Saturday, July 26, 2008

I love garage sales!

This year, the garage sales acquisitions have been sparse but fruitful. For example, I can visit five garage sales on a Saturday (my usual bargain hunting day) and leave them all feeling like I wasted my time. Other times, I find several useful or wanted items (although I was unable to find a used, functional watering can for the garden). With my vow to buy clothing secondhand plus the need to find gifts for seven going on nine nieces and nephews, garage sales visits are important to me. I have a limited budget for gift giving, and I am interested in seeing how much used clothing I can purchase in my size.

How has this year treated me? Better than I expected in the clothing realm. There is a certain satisfaction in wearing an item purchased for only 25 cents (a shirt, nightgown and two pairs of knit shorts for a total of $1 at nearby city-wide garage sale). Usually if I find a garage sale with clothing in my size, I purchase multiple items. However, it is rare to find both items in my size and clothing I like. Still, I am proud of my $1.25 denim capri pants and like to have more shirts to wear for working outdoors (50 cents a piece). I recently found a garage sale that I had patronized a year ago and found clothing in my size. Not only did I find more items to purchase (a lovely purple sweater for winter, looked new for only $2), but I found a t-shirt for one of my nephews.

Since I know some of the clothing sizes for my nieces and nephews, I have been looking for low-wear items. Oddly enough, only my niece who is ready to move into the size 6 clothes is the only one with clothing-based gifts. With the exception of the t-shirt I just found, I have been unable to find clothing for my nephews or older niece. Where is the size 12 girl's clothing anyway? While it has been feast or famine, I have been able to find books and games for my assorted relatives of a diminuative size. Some show more wear than others, but all tell great stories (with no commercial hook like Disney) or explore skills all children need to learn. My stock supply of gifts is back where I like to be and means I do not have worry about spending money around Christmas time for the children.

In addition, I have been looking for gardening tools and just found a Garden Claw for $7. It will be nice to break the soil into smaller bits before planting. Or I may find I do not need it. Either way, I did not want to buy the tool new. My trusty shovel does most of the soil work, but mixing in compost, manure or other soil amendments is not easy. I am still hoping to find a few more gardening items before the end of the garage sale season.

At the beginning of the garage sale season, I made a list of items I wanted to find and have fulfilled about half the list. Of course, I always find other things I do not need, but decided were useful or I could put to use. There is always room in my spending plan for finding a few extras like a human-powered lawn edger and a small storage container. In fact, I consider garage sales part of my entertainment for the week and enjoy finding that great bargain.

Why do you shop at garage sales?

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