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‘Garage/ Rummage/ Book Sales’ Category

  1. Someone’s Trash Is Someone Else’s Treasure

    June 15, 2014 by admin


    Garage sale season is in full swing.  One of our favorite things is when an entire neighborhood chooses to hold a sale.  Then we can just park our bikes, or our cars, and walk from house to house as we search for goodies.

    Recently, we rode our bicycles down to nearby Marquette.  It was a beautiful, sunny day and lots of items called out to us from driveways and grassy lawns.  AndIMG_6374 then we found it!  A waffle maker.  Plum had been asking for a waffle maker for quite some time but the we just couldn’t justify the expense.  At $1 and a reassurance from the seller that it worked perfectly (not always a guaranty), we picked up a Toastmaster Belgian Waffler – directions included!

    We’d never made waffles from scratch.  We searched out a recipe for the batter and then greased and warmed up our waffler.  Around 3 minutes after pouring in the batter, our first waffle was ready. Delicious!

    A simple garage sale find has allowed us to expand our breakfast offerings, to the particular delight of our Plum.  We can’t wait to experiment with all sorts of waffle variations.


  2. Sale Score: The Warriors Series

    July 21, 2012 by admin

    We go to a lot of garage sales and find a lot of great things.  But many times we only give books at Garage Sales a quick glance.  This is mostly due to our honed skill at working bag book sales to our advantage.  Plopping down $2 for one book at a garage sale is expensive to us and we’re not usually willing to do it.

    So it was no surprise that Mom and the kids walked past a small table of books at the Maple Bluff Town-wide garage sale with barely a peek.

    But as Dad rushed past to catch up with the family, one of the books caught his eye: Warriors.  Plum has been devouring this series.  She has been picking them up at sales, checking them out at the libe, and buying them at Barnes&Noble.  And she’s on the waiting list for several titles at our local library.

    The dad and daughter selling the books seemed friendly, so I stopped to quickly ask the going price.  “A dollar a piece,” said the dad.  But as I ran to catch up with Plum I heard him shout, “We can make you a deal!”

    Returning with Plum, she was astonished to see her favorite series on the table.  $6 later a very happy Plum had 8 books of her beloved Warriors series in hardback and in great condition.  Mom and Dad are thrilled as retail price for these books in hardcover hovers around $13.  What a savings!

    Always keep an eye out for life’s surprises.

  3. Just Peeking: The AAUW Book Sale, Monona, WI

    July 15, 2012 by admin

    We were so excited to go to another booksale.  We love ’em and we always find something good.  But when we saw the price for the AAUW bag-sale was $5, we thought: “Ugh.  That’s a lot.  We must have misread the website.”  Normally, we don’t do bag sales that are over $4.

    But we were there and Bluey wanted to go in.  We decided we could look, but not buy.  We do that all the time on our smaller jaunts to the farm store and such.  It should work here too, right?


    We ended up with a $5 bag of books.  How’d that happen?  Well, we saw two things immediately that we knew we’d enjoy greatly: 1) a stack of eight Mad Magazine paperbacks- perfect for a rainy day or a car bag, and 2) a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  We’ve been slowly picking up the Potters at various book sales in anticipation that one or both of our youngest kids will read them eventually. 

    The Deathly Hallows, last of the series, would be hard to find.  This has been true for every series we have tried to track down.  For every Return of The King you find at a sale, you’ll see at least five copies of The Fellowship.   More people buy the start of a series than the end, so there are more copies of the first volumes around.

    We didn’t want to end up paying retail for the Deathly Hallows later, so it alone made the $5 bag worth it.

    Add in the MAD Magazine books, a bunch of Peanuts and a few other treats, and we made our money spent.

    It’s always worth it to take a look.

  4. Where’d you get that?

    June 15, 2012 by admin

    We have found that Church/Rummage sales are frequently the best place to find bizarre toys (see picture- we still haven’t identified this find!), kitchen items, and funky clothing.

    Garage sales are good for furniture, kids clothes, and recreational items (like skis).  They can also be a good place to find standard toys and books, though not always at the best prices.  Once you’ve been to a few book sale bag days, even 50 cents will seem like too much for most books (see Book’em Danno!).

