I grew up with garage sales being a fairly regular Saturday morning activity, but it’s something that’s seldom been part of my adult life. If I wanted to spend my weekends driving all over the metro area, I’m sure I could score a few good bargains, but if I’m in search of a specific item, it’s easier to turn to Craigslist.
I also strive to limit driving with Craigslist (CL) hunts, usually only looking at ads that list a location within five miles (or a bit more if it’s in a direction that I would be headed by car anyway, like near my MIL’s). Biking to CL pickups is ideal, of course.
I found myself in just such a situation when I responded to an ad for a booster seat in “South City.” The term encompasses a rather wide area, so I was delighted to find that the seller lived in my neighborhood, just seven blocks away. Better yet, when I arrived to pick up the seat, she let me do some early shopping from her selection of toddler boy clothes that she was preparing for the neighborhood garage sale, so, for a very good price, and very little effort on my part, I took care of most of Gabriel’s winter clothing needs.
As an added bonus, I met another mom in the neighborhood, who we’ve since run into at the playground a couple of times, and who offered to contact me as her 4-year-old son continues to outgrow clothes.
While I prefer new to used in almost all areas anyway, used kids’ pajamas are particularly good in my book, since they likely have lower amounts of potentially toxic fire-retardant chemicals remaining.* As an added bonus, somebody looks absolutely adorable in his “new” footie pajamas, and I rest easier knowing they’ve been through a number of wash cycles.
Though I wasn’t initially planning on it, I took the time to check out some of the neighborhood garage sales that weekend (it was an organized event with over 30 sales on one Saturday). Instead of lots of driving and in and out of the car, I spent a couple of lovely hours on a fall morning biking around my neighborhood. For less than $15, I picked up five DVDs, a nice baby gate, and a couple of new toys for little Pookie.
I didn’t find anything that I was REALLY looking for (e.g., nice shoes for Gabriel, a coat rack for our front stairs), and it was money that I would not have spent if I hadn’t gone out, so I think it’s for that best that my garage sale-ing is self-limited.
*”Chemicals used in sleepwear labeled ‘fire resistant’ will remain in the fabric for at least 50 washes.” Source here — see bottom of page for specifics on pajamas. It’s not like mattresses or sofas or babies sleeping sweetly in their pajamas are prone to spontaneously bursting into flames. It’s disgusting that the widespread use of TOXIC fire-retardant chemicals was introduced primarily as a precaution for fires started from another chemical nightmare — cigarettes.