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Little Spouse On The Prairie: Garage Sale Is A Verb

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In the past few years, small towns on the High Plains have been hosting community-wide garage sales. Only in a small town do all the neighbors get together to plan a weekend-long junk fest. I love to grab a friend or two and trek out for day of treasure hunting.

In the past few years, small towns on the High Plains have been hosting community-wide garage sales. Only in a small town do all the neighbors get together to plan a weekend-long junk fest. I love to grab a friend or two and trek out for day of treasure hunting.

Preparation is key. Three to four days ahead, we need to start consuming extra fluids. Carb-loading is also advised, but since I carb-load pretty much all the time, I don’t worry about that as much. In addition to the pre-garage-sale-day prep, we must sustain throughout the event itself. While many of the garage sales offer baked goods or lemonade, this arduous task demands protein. I’m thinking, this year, we might try those protein gel packs that marathoners squeeze into their mouths as they hit the 15-mile mark. True garage sale mavens understand that taking too much time to refuel can result in serious bargain loss.

Besides prepping our bodies, we must also ready our homes. This may involve donating many of the items we purchased at last year’s garage sales, along with outgrown clothes (hey, that carb-loading can take its toll), toys, and kitchen gadgets (which regular listeners will know, I hate). We also need to purchase more of those big totes so that if anything needs storing until we have our own garage sale, we have space. I wish I were kidding about those totes.

A few other accoutrements of the day ought to be ready. A trip to the bank for quarters, ones, and tens is in order. Rarely do purveyors of the secondhand accept checks, and never do they accept cards. I always establish a budget parameter. Then, I add about $100 to that. I understand that I can always redeposit any leftover cash. No sense in running low.

We need to gas up and lay down the seats of the van to make room for larger items, like the 13-foot tall Christmas tree my friend bought last year when we were out and about. It may be necessary to pull a small trailer.

We like to arrive early, but I’m not like those annoying shoppers who are already rummaging through boxes 10 minutes before the sale is set to begin. I’m aware that no matter how early I get there, someone will beat me to the bargain. That’s why, just as soon as I spot something I might even remotely want, I start carrying it around with me as I browse.

Only one time did this become awkward, and that was when I started pushing a baby stroller I intended to buy as I continued to shop. It didn’t take long for the young mother of the child still sitting in the stroller to come rushing over and push me to the side. I figured if she wanted that thing badly enough to hold it using a real live baby, she could just keep it!

Sometimes, I deliberate about a potential purchase, but ultimately decide not to carry it around. Unless, that is, someone else starts to look interested in the item I decided I didn’t want. “Oh, no, lady! That’s the food processor I was looking at a few minutes ago, and it is mine!” Buyer’s remorse doesn’t set in until I get home and remember I hate kitchen gadgets.

Last week, Clementine and I, along with a friend, headed out for our first foray of the season. We went to a town that offered 140 garage sales on Friday. We only made it to 139 legitimate ones. I say “legitimate,” because at one location, we realized after browsing through a yard littered with toys, appliances, tools, and furniture, that the property owners weren’t actually hosting a sale. At first, we were embarrassed, but we ended up getting a good deal on a stepladder there, so it all worked out in the end.

Typically, communities come up with a sale map, and shoppers can just start at number one and work their way through the list. I’ve developed a strategy whereby I begin at the end and work my way backwards through the map. Most garage salers like to go through in numerical order, so I typically do not cross paths with those traditionalists until sometime around noon.

I’ll see you at garage sale number 70 at noonish next Saturday! Have a great week!

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