Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ya'll come on down......

Yard Sales in the south are as traditional as sweet tea and fried green tomatoes. Here in Alabama, yard and garage sales can be found about 9 months out of the year. Bargain hunters young and old, embark in search of clothing, toys, furnishings, and sundries that the owner no longer wishes to keep. Proving the old adage that “one man’s trash is another mans treasure.”

The discriminating hunter can find antiques and bargains galore. Some items are beautifully displayed, some are merely tossed haphazardly on blankets on the ground. Still others are found in  stacks of plastic totes or cardboard boxes.  My key advice is dress comfortably and be prepared to dig.

Comfort is most important. The weather in the south can be very unpredictable. Ranging from quite cool to very hot in a matter of hours. It is best to be prepared for rain or shine. Layering is a must. Start with a good sunscreen add a tank or tee shirt, then add an over-shirt or sweatshirt. Don’t forget hats and  sunglasses. Its an excellent idea to bring along a change of shoes.

Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Soda Pop and Beer DO NOT hydrate your body. Water or a sports drink will do the job. If you have ever suffered from dehydration--you will know what I mean.

In many areas there will not be rest stops or bathroom facilities. Many of the gas stations along the way are not prepared to handle a crowd. They will be marked “out of order”. Be prepared for porta-potties with antibacterial wipes, extra toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Always have a plan. Bring a list of item you are searching for. Bring cash. Most vendors do not accept checks and are not prepared for credit cards. If you are traveling more than 50 miles it is a good idea to make lodging arrangements.

It is a great idea to  print out a “route” complete with maps, especially if you are traveling into unfamiliar territory. This is in addition to a your GPS. However, don’t be afraid to go off the beaten path.

Always remember to bring sunscreen, a first aid kit, toilet paper, an ice chest, string or twine, Ziploc bags, measuring tape, and CASH. None of these take up a lot of room and you WILL need at least one of them, trust me.

Be prepared to “dicker”. If you see an item and its more than you want to pay, make an offer. The seller can always refuse. If you spot an item you must have--buy it when you see it. It will not be there when you go back.

Don’t overlook the many organizations along the way that will have fresh fruit, vegetables and home baked goodies. Most will be selling for church groups and charities.

Most importantly, have fun!

The worlds longest yard sale is held August 4-7 this year. It runs along Hwy 127 from Hudson, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama. Maps and vendor information can be accessed at

The 411 yard sale is held  annually from the last Wednesday in September through the first Saturday in October. It runs from Leeds, Alabama to Knoxville, Tennessee.
Information is available at the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce website.

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