Ready to treasure hunt? That's what garage and yard sales can be. Hunt for whatever you're interested in, whether it's furniture, skeins of yarn, tools, a blouse or old Reader's Digest magazines. It's also an inexpensive opportunity to find things for the kids — from books that play tinny music that drive parents batty to pricey riding toys that have been little used. • A few dollars can go a long way. Here are a few tips to help you along:
1. Don't drive aimlessly. Scan the classifieds and map a route for your bargain hunting.
2. Not one to plan? Take main routes to your weekend errands and watch for signs leading into neighborhoods you've never explored.
3. Arrive early, but, please, not before the poor souls holding the sale are awake. They don't need your help to set up.
4. On the other hand, don't despair if you arrive toward the end of a sale. There's still a chance to scoop up bargains before everything gets carted off to a charity shop, crammed back into the garage or — yikes! — dumped in the trash.
5. Speaking of bargains, it's a virtual bazaar out there. Don't be afraid to haggle, but be reasonable. 6. The person holding the lamp gets it. In garage sales parlance, that means if you see something you're even thinking of buying, grab it, drag it along or ask the owner to put it aside for you. You can always change your mind.
7. Don't be afraid to reimagine a find. Someone else's colorful mixing bowls can dress up boring plant pots on a kitchen windowsill.
8. Do a quick reconnaissance when you arrive to check out the pricing. You'll quickly know if it's reasonable for a yard sale.
9. You'll obviously find high quality items in upper income neighborhoods, but don't bypass less affluent communities.
10. Not everything marked $1 is a bargain. Have some idea of your dollar store inventory. 11. Bribe the kids. My sister takes her two little boys to yard sales with a promise that they can each select a small toy if they're patient as she browses.
12. Think out of the box. Don't pass up out-of-season holiday knickknacks and decorations.
13. Buyer beware. That means, plug in electrical gadgets, open that nicely folded bedspread, examine children's books for missing stickers or crayoned pages.
14. Brake for neighborhood and church sales. For instance, D&D Missionary Homes, 4020 58th Ave. N, in St. Petersburg, has a sale every Friday and shoppers pay a flat $5 for all the clothing they can stuff into a paper bag. For information, call (727) 522-0522.
Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 892-2283.