coming back the next day is often a disappointment. Most sale hosts thank you for coming (even if you didn’t buy anything), and I always thank them as I leave, for the privilege of looking. Looking is half the fun!

As you shop, load items in the car to allow for squeezing in as much as you can along the way. And make sure that you load fragile items carefully so they don’t bounce against other items in your travels. Sometimes, with larger items, the sale host will let you come back later to pick up what you purchased. If you are g’raging with a friend, you can each sort of stake out a side of the vehicle to stash your stuff, so when you get home it’s not too difficult to unload each person’s goods. Be sure to point things out to your g’raging partner, as they might have missed something you think they might want. A smart phone is a handy thing to have if you are wanting to take a photo of something, send it to a friend who is knowledgeable about value, or might want the item, and then make a decision on whether to purchase said item. And there are some apps that will let you scan a photo, look up the item and learn about its value or history.

So, now you’ve spent the day cruising sales and filling your vehicle with treasures. When you get home, it’s like Christmas, taking all of the items you purchased, looking them over, and admiring your finds. There’s nothing finer than sharing your bargaining stories with your g’raging friends, bragging a little about how little you paid for this or that. Then you wash up the things you will use, place the items where they will live in your home, and decide if maybe some of the items will end up in YOUR next garage sale because they just weren’t right for you after all. And that brings me to the concept of the balance of junque in the Universe. There is a certain amount of stuff floating around out there in the world, traveling from place to place, by way of garage sales. Even if you decide not to keep a found treasure, it’s not such a bad thing to sell it to someone who will treasure it as their own. And, likewise, it’s ok to part with some of your own treasures, knowing that someone will enjoy having them as their own.   

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