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Garage sailing tips 2017

It's that time of year again, time to hit the neighborhood garage sales for great deals or clear out your home and host your own. The season kicks off the first weekend of May with several big sales — Bryn Mawr's Festival of Garage Sales, Minneapolis (May 6-7); the Tangletown neighborhood garage sales, Minneapolis (May 5-6), and the Kilmer Pond neighborhood garage sales, St Louis Park (May 7).

Make a plan

You can find lots of great deals at garage sales, but it can be exhausting if you don't have a plan. Neighborhood and city sales are great because you can stop at lots of sales without traveling too far. Most neighborhood associations provide a listing of participants, so you can map out which sales you want to go to based on what they will be selling. To keep things manageable, start with a list of items that you are in need of and then look for sale listings that sound promising. One frequent goer describes her method, "I go to sales that are explicit about what they have—tell me you have mid-century or bricks or size 12 boy clothes, etc. I don't want to spend time driving to a sale if it is not clear what you have."

What types of items are best bought at garage sales? It's an exhaustive list—from furniture, home and gardening tools, jewelry and kitchen wares to books, clothing and linens, sporting equipment, winter gear and so much more. Personally, I find garage sales are the best place to buy children's clothes and toys. I always keep an eye out for larger sizes which I then store until they fit. And, garage sales are a great place to find quality built items from years past with lots of life left in them—solid wood furniture; small household appliances like fans, vacuums, toasters, and stand mixers; home and garden tools; jewelry and clothing. Be sure to be well stocked with $1s and $5s when you go in case sellers don't have change.

Host your own garage sale

If you plan to host a sale, try aligning with a city or neighborhood event for greater exposure. Be specific about what you are selling in your sale descriptions—include brands, size ranges for clothing, and big items that will attract buyers' interest. When directing sale goers, use clear signage, succinct and all the same color, placed at a few turning points and a few key nearby intersections. When you set up your sale, keep things neat and orderly. Hanging clothes rather than folding and stacking them will make it easier for people to view. Place larger items out in view to attract buyers as they pass by. If you have higher value items that you hope to recoup costs on, you might consider listing them instead on EBay, Craigslist, Nextdoor or a Facebook sale group as garage sale shoppers typically expect to find items priced low.

The Star Tribune typically publishes a list of neighborhood and city sales in early May. In the meantime, here are several upcoming sales to get on your calendar:

May 5-6–Tangletown neighborhood garage sales, Minneapolis

May 6-7–Bryn Mawr Festival of Garage Sales, Minneapolis

May 7–Kilmer Pond neighborhood garage sales, St Louis Park

May 11-13–Champlin city-wide garage sale

May 11-14–Osseo city-wide garage sale

May 18-20–Bloomington city-wide garage sale

May 19-20–Seward neighborhood garage sale, Minneapolis

May 20–Lindon Hills neighborhood garage sale, Minneapolis

May 20–Hale Page Diamond Lake neighborhood garage sale, Minneapolis

June 1-3–Brooklyn Park city-wide garage sale

June 3–Victory neighborhood garage sale, Minneapolis

June 9-10–Longfellow neighborhood garage sale, Minneapolis

June 17–Nokomis East neighborhood garage sale, Minneapolis

June 23-24–Neighbors Garage Sale, Minneapolis

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