Garage sales offer treasure hunters an adventure in bargain shopping

Christy Bramblett -- Thrifty Christy -- takes in a garage sale to celebrate spring savings season.

Christy Bramblett -- Thrifty Christy -- takes in a garage sale to celebrate spring savings season.

A good garage sale is like a treasure hunt.

At least that’s what I keep telling my husband. You’d think the pirate analogy would draw him in, but unfortunately, I’m the only garage sale lover in my house. Regardless, as the weather gets warmer, I get more and more excited about the prospect of another successful spring and summer spent garage sale hunting.

Like many things in life, you will enjoy your garage sale experience a little more if you have a plan. Whether you’re new to garage sale shopping or a seasoned bargain hunter, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you have a fun and successful experience. Or in pirate terms, have a good voyage.

First, you need grog. In other words, make a pot of coffee. This is essential. If you don’t drink coffee, take a coffee-drinker along with you. You need to get up good and early to get the best bargains, and I’m convinced the smell of coffee is the way to accomplished this.

Second, like any good pirate, you need a map. There are a few I can recommend. I usually visit gsalr.com. This website pulls your area’s garage sale ads from Craigslist and then maps them out for you. It’s also available as an app for your Smart Phone. I have friends who also use the website yardsaletreasuremap.com, and if you’re on Facebook then I can recommend the page facebook.com/EastTn.GarageSales. I usually print out five garage sales that look interesting, and then play it by ear. If I see an interesting sign or get a call from a friend who’s at a great sale, then I’m flexible.

Finally, before you set out on your voyage you need pieces of silver. In other words, cash. Preferably in small bills. Most people won’t take a check or make change. I would suggest taking more than you think you’ll need just in case you happen upon the deal of a lifetime.

If you’re a lone adventurer, then more power to you. I am a person who enjoys being part of a group. Or, continuing the pirate analogy, a crew. It’s hard for me to convince most of my friends to get up early, but my daughters are reaching manageable garage sale ages. In my opinion, having other people to share the garage sale experience with you makes it more fun. It’s also built-in accountability to actually get up early on the weekend.

Make sure you adjust your expectations. You may spend an entire morning visiting garage sales without finding one thing you want. Just know that it’s all about the process. If you enjoy the hunt as much as you enjoy the find, then you have a fun morning ahead of you. Eventually you’ll stumble upon the one deal that makes the whole journey worthwhile. My tall tale involves a bathtub full of vintage Gucci purses. Ask me about it sometime.

In the meanwhile, I hope you have a successful season of garage sale shopping. While couponing helps me provide groceries for my family, garage sale shopping helps me provide clothing and home items. It’s another tool in my thrifty toolbox, and one that I hope you grow to love.

Happy sale-ing!

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