Garage sale season turns yards into bargain wonderlands

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If May inspires spring cleaning, June garage sales are sure to finish the job. Throughout the month, handmade signs plastered on telephone poles point towards driveways and lawns decorated with old furniture, books and CDs.

“It’s nice to see the little three-year-olds dragging their new, big toys off to the car,” says Glenn Rolph, whose own children have outgrown the toys he recently spread across his lawn.

Whether you’re an early bird mapping out the sales or just a casual passerby, you can never be sure how good a sale is going to be until you arrive. A Craigslist ad can make tattered toys sound like a bevy of nostalgic goods, and balloons tied to a street sign can promise more than the pile of stained cookbooks offered around the corner.

Seasoned hagglers watch for ads with prize items. At east one item is often highlighted for its uniqueness or price, though it is often more odd than unique. Perhaps you’ve been looking for a used water cooler or bunk bed? Three car tires? Maybe a cane?

The promise of lemonade and cookies, on the other hand, offers at least some kind of guarantee. Always tempting on a hot day, refreshments can redeem a sale that might have little else to offer.

The cause for the garage sale is often indicative of the quality, selection and prices you will find there. For someone having a moving sale, clearing out junk is more important than making money. They will often choose lower price points. Neighbourhood yard sales are promising in that more homes yield more goods. With any luck, you’ll come across a lamp you are partial to or a stack of old comics for a couple of coins.

Another breed of garage sale is the altruistic sale. On May 19, a group of girls from Lansdowne Middle School organized and hosted a weekend yard sale in their neighbourhood to raise money for the World Wildlife Fund. A young man named Jarod Waters has put on garage sales to raise more than $3 000 over the past three years for Victoria Hospice after being inspired by his neighbour’s fight with cancer.

Watch Craigslist, Used Victoria and Kijiji for garage sales in your neighbourhood this spring to find items at great prices.

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