The last few Friday mornings, at least one of my kiddos and I have been hitting up local garage sales. I have always had a love of finding special treasures for cheap and I believe my son is learning to love it as well! In fact, last week, I asked him, “Would you like to go to a garage sale with me?” And his 2 ½ year old response: “No, Mommy, FIVE garage sales.
So what is the greatness of garage sales?
- I think as a mother and a teacher, garage sales are the best way for finding things you may need (or just like) for your home, kids or classroom without breaking the bank!
- By reusing someone else’s things, you are being more environmentally friendly! This may seem like a stretch, but really, if you think about what would happen if we all just through away our stuff when we were through with it (which some do) how much waste we would have? By reselling and buying used things that are still in good condition, we are reducing our need for new products, and recycling!
- You get to know people in your community! Just the other day, my son and I went to a neighborhood garage sale a few blocks away from our house. In that neighborhood alone, we talked to someone you attend the same out of state college as me, a woman whose daughter shared the same name as mine (and it is not a common name!), and discovered that a close relative of one of my students lives just around the corner from me. Get to know your neighbors. And their junk.
But where do you start? I know some people just like the thrill of the hunt and have no set plan. Usually I like to have an idea of what I’m looking for at the start. This way, I can drive by and scope out whether it is worth it to stop and get out (especially with two kids).
Here are the top things I currently look for when I’m garage saling:
- Kids Clothes/shoes – This, right now, is my number one purchase at any garage sale. If there is a chance someone will be selling toddler boy or baby girl clothes, I stop. I’m discovering that most times, girl clothes seem hardly worn! I’ve purchased brand new or like new clothes for $1 for my baby girl. However, rarely do I find this in toddler boy sizes. Why? Going by personal experience, it is because boys wear out their clothes so much faster than girls. And trying to find boys gym shoes in good condition? Good luck!
- Books – I know several other teachers at my school get almost all their classroom library books from garage sales. Not only does it save the teacher (and the school) so much money, but you can find a variety of books, genres and reading levels for super cheap! When most people buy books, they read the book once and then are done. Almost every garage sale I’ve been to has some sort of book section. It does take some time looking through the titles, but if you have the patience, you can find some classics, or some great new novels! Also, board books for the littles are popular to sell, so sometimes I grab one or two for my own kids.
- Storage containers – These are not very expensive to buy new in the store, and I often do that. But I’ve found some really cute, unique or just super cheap containers that will hold anything and everything. I’m always looking for tubs to hold my children’s outgrown clothes or a place to hold some toys. In my classroom, having tubs, buckets, and containers for everything from scissors and colored pencils to marbles to leftover owl pellets is a must (And yes, I do have a container of leftover owl pellets).
- Toys and games – Typically my son finds at least one thing he just loves at each garage sale. Typically, I let him pick just ONE thing that is less than a dollar or two. A truck, a new Minion sippy cup and a Nemo watch have been his latest finds. Board games and puzzles priced low (and with all the pieces) can be perfect for those rainy day recesses.
- Those random, yet perfect items that you weren’t expecting to find – It’s all worth it when you find that one thing. That thing that you didn’t know you were looking for, but found! Or that thing that you did not know existed until you saw it. For me, that was a camera tripod a few summers ago. My purpose for it wasn’t for a camera, but for a solar system lesson in my classroom. I think I bought it for $3 and I was expecting to have to pay close to $20. Awesome! My husband (who doesn’t garage sale much) happened to stumble upon landscaping rocks at a sale by our house. He had just started to fix up our backyard those were a perfect fit. Who knows what your treasure will be… a beautiful, antique tea set? A like-new piece of furniture? Something completely random for your classroom?
So get in the spirit of treasure hunting. The Greatness of Garage Sales is only truly great if you go out and search. Get some more use out of other people’s things. Start talking with your neighbors and learn more about those you live around.