Garage sale strategy: Go where the hordes aren’t

Today is one of the biggest garage sale days of the year.

An old, established, and relatively well-to-do neighborhood nearby has a tradition of doing a massive 4-block yard sale every September. People put it on their calendars. You never know what you’ll find there.

I went somewhere else.I’ve gone every year the last four years, but I noticed a pattern. Every year I get less and less, and it seems like fewer homes participate. This year promised 50 homes participating, but finding the 10 really good ones in the 50 is tough. The only way is to go to all of them. Figure five minutes per sale, and I was going to spend a minimum of five hours there. Some years I’ve spent longer.

So instead, I picked 10 sales somewhere else and spent about two hours out and about.

I got some good hardware for around the house for literally pocket change. I got some other predictable odds and ends.

But the prize was an under-cabinet LCD TV with radio and DVD player for 20 lousy bucks. The cheapest I’ve ever seen them new is $70. But one with reviews that suggest anyone would actually want to own it costs more like $200, which is about what this one cost new.

I plugged it in at the sale to verify it worked, then brought it home and hooked it up. It works nicely and takes up a lot less room than the 13" CRT we’ve kept in the kitchen for the last few years.

On any other day, I doubt I would have scored that. I arrived at the sale 10 minutes or so after it opened, and was the only one there. You have to be the first or second person there to get anything like that, especially at that price.

Since everyone else was at the big neighborhood sale, I got my chance.

2 thoughts on “Garage sale strategy: Go where the hordes aren’t

  • September 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm
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    Do you take special precautions to make sure that you don’t take home bed bugs? It’s quite expensive to rid your home of a bed bug infestation.

    • September 18, 2010 at 9:33 pm
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      I read this week that a good way to kill bed bugs after travel is to leave your luggage in the hot car for a while. Generally my loot sits in the car a good 36 hours, so, yeah, I guess accidentally I have been taking precautions. Though I jumped the gun today.

      Generally I’m more concerned about bringing home germs than insects. I clean stuff with bleach or alcohol, depending on what’s less likely to damage it.

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