Saturday, August 3, 2013

Treasure Hunt

I'm the Map. I'm the Map. I'm the mappppppppp!

If you are Mom (or Dad) to a fan of the Latino Goddess of Toddlers, better known as Dora (Dora, Dora, the Explorer!), you totally read that opening "in character," didn't you?

Today, I went yard saling for the first time this season. I wish I had the chance to have gone more, but between budgets and schedules, it just didn't happen. So, I was determined to make the most of this first Treasure Hunt of the year.

I don't go to local yard sales. It's not that I am too much of a snob or embarrassed to be seen by neighbors and such. It's just that I live in such a small and rural community that stopping by becomes a chat... punctuated by a guilt-induced purchase because I don't want to walk way empty-handed. It's also a numbers game. There may be 5 yard sales around here on any given in-season weekend, whereas if I drive into a neighboring city there could be over 50. Lastly, the few times I have stopped at a local yard sale, the goods just don't compare overall to the finds elsewhere. More crap, less treasure.

For the past few years, the routine for Saturday morning sales, has been to print the online listings and pack the GPS. I would rank the listings to those I was most interested in and plug the address into the GPS, from one location to the next, stopping at any random drive-bys displaying wares on their front lawn. In a city the size of Virginia Beach, heavily populated, small area, I could easily hit 30+ yard sales on any given Saturday morning.

For today, I came up with an even better method to maximize the number of yard sales we could visit within a typical four hour window. (There must be a mathematical equation for that.) Last night, on Google Maps, I plugged in the addresses of all the sales and saved each to a map. Then, I was able to look at the overall area and plot the best route from one end of the city to the other. This cut out on a lot of the circling back or driving completely across town between stops with the previous method. I then cut & pasted the listings in that order. So while I drove out of town Cameron (trip hostage) plugged all the addresses into the GPS, and we had a Treasure Map to follow.

It honestly wasn't time consuming. I did all the computer navigating last night while passively watching a movie. And at the risk of sounding like a Yard Sale snob, an added benefit was that most addresses popped up with a little window showing you the picture of the house and you could decide if it looked like a good find, or possibly not. I didn't bother with that added step last night but I will next time. We found ourselves in a couple of shady neighborhoods today, where I wasn't getting out the car, let less permissibly trespassing into someone's yard.

We came home with an adequate bounty from the hunt. I collected an entire wardrobe's worth of clothes for Benjamin in his next size up. Little ones outgrow clothes so quickly I am happy to stockpile at 50 cents a piece, knowing most will be ready to sell off come next year. I picked up a few crafty odds & ends, several books, a few kitchen items, and, of course, some toys- among which were a big tub of Little Tikes waffle blocks, a puppet theatre, and a horse on a stick that Cameron was far more enthused about than Benjamin ever could be.

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