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Here’s my strategy to have the most organized and efficient yard sale (garage sale, tag sale, estate sale, flea market) hunt.

I start on a Thursday night….  Why Thursday you ask?  Lately I’m finding that many people in the capital region are hosting their yard sales on Fridays as well as over the weekend.  There are two schools of thought.  Go on Friday to get the best selection before things are picked over, or go on Sunday when you think people will drop their prices the lowest because they don’t want to have to pack their things back up.

Research

Go online to the Times Union (or whatever your local paper may be) and go to their garage and estate sale section and copy and paste the ads I’d be interested in to a word document.  I also check Craig’s List and do the same thing.  As I’m doing this I try to group them all to geographic areas.  Check out  sales in more affluent areas.  People in these areas tend to replace things more often with higher quality items.  Though if you’re looking for antiques and vintage items you might do better in an older area of homes with retirees, etc.

How do I get there?

I put the addresses into a program such as Rand McNally, Map Quest, or Google Maps.  I use the “add additional location” feature that most mapping websites now offer.  I put in the addresses of the sales I’d like to visit.  Once they’re in the program and the pins are placed on the map, I can sort them by the best order to visit them.  I don’t want to be driving north and then south and back north again.  With gas hovering at $3/gallon I try to be smart about things and not be driving in all different directions.  Once I have a route planned I number the ads in the order I want to visit them.  I highlight the address and the hours of the yard sale.  When I’m in my car I program all the addresses into my GPS unit.  My Garmin has a “recently found” feature to make it easy to go to each address on my list.
**While writing this I discovered a cool site called Yard Sale Treasure Map that looks pretty cool for mapping routes as well.  I tried it out over the weekend and it works well, but if you want to modify the route or the order based on the time a yard sale is ending, I don’t believe it let’s you do this.  I’m still learning though….**

What do I bring with me and my interesting way to “haggle”?


I tend to bring a small tape measure, a note pad and pen, in a small purse or wallet with me. Other items that might be a good idea are sunglasses, sunblock, bubble wrap for fragile items, shopping bags, a couple of bottles of water, and some hand wipes for grimy items and to wipe your hands when they dirty.  I try to have small bills if possible and also load a small handful of change in the bottom.  I keep larger bills in a separate section of the wallet.  On more than one occasion while paying at a yard sale I’ve owed the person $10 – as I start pulling out singles, by the time I get up to $7 or $8 they say “that’s good enough, don’t worry about it.”  I just saved $2 or $3 without even saying a word.

Some people suggest picking out everything you’d like and then make them an offer on the lot of things.  If it adds up to $15 you could nicely ask them if they’d accept $12 for it all.  Have $12 in your hand when you ask – nobody wants to see you stuff that money back into your pocket if they say no.  If you have a $20 in your hand they’re less apt to drop their price, so bringing small bills is always a good idea.

Another way to get a good price is this one – if you’re buying a woman’s item wait until the wife is distracted and ask the husband and if it’s a male’s item wait until the husband is distracted and ask the wife.  If they’re not emotionally attached to the item, the opposite spouse is apt to give you a lower price to just get rid of the item.  Also they might not know the value of the item either.  I scored an authentic Coach purse for $3 this way once 😉

If you’re going to yard sales with your kids, have them pay for the purchases.  Many times people don’t like to take money from kids so they tell them to just take it, or they reduce the price.  Plus helps teach your kids how to handle money.

If you see an items that you’d like, but it’s priced higher than you’d like, you may try giving the yard sale host/hostess your name and number or a business card.  Tell them you’d like the item but don’t want to pay that much.  If they don’t sell it by the end of the day and would drop the price to give you a call.  You’ve got nothing to lose right?

I am not one to haggle.  It’s not in my nature.  I did have a situation which became humorous.  The person had an attachment for a Kitchen Aid mixer.  I asked how much they wanted for it.  (For the record I can’t stand it when people don’t put prices on their items.  I don’t like feeling like they change the price based on the appearance or actions of the person who asks)  When she told me $25 I said thank you and put the box back on the table.  She asked me how much I thought it should be.  I told her “I don’t know, but I can’t afford $25 right now.”  She kept pushing me “What would you be willing to pay?”  Finally I told her $7 or $8.  When she asked her husband he said “I paid like $40 for it and it’s never been used.”  I assured her it was fine, I respected that he wanted more for it, I just couldn’t afford it.  She went back and told her about my $7-$8 comment and he said “Well I really don’t want to pack it back into my garage so just give it to her for that.”  And that’s how I got it for $7.  I didn’t haggle, I didn’t intend to haggle, but by being honest and friendly I found a treasure.

