By Andrea Brown Herald Writer
It’s a yard sale on steroids.
Hundreds of people set up shop in their driveways. Thousands of shoppers swarm the town for deals.
Community sales turn towns into meccas of mercantile mania.
You don’t have to be a savvy seller or skilled scavenger to rake in the fun and loot.
Wear sensible shoes, stuff your pockets with cash and don’t drink too much coffee.
The Great Mukilteo Garage Sale is happening Saturday. Don’t worry. It’s not too late to partake.The Mukilteo sale that includes south Everett, Picnic Point and Serene Lake has been going on for more than 20 years. You can shop until the sun dips into the sea.
Yard sailing season is just beginning.
The city of Mill Creek’s spring mega sale is May 3. Everett’s Northwest Neighborhood’s “Mother of all Garage Sales” takes place Aug. 2.
Community sales are not your typical clean-out-the-garage and get-rid-of-old-toys affairs.
This is the Black Friday of garage sales, with boatloads of bargains and, yes, even boats.
“It gets crazy,” said Melissa Policy, of Mukilteo. “Our entire neighborhood has sales. I suggest for people to park and walk.”
It’s a good way make some serious cash and score some bargains.
“People get really good deals,” Policy said. “Big basketball hoops for 10 bucks. Really good furniture deals.”
She offers this advice: “If you buy something big, pay for it and come back toward the end of the day, because that way you can pull into the cul-de-sac.
“One year I sold a table and chairs to a family with four kids, and they spent an hour trying to get the table in the van and then get out of the cul-de-sac.”
Sellers should brace for going though all sorts of hoops.
“I had a giant measuring tape my neighbor dropped off for me to sell,” Policy said. “A man asked me if it worked. I demonstrated it went 300 feet, and I took it from my house to the house across the street.”
After all that, the guy didn’t even buy it.
Buyers can be choosy.
“I wait all year for the wonderful bargains,” said Susan Layson Koenig, of Mukilteo. “I get the listing and map of where the sales will be and in some cases what they have to offer. Over the years I have selected areas that suit my wants best.”
Wants are what it’s all about.
“I never really need anything, but I always want something,” Koenig said. “Taking a friend along can help or hinder you. They can either say, ‘Grab that’ or ‘Do you really truly need that?’ But either way, it is a fun day of laughs.”
A fun day of laughs is a need, not a want.
Empty your car and trunk before you go.
Bring sturdy shopping bags. That way, you can hit a number of sales before hoofing it all the way back to your car.
Remember landmarks where you parked. Take a cellphone picture. It is easy to lose track of your bearings in a strange neighborhood where all the houses start looking alike.
Check items for rips, broken zippers and missing buttons. Try it before you buy it.
If it grabs you, grab it. The fisherman story of “the one that got away” applies to yard sales.
If you are in a subdivision, brace for an early onslaught of shoppers. Stock bags, dollar bills and coins. Put cones where you don’t want people to park, walk or stray.
Let the kids share in the profits by selling drinks and snacks.
Shoppers will haggle with you over a 25-cent item but eagerly shell out $1 for a bottle of water from a cute kid.
Have an electrical outlet or extension cord available so people can plug it in and try it out.
Provide a mirror so shoppers can see how clothes look. They are more likely to buy it and less likely to ask to come into your house to try it on.
Price it to sell. This is a competitive market. If your neighbor is selling books for a dime, your $2 hardbacks aren’t going to move.
Forget the broken stuff. With these sales, there’s too much good stuff out there for shoppers to waste time digging through junk. That is, unless it’s junque.
Andrea Brown; 425-339-3443; email@example.com.
Hit the sales
Community sales include:
The Great Mukilteo Garage Sale Saturday includes south Everett, Picnic Point and Serene Lake. There will also be 26 tables set up from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave., Mukilteo.
The Mill Creek Community Association sponsors a yard sale twice a year, on the first Saturday in May and in October. The association comprises 20 subdivisions with about 1,600 single family homes, plus condos and townhomes. Other areas of Mill Creek join in the sale. For more information, go to www.mcca.info.
Everett’s Harborview-Seahurst-Glenhaven Neighborhood Association sale is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 17. Maps are available at homes.
Marysville’s “Junk in the Trunk” is July 12, Municipal Court Parking Lot, 1015 State Ave. For more information, go to www.marysvillewa.gov.
Everett’s Northwest Neighborhood’s “Mother of all Garage Sales” is held the first Saturday in August. Maps with addresses and items for sale are available at homes. Portable toilets are set up in the neighborhood park. For more information, go to http://northwesteverett.org.