My name is Brooke…

and I am a garage sale addict. It is in my blood. My mother was one before me and my daughters may have this affliction passed on to them. It is agony to pass a sign on a corner- pure agony. But there are the highs, too, the thrill you get from finding the “perfect” sale. Boys clothes, like new, for a quarter. Gap sweaters for fifty cents. A box full of vintage sewing goodies for two bucks. These just feed my addiction. Oh! What lovely bondage!

I spent five days with my Mom and we went rummage saling. It is always more fun to go with Mom. This has been a bonding experience for us since I was about eleven. I remember going occasionally before then, but around that time my family moved to LaCrosse, WI.  It was a big, beautiful house close to the campus and right in the center of garage sale heaven! Usually we made our rounds in an old, hatchback Citation.

The get-away car

You can fit a lot of stuff in a little car with a big trunk!I still have the wooden canopy bed we bought for $20. I used it up until a couple years ago. It is sitting in my basement waiting for my daughters to get a little bigger. 🙂 When the Citation wouldn’t start for us, we would head out on our bicycles. You couldn’t get as much in a bike basket, but it was still fun and you got your exercise, too! My own children seem to enjoy going out and perusing other peoples trash…errr..treasure.:)

Here are some tips I have learned from decades of hitting the sales:

  • Don’t waste your time with junky ones, especially if you have three or more children in car seats. It just isn’t worth it.
  • Check the papers and go when there are lots of them. City-wide sales or neighborhood wide ones are especially good! Take the paper with you!
  • Keep a list of things you are looking for in your purse…blender, sheets, glasses.  I try to keep a list of my children’s clothes and shoe sizes and what they will be needing in those sizes. Nothing is more frustrating than finding out in November that your child has 20 shirts and one pair of pants.  I hate spending $10 on something I could have gotten for $.25-$1.
  • Estate sales are wonderful if you need to stock up on household things. You can usually find linens, silverware, kitchen utensils, curtains and other lovely things at them. Go early,though, because the antique hunters are there the moment these open!
  • If you have small children make sure that they are well fed, rested and have been given a brief reminder of the rules of etiquette and good behavior. Mine love to go with me, so a warning that we will leave if they don’t shape up usually works well. Quit before everyone is overtired.
  • Strollers and/or baby carriers are a must for small children who might run into streets or play toss with fine crystal.
  • If you will be out all morning bring easy snacks and drinks for yourself and the little people.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask someone to come down on the price of something. The worst they can say is “No”. It is poor etiquette to ask someone to come down on everything you are buying.  The more you buy the more items you can dicker with someone about.
  • Have fun and enjoy meeting new people!



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