Baby strollers, barely burned candles, fragile old glass ornaments packed in egg cartons.
Around these parts, we love the hunt and the scavenge for the next great bargain. We’ve got good rummage around here and we know how to shop it.
Whatever you call them — rummage sales, thrift sales, garage sales or the hoity toity Martha Stewart preference for tag sales — we’ve got them by the hundreds. Open the paper to the Classifieds and feast your eyes, shoppers. Captured in newsprint complete with abbreviations such as antq and vntg, this is the road map to your adventure in rummage.
Never done this before? Then you must be from New York City or Boston where folks maybe haven’t discovered the odd appeal of other people’s castoffs. But it’s not too late to start. Get over your aversion to other people’s germs and get your hands dirty. There’s a world of barely-used out there and it’s just waiting for a discerning eye.
Sally Berekvam of Holmen and Kim Mixon of La Crosse have discerning eyes, though they have very different approaches to the hunt. Sally likes to go to the last day of the sale where she will likely snap up a damaged piece of furniture for pennies that she and husband Steve can turn back into a jewel. Kim will only go to first-day sales because she wants first pick. And she goes early, at 7 a.m., because she figures everything is picked over by 10 a.m.
Mary Martha Dust of Fountain City, Wis., likes a bargain. She doesn’t care if you have a sentimental attachment to the quilt made by your great aunt — just give her a great deal.
Sandy Erdman of Winona said planning your route is job one. She googles addresses so she’s driving the most efficient route. And get there early but don’t be a boor. “If it is meant to be mine, it will be there,” she said.
Renee Martin of Prairie du Chien, Wis., said she’ll turn around and walk out of your garage if your items aren’t marked.
When it comes to throwing a garage sale, they don’t get any more savvy than Lois Gardner. She’s been having sales at her place in Viroqua since 1969 when she convinced her four girls that they didn’t need all those dolls.
“With a little talk about clutter, I persuaded them that we’d have a rummage sale and they could use the money for school clothes, etc.”
That’s when Gardner discovered the magic of old.
“We couldn’t believe that a couple of women would nearly fight over the dolls. The girls thought the money was better than the dolls that they longer played with.”
Gerald Kann thinks he’s thought up a new way to make money at garage sales.
“Some anxious rummages leave their car running while running through (the garage). Tongue in cheek, I suggest we charge 25 cents or 50 cents to look and that will get applied to whatever they purchase.”
Whatever your style, people, rummage sale season is finally here, so get out there and grab the bargains.