    Flea markets are a gold mine for vintage toys, antique furniture, and wacky items (like jars of buttons or a collection of rusty weather vanes).  The downside to a flea market is that depending on the vendor, they might not bargain.  Prices can be steeper at flea markets.  You may also run into someone selling brand name items at store prices (or even higher than store prices).

    One of our stranger rummage sale finds.

    Tip:  You can use if you happen to live in our State.

  5. Goin’ to the Chapel

    June 10, 2012 by admin

    Why go to Church Rummage sales?  If you have kids, grandkids, or young relatives you will find these sales are a great way to pick up toys and clothing for well below store prices.  And you can find fantastic pieces of furniture or kitchen items for bargain prices!  We use Fiesta Ware dishes in our home.  A store purchased single plate table setting of Fiesta Ware can run you $25.  But you can find plates in perfect condition at these sales for $1 dollar.

    Other benefits:

    • You’ll find the unusual:
      • Weird kitchen gadgets and kitschy stuff
      • Funky Clothes
      • Vintage toys at bargain prices
    • School age kids can:
      • Learn to haggle
      • Learn how to decide if you really need that plush pink bear
      • Learn how to keep track of their money
      • Get exercise running from sale to sale.

    So get out and go!  Here is a listing of some of our favorite area sales:

  6. Get me to the church on time!

    May 25, 2012 by admin

    Planning a good Rummaging trip:

    If you want the good stuff, get out there early!  We have never experienced a sale that opens later than 10am on a Saturday – and that is considered a very late start (we hit these late ones on our way home!) You have to plan for starts as early as 7:00am.  We prepare the night ahead for the greatest success.

    We start at craigslist to find sales that look good to us by searching in our city for “rummage sale” and “garage sale.”   We then use googlemaps (yahoo maps, and mapquest work too!) to coordinate our entire route of sale hopping so there is no confusion about where to head next.  We can also use our route to plan alternate stops—if things start going downhill, we can go get a breakfast snack, walk through a good park, or stop at Target.

    We make sure we have cash on hand (including $1 bills) as most sales won’t accept checks or credit cards.  Cash makes it easier to haggle, too.  It’s hard to convince someone to sell you their $5 bookshelf for $3 when you are standing there with a fiver in your hand.

    It is our experience that church rummage sales are notorious for advertising a specific start time for the sale but actually opening their doors at least ½ hour ahead of time.  Garage sales and flea markets seem to react the least kindly to early arrivals.  Many ads for garage sales specify “No Early Birds!”  That said, we highly recommend that you arrive right on time (doors open) for the best selections.  We’ve seen rummage sales with only bits and pieces remaining a ½ hour after the start of the sale.

    The flip side is that you can also plan to arrive late for the best prices.  People are most willing to negotiate (we’ll discuss pricing and haggling in a later post) as the sale is winding down.  And the ‘Free” box tends to grow as the sale winds down.  We think of Grandma, who drove a hard bargain at a garage sale:  “If you won’t meet my price, you can just carry that back to your basement.”

    But remember that not everything is a bargain.  Even things in the Free Box aren’t worth it if those items just add to your junk pile.

  7. Book’em Danno!

    May 19, 2012 by admin

    Book sales are so much fun!  Our kids love going with us to uncover a new collection of great books.  It’s a family hobby for us.

    There are a lot of sales out there.  But which ones are worthy?

    We don’t waste our time going to library book sales that don’t offer a bag day.  If we stumble upon a book sale, we’ll check it out.  But we organize specific travel to the library book sale bag days.  During that time, you can stuff as many grocery bags as you wish chock full of books for around $2 – $5 per bag.   We let every family member have their own bag to stuff.  We generally don’t leave these sales with less than 4 overflowing bags of books.

    Most places will let you bring your own bags!  We take our supply of cloth/plastic reusable ones.  They are sturdy, hold more books than paper, and are much easier to carry when full!  If you fill a paper bag with books, the odds are low you will get it all the way home without tearing it.


    Be sure to check out our favorite source for book sales: