A Savvy Shopper’s Guide to Garage-Sailing
I have such special memories of Saturday mornings when I was a kid. My grandma was my bud and she and I would go out almost every Saturday morning and hunt for bargains by garage sailing. The day would start with us mapping out the sales that we wanted to hit up and then we'd slip into my grandma's car, turn the radio up so we could sing and I'd help her navigate sale to sale.
For the rest of my life, I'll never forget the specific thing that my grandma and I would hunt for - depression glass. My grandma taught me right away that instead of finding what I thought was depression glass and yelling for my grandma, I would have to calmly walk to her and softly ask "is this what you're looking for?" By doing it that way, my grandma would know that I'd potentially found the (valuable at that time) glass she was looking for without alerting the other bargain hunters. Because of our joint efforts in hunting down depression glass, I have quite the impressive collection today and each time I walk by my china cabinet and see it, I think of my grandma and those special Saturday mornings we shared.
If you're wondering about the lady in the photo above with the lampshade on her head, that really happened. I used to live in a small town that would hold a town-wide garage sale and while I was out hunting for goodies one year, that woman nearly walked right into me, and clearly, you can understand why. I guess you have to do what you have to do when your hands are full! I asked her if I could take a photo and the funny thing is, we've since become friends.
If you’re planning to celebrate the first day of fall and do some end of season garage sailing (perhaps at Binghamton's Largest Garage and Craft Sale?) this Saturday, here are some tips I learned from years of shopping with my grandma.
Make a list of the things that you're looking for. It's so super easy to get distracted by other things (oooh, shiny stuff) and sometimes you get home and realize that you forgot to look for what it was you went out for. Tuck the list in your wallet so each time you open it, you'll see the note and be reminded of your mission.
Do not, I repeat, do not take a purse with you while garage sailing. Try to wear clothes that have pockets and shove cash, a bank card, your license, and cell into your pockets so that your hands are completely free to browse and hold things. If you feel naked without a purse or are afraid you'll pull out a was of cash and your license will fall and get lost in the process, consider a cross-body bag. I've done this and it also acts as a bag if you're in a place where there are sales one right after the other and you don't want to keep running back to the car.
If you break out in a heavy sweat while garage sailing, it's either obscenely hot and humid, or you're getting an amazing workout. Either way, pack a small cooler with cold water and snacks like cheese and nuts and keep it in the car so you can nosh when the feeling hits. Nothing ruins bargain hunting like having to go home because you feel like you're going to pass out from dehydration.
If you see something you like, but you're not sure if you're ready to part with your cash for it, pick it up and carry it with you until you're ready to pay and then make your decision. There's no worse feeling than seeing something you think you might want and then watching someone else pick up and buy it before you make a move on it.
If you see something you really want but the price seems a little steep, don't be afraid to ask the seller if they'll take a little less. Asking to buy an item marked $25 for $2 is insulting. Think carefully before you ask for a discounted price, be reasonable, be polite, but don’t be insulted if the seller says no. It's their sale and their prerogative.
I can't even tell you how many treasures I've found by looking under tables, in boxes, and under mounds of clothes. Most people don't want to be bothered to look there. Take the time and you might be surprised!
A little dirt never hurt anyone, right? Don't pass on something just because it looks dirty- a little elbow grease has been known to make dingy things gleam.