Monday, June 18, 2007

Book review: Garage Sale America

One man's trash is another man's treasure. It's a cliche, sure, but it's true. Even within our throwaway culture, many of us are happy to pick through someone else's belongings in search of something we could use.

I'm a moderately avid yard saler. I'm not hardcore enough to hit distant estate sales with a fanny pack full of ones, but I do circle a handful of listings in our local paper's classified section and stop by a few on the way to the farmers market in search of baby clothes and kiddie toys, books and gear. Every week there's at least one block sale in Oak Park. And every block sale has at least one family with a highchair, bouncy seat and baby swing parked on the front lawn.

So when Parent Bloggers Network invited me to take a look at Bruce Littlefield's Garage Sale America, I was happy to pick up a few tips from an real expert. What I found was a photo-packed brag book of super scores and kitchy collectibles with a handful of helpful hints thrown in. I liked his tips for getting a good deal and the too-short section on how to host your own sale. And I loved the chapter on the World's Longest Yard Sale, if only because it was a trip down memory lane.
Route 127 Sale 2
I actually shopped about 150 miles of the 450-mile-long U.S. 127 Sale in 2004. For work, no less. I was the creative brain behind a partnership between Suave and the Style Network's The Look for Less, so I got to watch four women compete for the title of America's Smartest Shopper (by creating outfits exclusively from yard sale finds) and I was given a huge pile of cash to spend on prizes for a related sweepstakes. It was an unbelievable event: mile after mile and table after table of stuff, priced from a nickel up to $5000. Old baby clothes, farmhouse furniture, guns, tools and vintage cars. Everything was for sale and every car held shoppers. I don't think traffic ever picked up beyond 30 miles per hour.
Route 127 Sale
But back to real life. I probably won't become a collector of vintage anything (sorry Bruce), but after reading Garage Sale America's section on design, I am going to try to keep my eyes peeled for unexpected items can be worked into our decor.

That, and a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.