The World's Longest Yard Sale
Kristan Cunningham is on the lookout for that perfect item to add to Rach's studio shelves -- and what better place to look than the World's Longest Yard Sale! It covers four states (Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio) and 630 miles! With a sale this big, there's bound to be something for everyone -- if you know what to look for. Kristan offers these tips for yard sale buyers and sellers.
BEFORE YOU GO
Be prepared for any weather. Make sure you have a hooded rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to help keep the strong sun from baking you. And wear comfortable shoes!
Bring a toiletry bag. You'll be touching a lot of merchandise that may be dusty, or handled by many others, so bring paper towels, and liquid anti-bacterial hand sanitzer or gels (that do not require water).
Bring a large vehicle. You never know what you might find, including the perfect piece of furniture that you probably won't be able to carry home. Be sure to have rope, bungee cords and tarps for securing large items to your car or truck.
Pack your car with everything you might need. Make sure you have plastic bags, bubble wrap, newspaper and garbage bags. You will find multiple purposes for plastic garbage bags including using them to protect your car interior from mud and dust. Layering your unoccupied car seats, car floor, trunk or SUV storage area will help prevent staining the carpets and seats.
Bring extension cords and batteries. If you're looking to buy appliances or electronic devices, you'll want to test them before you buy (don't be afraid to ask the seller). If you don't, and something doesn't work when you get home, you're out of luck. Also, pack measuring tape, a small flashlight, magnifying glass, a small screwdriver and small plastic baggies.
Bring cash. You'll get the best deals with cold, hard cash.
Know where you're going ... and what you're getting. Pack a map and directions, and pick up an antique reference book or collector's guide so you'll know if you're getting a bargain, or just getting had.
AT THE YARD SALE
Know when to shop. If you're looking for good quality pieces, go first thing in the morning. For the best deals though, go back at the end of the day -- sellers aren't in a mindset to load up their trucks and haul stuff back home with them.
Be mindful of yard sale etiquette. Don't show up at a yard sale to shop at 5 a.m. if the sign says 7 a.m. If you're the seller and you posted 7 a.m. on the sign, be sure you're ready to start at 7 a.m.
"Best offer" equals room to negotiate. Know when you can negotiate: It's only an estate sale if someone has died. In this situation, the family is going to liquidate the assets and they have set prices -- you're not going to be able to haggle. But if it's a yard sale, you can haggle all you want. "However," Kristan advises, "If a seller takes a third or a half off the price, stop haggling. It becomes insulting after that point."
Check items for markings. This is when having a reference guide comes in handy; items could be more valuable than you think.
Sniff before you buy. Kristan says she always sniffs books and fabrics before she buys to make sure they don't have a musty odor.
When looking at furniture, always check drawers and doors. Make sure they shut, or that they're not stuck or rickety.
Check inside boxes of miscellaneous items. You might find something rare like a doorknob or something else you've been looking for in a bin of random pieces.
Buy cool wooden boxes to wrap gifts in. If you see interesting boxes for sale, Kristan suggests using these to dress up affordable gifts at gift giving time. "I find that you can buy the smallest insignificant nothing, but if you put it in a reallty cool box, people think it's a great gift!"
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