Things to keep in mind.

Wood furniture can be refinished or repainted.  Last summer I got an end table, a plant stand, and two night stands.  I painted the plant stand and two night stands, put new hardware on the night stands and they look awesome!!  I recently picked up a desk – I’m still on the fence if I want to refinish it or if I want to paint it.

Smell things.  I know this kind of sounds silly, but if you’re a non-smoker buying something from a smoker’s home you might not be happy in the long run.  When you’re outside in the sun, it’s not always apparent unless you get up close and personal with the item.  Keep this in mind for books too.

If you’re looking for something specific ASK.  You could get lucky.  It’s possible the person has what you’re looking for in their basement and they didn’t think to put it out in their yard sale until you mentioned it.  Hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask right?

Be careful buying glass items.  I’ve learned to remove the price tag because on more than one occasion it was covering a chip or crack in the item.

Make sure you get what you pay for.  People have been known to buy a replacement item and place their old item in the old items box, so make sure you open the box to make sure what’s on the box picture is what’s really in there.

Check DVDs and CDs for scratches.  Also make sure you’re not buying Sponge Bob’s Greatest Hits and get home to find a slasher movie in it, etc.

Be friendly.  It’s more fun that way.

Things to keep in mind if you’re hosting a yard sale.

Stick to your times.  I cannot stress this enough!!!  There is nothing more frustrating than driving 15 miles and finding out you packed up your yard sale 3 hours early!

Take down your signs after.  As I’m driving around to the advertised sales, I always keep my eyes open for yard sale signs at the end of streets.  If your yard sale is over though, take down your sign so people like me don’t go on a wild goose chase looking for a yard sale that’s not going on!

Don’t try to get $5 for an item that has the Target price tag on it that says you got it for $1.50.

Do you like going to yard sales?
If so, do you have a strategy?
Have you had any cool finds?

Please comment and subscribe.

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Where's our Destination?

So tonight I was working on making ride plans for our motorcycle club No Destination.  If you’re local to Round Lake, NY and ride motorcycles you should check it out.  All types of bikes are welcome.  We have Harley’s, Sport Bikes, Yamaha’s, Suzuki’s, Triumph’s, Victory’s, choppers, etc….  (By the way, they have a Facebook page now – check it out)

No Desination

Anyway, back to the ride plans…  I use the Harley Davidson Ride Planner to map out the rides.  The program can be frustrating to say the least.  It does help to check the “Avoid Highways” box.   Every time you drag the route to a different road it creates a waypoint along the ride.  By the end of the ride it tells you 10 times to “continue on route 9.”  It’s annoying if you’re trying to condense the ride to one page.

Moving on – Do any of you in the northeast have any good destinations to ride to?  We need rides within an hour radius of The Mill in Round Lake, NY for our weekly rides as well as some rides further out for weekend rides.

Do you have ride ideas for us?
And if you know good roads to get there (that aren’t highways) it’s even better!!

Thanks for all your help.
Please comment and subscribe.

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Tracks

What the hell, I’m going to publish this at 5:30AM instead of 9:15 AM.  Forgive the spacing, WordPress keeps changing where I put everything!!!!

New Hamburg Train Station

This past Thursday January 21, 2010 Michael & I went to NYC because I won tickets to go see Cavo & Joshua Radin at The Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square.  We decided to get up early (well early for us anyway) and drive down to New Hamburg, NY to catch the Metro North train from there into Grand Central Terminal.  On the train ride down we passed Bannerman Castle.  I had recently seen something on the news about it and it looks like it could be really cool to visit if they can get the place restored….

On the train ride down there my good friend Dave from high school started texting me.  He goes into the city all the time so I asked him where we could find good NYC Pizza.  He referred us to Two Boots on the lower level of Grand Central Terminal.  Michael had a slice that had sopressata and sweet Italian sausage on it which he loved.  I kept it simple with a slice of Sicilian with some plum tomatoes and fresh mozzarella on it.  Thanks Dave for the help 🙂

Bryant Park

Once we got lunch out-of-the-way we decided to start wandering around the city.  So I checked out my handy-dandy Inside Out Map of NYC to get us going in the right direction and off we went.  (Inside Out Maps are AWESOME!  They’re a bit smaller than a paperback book and the map just flips open and everything you need is right there.  They also have a built-in pen and compass.  We decided to head towards Times Square and wander around there because that’s where we needed to be for the concert.  On the way there we passed through Bryant Park which was kind of cool for me because I’ve watched Project Runway lately and that’s where New York Fashion Week takes place.

Hershey Store

Checking out the pastel M&Ms

Once we got to the Times Square area, we went to Godiva, The Times Square Hershey Store, and M&M World.  Yes, yes, yes we went to NYC to buy chocolate!!  We got a few truffles at Godiva.  We got some York Pieces and Almond Joy Pieces at Hershey’s.  We ended up not buying anything at M&M World but we had a fun time exploring the store and taking pictures.  They have this thing that you stand in that scans you to tell you what color your favorite M&M is.  Mine came back White because I’m so kind.  I let out a big laugh with that one 🙂

Looking at puppy shirts....

Hanging with the M&M Monkey


I was thrilled when they told me that they had a puppy section.  They had some cute stuff, but they were kinda overpriced, and didn’t look like they’d fit Bella well, so we didn’t get one….  We did end up getting her a squeaky yellow guitar at The Hard Rock Cafe later in the evening though.  We’re going to give it to her next time her Daddy and her Uncle Shawn play Guitar Hero or Rock Band because she likes to squeak along to the music….

The Late Show

We walked over to the Ed Sullivan Theater where they film The Late Show with David Letterman.  There was a HUGE line of people outside waiting to get inside for filming.  I think they were on stand by because we walked by a short time later and heard them announce that they had everyone they could use for the day and “Better Luck Next Time.”

Times Square

We went to Dave & Buster’s for dinner.  (I know, not somewhere most people would pick in NYC, but we had fun)  We had a nice dinner and then we played some trivia and a couple other games.  All in all we ended up with 1,070 tickets.  We ended up not cashing them in.  We’ll hold them until next time we go there and hopefully get something nicer.  I could have gotten a shirt or something, but I wouldn’t wear it so we’ll wait….

After dinner we decided that we’d had enough walking (my feet were KILLING me) so we went over to The Hard Rock Cafe and got in line for the Cavo & Joshua Radin concert.  After about 20 minutes someone came out and asked all the people who had VIP Meet & Greet tickets to form a separate line.  Everyone from the line moved to the new line except for us and two guys behind us.  Michael joked with the guy in charge “Come on, you can’t take 4 more can ya?”  Angelo from Sony Music said “What the hell, when you get to the table tell them Angelo said it was okay.”  So in we went.  Honestly I’m not a real “star-struck” type.  I never know what to say to them and usually end up saying something stupid.  That night was no exception.  While talking to Joshua Radin I said “Well I know you’re not supposed to say Good Luck to performers so how about break a string?”  I thought it was amusing instead of break a leg.  Luckily he DIDN’T break a string that night.  Joshua and the members of Cavo were all really nice guys.  After the meet and greet we were able to get a table with a nice view of the stage and we invited the two guys who were in line with us to join us.  We had a nice conversation and a great time at the concert.

Joshua Radin playing in the crowd

After the concert we went back to Grand Central Terminal to catch out train back to New Hamburg.  Boy were we tired!  We finally got home around 3AMish I think.  Thankfully Shawn was able to stay at the house with Bella because she probably would have freaked out if she was left alone that long.  I’ve gotta admit – we’ve spoiled her a bit when it comes to attention and companionship….  She was thrilled when we got home 🙂

Bella with her Baby Puppy

HUGE THANK YOU’S GO OUT TO UNCLE SHAWN!!!

I hope you all enjoyed this.
Please subscribe in the upper right and then drop me a comment and tell me what your favorite thing to do in NYC is, or if you’ve never been there tell me what you’d love to see if you ever visited there.

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