19 June 2009

Alright, so I've been quite delinquent in posting ANYTHING about ANYTHING for almost an entire week. Sheesh. Before another Saturday creeps up on me (tomorrow is actually my neighborhood-wide yard sale - I'm not selling, just shopping), I have some matters of business to address.

First and foremost, I want to thank all of you who took the time to let me know that the Starbucks coffee grinder I bought at a yard sale last weekend (new in the box for $3!) has been recalled. It's great to know that we've got folks looking out for us! You think Starbucks will care if I bought it at a yard sale?

Next, I realize that yet another week has gone by without me sharing any more about my mystery project which is requiring me to stockpile scrap fabric, bed sheets and shower curtains. Truth is, I'm out of fabric that I want to use for this particular project, so I'm waiting (and hoping) to find more this weekend in people's front lawns. But, since you all have been so patient (or, quite frankly, maybe you don't care!), I thought it would be right to give you a (rather revealing) sneak peek at my little endeavor. Can you guess what I'm doing with all this fabric?

Third, I want to share a photo of what our little guy is up to as I write this post. Digging is perhaps the most important thing in the world to him. Well, next to eating. Yesterday he had some work done at the pediatric dentist and we are absolutely loving the results! He's got four new top front teeth because his existing teeth weren't cutting it (literally) with eating and they were constantly slicing through his little lips and tongue. Check out his handsome little toddler grille:

Finally, I have loved all of the comments and questions y'all have been sending my way. I've been getting lots of questions about garage sale etiquette and strategies. So, if I may, allow me to outline a few of my own methods (and they may vary from person to person and even by geographical region) in order to equip you for the weekend ahead:
  1. How do you know where to shop? I like to target neighborhood-wide sales in order to maximize my time. Usually I find one or two neighborhood sales for a Saturday and stop at individual sales on my way to and from (I like to take different routes each way if I can, with the hope of finding more sales). I always hit Craigslist the night before (the later the better so you can see the most recent listings) to get a good idea of what's going on where. (Note: Craigslist is awesome and very useful in the Nashville area for things like finding garage sales and buying furniture. Some areas do not have a local Craigslist.)
  2. Do you always pay sticker price? That depends on what the sticker says. :) There is a fine line between getting a bargain and offending a person. One huge factor is time of day. If I'm at someone's sale first thing in the morning, I won't expect to talk them down much on an item. But, if I'm at a sale at 10:00 or later that morning, I know they're just anxious to get on with their day and that they'll likely be hauling everything to Goodwill in an hour or so. I'm bolder then.
  3. Do you haggle? If so, how? One of the best ways to get a great deal - especially if you're nervous about coming right out and asking for a price lower than the sticker says - is buying in bulk. Kids clothes are an easy example of this. If boys clothes are marked $.50 each and I find 7 things that I think will work well for Oliver (I buy up to 2 sizes larger than what he's wearing, especially since it's hard to know how he'll grow in the winter), I would take my pile of items to the seller, show them and say, "Would you take $2 for these?" Generally, they're thrilled to be having 7 fewer things at their sale and accept the offer with gusto. Other times, they may say, "How about $2.50?" and then it's your call. Generally, it's not about the $.50 so much as the fun of everyone feeling like they're getting a deal. It's great to leave a transaction where both parties are feeling happy with the exchange.
  4. How do you find such great things? Patience. I keep a mental (and sometimes physical) list of the items I'm looking to find over the course of the summer. I'm currently looking for interesting fabrics in any form, a bicycle with training wheels for Oliver, a new coffee table for our living room, toys to tuck away for rainy days (we keep toys on a rotating cycle at our house, only the real keepers stick around more than a few months), new patio furniture, and so on. It may take me all summer to come across a patio set I like, and that's worth the wait for me.
  5. What are some good things to look for at garage sales? I have a few staple items that I love to find. Candles and planters are two of them, though there definitely comes a point where being selective is very important. If I bought every candle and every planter I saw I'd be in a bad way right now. I've definitely grabbed up new yankee candles and painted ceramic or concrete planters at some excellent prices. I think it's also great to buy things like garden hoses, orange extension cords, miracle grow, weed killer, and really anything that is new in it's box and not expired that you would have to buy for your family anyway (See Christine's "tuck-and-run" moment when she bought eleven bottles of multi-purpose contact solution for $1 apiece.) It's always great to be able to save money for your family!
Okay, I think that's it. Dangerous coffee grinders, mysterious fabric projects, toothy grins and garage sale tips. Yep, it's all here.

Can't wait to see what you all find tomorrow! Happy hunting!


Molly said...

Oh, a rag rug! Am I right? I'm working on a crocheted one right now for Peanut's room. Fun, fun!

Thanks for the yard saleing tips! How about I just tell you what I want and you can ship everything to me? LOL

Melanie said...

great tips! thanks for sharing!

Tracy said...

hey! Is that a rag rug? If it is, can you let me know where you got directions to make one? i'm thinking about cutting up some spit-up stained baby clothes and making something in that fashion. Maybe a changing pad or something...

Michelle said...

I have never been a garage sale shopper but I have had many garage sales. The bargains intrigue me but I find we already have too much stuff and have finally minimized so I hate to start buying up stuff that is simply a good bargain.

Good luck this weekend!

Elle, Audrey and Alyssa said...

I love that picture of Oliver. I think he looks a lot more like you as he's getting older. Thanks so much for the baby formula!

Amy said...

Thanks for all the great tips. I used to go out with my mom to garage sales but haven't been out looking for them for the longest time. After seeing all your great finds, I am excited to go out looking tomorrow. You may have just got me hooked again! =-)

That is also an adorable picture of Oliver!

Happy shopping tomorrow!

Meredith said...

I'm thinking I need to go hit up some garage sales to furnish my new house. Thanks for all the tips, happy shopping!

Amy said...

As said by a previous commentor, you have to let us all know what directions you are following for the rag rug! Can't wait to add my findings to Mr. Linky tomorrow!

Be Blessed,


Brittanie said...

My mother has made a rag rug before, but I haven't. What sized pieces do you need? It might be a good use for my own sewing extras...

Sewconsult said...

What fabric are you using?
Color? all prints?
content (100% cottons?)
Size of scraps?

I will go through my stash & donate to the project. I can mail them to you down the road.
Beckie in Brentwood, TN

Amy said...

Hey. I came over from MckMama's blog and love your writing and am touched by your family's story.

Okay, I think I might have an idea of what you are cooking up: a knot blanket???

Happy Saling tomorrow!!

Christine said...

I'm glad O's "new" teeth are working out. I prayed for him whenever I thought of him on Thursday. What a trooper!

I have had to skip garage sales for 2 weeks now. I'm going through withdrawal. Pleasepleaseplease, can we go when we're there in July???

And I'm with Tracy--a tag rug. Hmm.

Kameron said...

I so wanted to go garage saling today but a bridal shower and a birthday party took precedence. :o( I really hope to participate with awesome finds next week! rag rug is a great idea. Is it hard to make? I have tons of leftover fabric that I could do that with!