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North Georgians shop for hidden treasures at yard sales

Buyers, sellers bargain on prices

POSTED: September 13, 2013 1:00 a.m.

Judy Roberts shouts across the cul-de-sac to a customer admiring a shelf “built by a little old lady who worked at that sewing factory in Cleveland.”

The legs of the shelf, she explained, were constructed out of 327 wood spools of thread.

Shannoyn Woloszyn of Murrayville ran her finger along the stacked spools before moving on to a rack of clothing nearby. Another customer nearby remarks on “treasures” to be found at yard sales.

Woloszyn said she enjoys going to yard sales whenever they’re near her house in Murrayville.

“I look for clothes and knick-knacks,” Woloszyn said. “That’s one of my guilty pleasures.”

Woloszyn said if you’re fairly familiar with name-brand and quality clothing, you can find some real bargains when shopping at garage and yard sales. She walked away with a nice artificial floral arrangement and a few glass food containers.

Roberts said her yard sale was off to a good start on a recent Friday morning in Murrayville. By noon, she already sold her big-ticket items: a treadmill and lawn mower.

Friday mornings, she said, seem to be the time most antique dealers come looking for items to resell at their shops.

Roberts smiled and waved hello to a potential customer as he walked up to look over the remaining lawn mower in the inventory. Her husband, John Roberts, walked across the pavement to shake the man’s hand and talk with him about the mower.

“You’ve got to be willing to bargain,” Roberts said, dropping her voice slightly. “That’s what the people are looking for, a bargain.”

Karen Smith of Douglas said it’s easy to find a bargain if you’re willing to wake up early Saturday. She laughed and said she’d made a few purchases already.

“This is odd, I bought two mannequins,” Smith said, smiling. “And then two coolers that I need like a hole in my head and a thing to hold straw at the butcher block and two shirts.”

While yard sales are a fun way to save some money for shoppers, they can be financially rewarding for sellers if they prepare.

Roberts said she and her husband generally have a yard sale every year to clear out their clutter. She usually finishes the sale with at least an extra $500 in her pocket and a lot less clutter in her house. The trick, she explained, is to start preparing early.

“I started working on this for about two months now,” Roberts said. “Really it shouldn’t take but two or three weeks. I started in one room and made my way through the house. It takes a good little while.”

When laying items out for the public to peruse, it helps to have pieces clearly priced. Items should be cleaned and arranged alongside similar items to make it easy on the customer. Bigger items, such as furniture, appliances and equipment can be placed closer to the road so people driving by are more likely to notice and stop.

Visibility is key, especially for homes off a main road. Signs are a must to help bargain hunters find their way to the sale.

A few miles away from Roberts’ cul-de-sac, Tammy Ivey and Judy Ward have placed signs at all the turns leading to their sale at Thompson Bridge Road.

The women are having the sale to clear out an older relative’s home after a recent move. Ivey said one of the biggest boosts to a sale is to let people know about it through advertising in the classified section of the newspaper.

“Putting an ad in the paper and signs by the road help,” Ivey said. “Word of mouth will help, too, but not as much. The paper is the big thing.”

Terry and Lynn Shubert of Dahlonega stopped at Ivey’s yard sale on their way home.

“We saw a sign on the highway,” Terry Shubert said. “That’s the way we do. Sometimes we’ll look in the paper. Sometimes we don’t. So we were just out taking care of business this morning and on our way back home.”

Shubert said he mostly looks for tools when he shops yard sales and a lot of times he’ll leave empty-handed. But sometimes he’ll find exactly what he needs whether he knew he needed it or not.

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