Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yard Sales: On a Mission

For really the first time in my life, I've started going to yard sales on Saturday mornings. Looking just to look isn't really my thing. However, I'm hunting for very inexpensive wooden picture frames that I will paint and use on the tables at my wedding reception.

Last Saturday was my first time out. I scored 8 frames for a total of $4.25. (Not bad considering the cheapest ones I found at Target are $2.99, and the ones at Goodwill are $1.99.) I need about 50 of them, so the cheaper, the better! Today I searched again but wasn't as successful in terms of the number I found. However, the one frame I found was just 25 cents!

Here's how I make my plan of action: I look on Craigslist under "garage sales" in my area. Then, I pull out 9 of the ones that seem like they could be the most promising. Multiple family/house yard sales are the best because I can hit a bunch at once. Then, I start plugging in the addresses into MapQuest, starting with my own address. It will let you put up to 10 addresses in to make one continuous route. So, you can go from Point A to Point B to Point C...all the way up to Point J.

In order to save time and gas, I then look at the map and start to move the stops around so that it makes a circle. I don't want to be crisscrossing the county or backtracking. I also have to make sure that if any open later (i.e. 9 or 10 AM) that I put them late in the route. Also, if I see any yard sales along the way on my route that I didn't already know about, I'll stop at those too.

Last night when I made my driving route for today, I randomly plugged in all of the addresses. MapQuest said that it would take me 1 hour and 21 minutes to drive the 28.29 miles. Once I reordered it to make a circle instead of the crazy zigzag pattern, it reduced the time to 45 minutes and the distance to 14.07 miles. So, the new route saved me 36 minutes of driving and 14.22 miles.

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