It’s Spring—Garage Sale Savings Time

Not everyone loves spring, but I do. It heralds the end of winter. Winter is okay for some; it’s the librarian’s friend. More books are taken out over heavy snow periods than any other time of the year. Maybe moms need something to take their minds off the kiddies running through the house at full-bored speed. 

On the other hand, when it’s still dark out at 8 o’clock in the morning, seniors feel no necessity to rise early and often read until the middle of the night—nobody gets up till noon, anyway. I’m not suggesting seniors lay in till lunch; it’s just that the start of sleep time, plus 8 hours, equals noon. But then spring hits, all the darkness of long winter nights is forgiven and folks concentrate the newness of Spring— the bright yellows blossoms of the daffodils and the brilliant purple of the—the purple flowers. More importantly, it’s sunny at 7 o’clock in the morning. Some are up so early, they can wave at their morning newspaper person.

Unfortunately, many see it as the start of long hours of lawn care and property maintenance. But, I see springs as it really is—endless hours of happily drifting with wind, on a sea of asphalt—garage sailing. Technically, it’s not garage sale time until the first sign goes up. Then everybody says it’s too early to start that, but once that first sign goes up, everybody follows the lead.

I admit, I may have jumped the gun a year or two ago when I posted a garage sale sign, along a main thoroughfare, pointing to some rich guy’s house. I watched from a distance and counted cars, on a purely scientific basis—I might write a paper someday about how many come out for the first day of garage sale season. I know, I know, it wasn’t the right thing to do. But, on the good side, after nine doorbell rings that Saturday morning, the owners garage door went up, and two people came away with some nice things.

Not sure about other parts of the country, but here in Ohio signs don’t go up until Thursday. It’s rare that they last past Saturday. It’s not wasted time though; Sunday through Wednesday is preparation time. It’s time to scour over maps to determine the best areas and then redline them. Find books of all the street names. Determine the best times to start. Watch the weather; save your gas for cruising when it’s sunny. Chat with locals at McDonalds to see if they know of any whole-neighborhood garage sales. These can be the best one’s.

That’s how I used to do it, too. Now I use an app on my IPad that takes me directly to any garage sale in the area—isn’t technology grand. It lets me zone in on the rich neighborhoods first—that’s where the good junk is. I crosscheck it against the recently sold houses. These are the best, as they are lame duck owners. They have broken their ties to the area, are ready to move on, and generally are desperate to move everything, at any price. I sometimes drive by houses on Wednesday night, after they put out their signs, to see what’s going on in their garages. If it looks like they are readying themselves for a garage sale, I park, way up the street, and casually walk by.

“Are you having a garage sale?”

“Tomorrow, why you asking? No early sales.”

“No, I understand. I’m going to have one, too. But, too soon for us anyway; it will have to wait until next week.” I like to look sad and pitiful here. “We may be moving in with our—kids—you know.” This one really gets them. I shuffle my feet a little and look down, too. “Not sure how to price things?” If he’s hesitant, I drag one leg a little and rub the knee in front of his wife. They are always more sympathetic.

“Hum, you don’t say. You got it ready to go?” He knows more stuff brings more people. There is a pause, and then comes the offer. “Well, look around in here a little. Maybe you can bring some of your stuff down. Add to the sale. If nothing else, you can see how we priced our stuff.”

It’s only a matter of time before I mention how my grandson, granddaughter, or niece would really like a couple of things they have for sale. Grandkids can be of any age, so you can make this work for almost anything you want.

When I drag the stuff to my car, I realize I have broken out in a sweat. The thrill of the hunt and the double thrill of an invite to an early sale has me giddy. I drive away confident I have done them a great service—less stuff for them to sell, tomorrow.

If some of you are upset by seniors getting there first, all I can say is that it will be your time, soon enough. Learn the technics now while you are young. A good fall down the basement stairs, now, can create a real limp later—you’ll have a leg up on your competitors. Meanwhile, enjoy your springtime!


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