Yard Sale Packing List
Robin Brown and Patricia McDaniel
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Pack a Cooler – It is important to stay hydrated! A cooler filled with ice cold water comes in very handy. Buy the little 8 ounce water bottles. If you are staying at hotels, you can fill the cooler with ice from the hotel ice machine.
Snacks – Depending on how quickly you move through the sale, it can be a long time before you get a meal. Pack carrots, celery and grapes in baggies to store in the cooler as well as some pretzels, chips and granola bars to satiate hunger. Maybe even a cookie or two.
Packing Your Suitcase Travel light—you will want more room in the car for treasures! Pack a laundry bag for dirty clothing—you will not want to wear an outfit more than once. Late May, early June can be great weather during the day, but evenings and early mornings could be chilly. Pack a long sleeve shirt, windbreaker or sweatshirt. You may want to keep an extra change of clothing handy in case—dust, rain and general dirt with scrounging for treasures may mean you need to change during the day. Many hotels have washers and dryers so you could do a load of laundry during the trip. Throw a few detergent pods and fabric softener sheets in your bag. The hotel may or may not have these items for sale. Sunscreen and Insect Repellent Caring for your skin is a must! Pack that sunscreen! And no one wants a bug bite!
Bring a Hat
A hat will keep the sun at bay and will help keep you cool.
In addition to shielding those rays, vendors won’t see your eyes when negotiating.
Flush-able Wipes/Facial Tissue – Pack a travel pack of flush-able wipes and carry it with you in your bag or backpack. Often, port-a-johns are your only option. As the sale progresses, toilet paper becomes scarce. If you cannot find flushable wipes, a pack of facial tissue will work just fine. Hand Wipes and Hand Sanitizer Between touching things that a thousand other people have touched, the hot, humid weather and not being able to wash your hands after using a port-a-john, — this is a definite necessity! Maps and GPS -You don’t want to lose precious shopping time by being lost, do you?
Mini Trash Bags – Hefty makes these cute little trash bags in a cute little travel case. They are the size of a plastic grocery bag (OK, I guess you could just bring grocery bags). I find it helps keep the car tidy. Tote/Packing Materials Put a storage tote, or a box of some sort in your car. It helps keep the small items corralled. Packing materials such as bubble wrap or newspaper are helpful to have on hand as well. If you plan on purchasing furniture, a couple of old blankets will help prevent your treasure from being scratched.
Small, plastic zipped plastic bags are handy to keep smalls organized. Rain Ponchos These can be picked up at any big box store for a few dollars. A lot of vendors are under tents and will remain open if it rains.
Bring a small umbrella that can fit in your bag. It may start raining when you are not near your car.
Those comfortable shoes may not be so comfortable after a day or two of traipsing through fields or treasure. A second pair of shoes in case you get a blister or step in something muddy, noxious or sticky and do not want to spend time cleaning them up at the immediate moment. Note: Another perfect use for those plastic grocery bags!
Tools – A tape measure is a must. If you are looking for furniture, measure your space prior to the sale so you will know your purchase will fit your space. Pack a flat head and a Phillips head screwdriver as well as an adjustable wrench. Sometimes you need to take something apart to get it into your vehicle…
First Aid Kit – Sometimes you have to wrestle someone to the ground to get the item you want—just kidding! A small first-aid kit is a good thing to have on hand. At the very least, take some bandages and anti-bacterial cleanser.
Cash/Credit Cards – Cash is the preferred method of payment on the sale. More and more vendors are taking credit cards, but cash is king! Bring bills in all denominations. The nearest ATM machine could be miles away. Take plenty of cash in small bills. How much you should take depends on your budget.
Using a smart phone is a great way to reference the going rate for an item. Printed pricing guides are also handy to check prices.
Note Pad and Pen
You may want to note your purchases and the price paid. The seller may also have a great story on the provenance of your purchase. Jot it down while it is fresh in your mind or at the hotel that evening.
When purchasing ephemera (paper items), the price is often written directly on the item. You may want to have a white vinyl (magic rub) eraser on hand to ensure the pencil marks can be completely removed. If the vendor has placed a price sticker directly on the piece, ask the vendor to remove it to ensure there are no smudges or tears on your treasure.
Magnifying Glass or Loupe
This will help in identifying maker’s marks.
Shoulder Bag/Backpack or Rolling Cart
If you are shopping a large field, you may want a bag to hold your cash, measuring tape, and those small items. You may also want a rolling cart to help haul those medium and larger items.
A magnet will help identify various metals.
This sale traverses our beautiful country. You will want to document the beautiful scenery, your adventures with your pals or those little bits of crazy that can be found along the way.
You may need an antacid when you have passed up that bargain sixty miles back. You will also want headache relievers as well as any of your regular medications.
Large Truck or Rental Trailer
Really assess how large your vehicle is. What can you really fit in there? How many friends will be with you? Think about renting a large van or truck or possibly a trailer to attach to your vehicle.
Hopefully you won’t need a road flare or fire extinguisher, but you may be able to help a fellow yard-saler if you have one in your car!
Good Luck Charm
If you believe in such things, bring along that rabbit’s foot or whatever brings you luck. It can’t hurt to have that extra oomph to help find your treasure.
Finally, a pleasant and patient companion that shares your passion for finding a deal is a must. Hopefully they are strong enough to help move furniture if needed! Someone in your group has some possess some mad negotiation skills—it never hurts to ask for the best price, but don’t be rude and criticize the merchandise or the price, move on, there are more treasures down the road. Patience is needed by all—this is a grass roots sale—the organizers of this sale are paid nothing for their efforts. People will park where they can and the traffic will sometimes move at a snail’s pace. Find the humor in the situation and just have a good laugh. Be kind to all and pass it on!