Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 7, 2016

I'd rather be garage saling

By Steph Tahtinen

By STEPH TAHTINEN

Mt. Pleasant News

‘Tis the season for garage sales.

For the past week or so I’ve been sitting at work overhearing people place garage sale ads. It’s gotten me very excited for my favorite season — garage sale season.

Garage saling is somewhat of a hobby in my family. Pretty much every Saturday during the garage sale season you would find my family heading out to see what the surrounding area had to offer. We wouldn’t just go to one or two sales, either. We made an event out of it.

The day or so before, my parents would peruse the classifieds, marking the sales that looked interesting. We’d plot out our route to make the best use of our time. We’d then start out bright and early Saturday morning with a map of the sales we intended to hit and beverages and snacks in the car to keep us going. We would often go all day long until the sales were over.

Of course, we’d often find sales that weren’t on our map, but we’d stop anyway. Mom, my sister and I were always on the lookout for signs and we’d shout out to Dad when we spotted one. I remember many times hearing my mom bemoan the presence of political signs, as at first glance they are easily confused with garage sale signs.

Over the years, I’ve picked up many tips on how to make sure your signs are seen. First, make sure it’s legible. Messy handwriting in black marker on a tiny cardboard sign is not going to be easily read by a passing car. Second, make sure it’s visible. Bright neon paper works well. Small cardboard signs close to the ground are easily overlooked. Finally, keep it simple. You do not need to write a novel on the sign. Rather, simply the words “Garage Sale” with an arrow pointing in the direction the vehicle should travel will work. That’s all we really need to know, after all.

I remember one time my aunt and uncle came to visit and we spent a Saturday garage saling. They bought one of those outdoor plastic snowman decorations that’s about 3 feet tall for $1. We were traveling in my mom’s car and the trunk was already full, so the snowman came into the backseat with me and either my aunt or uncle — I can’t remember which. This was fairly early on in the trip, so for the rest of the day the snowman was sitting in the middle of the back seat, looking like a fifth passenger on our garage sale journey.

That’s the fun thing about garage sales: You never know what you’ll find. You could come home at the end of the day empty handed, or you could come home with a trunk full of things you never knew you needed. It’s much more of a treasure hunt than shopping at a retail store, and cheaper too.

Garage saling has ruined retail shopping for me. I very rarely buy things brand new, because I know that if I just wait awhile and put it on my “to look for” list, I can eventually find it at either a garage sale or a thrift store for much cheaper than new. Plus, then it’s more exciting of a find, because it’s not one of 20 identical items sitting on the shelf.

So, while some girls may like hanging out at the mall all day, I’d rather be garage saling. It’s a way of life for me, and I’m excited it’s that time of year again. Although I’m a little sad that for the first time in my life I won’t be sharing this ritual with my parents, I’m viewing it as another step into adulthood.

I’ve already been to one sale, and I’m sure that in the coming weeks I’ll be going to more as the number of sales increases. I’ve already dug through my closet to find my garage saling purse (yes, I have a special purse for when I go garage saling). I’m looking forward to pulling out the classfieds and a map of the county to figure out where I want to go.

Let the garage saling begin!