/yard sale sign/


We used a trip planning system this time!

Clint found a zip code map, and we compiled a list of zip codes:

First: Our zip code.
Second: Every zip code around us.
Third: Those zip codes that are 2 zip codes away? Some of them actually have points closer to us than most of the zipcodes 1 away from us! About 3 of them. So they went on the list too.

After that, we got the URL for a CraigsList garage sale zipcode search: http://dc.craigslist.org/search/gms?query=12345&srchType=A&minAsk=&maxAsk= Next,

Clint wrote a script that opened one of those for every zip code in the list we just compiled. This became incorporated into our “before yardsale” command. BAM! Tons of yard sales!

Open every link on every page. Pre-shop the sale, deciding if it’s worth it. Those that are, copy-paste the street address into a blank text file. Once we were done, we pasted the entire list into DrivingRoutePlanner.com. It figured out the shortest route to go to all the sales [it was an odd figure-8-ish beast]. It printed directions. (And made a GPX file for GPSs that support them.)

It was the first time in our lifelong, 30+ year yardsale career that we were so organized! We’d been encouraged to try newspapers, but that only gets you listings of people willing to pay to place a classified ad, which is why the internet totally beats dead-tree newspapers in a fight.


Making things even more interesting, one of the sales was a community sale, and they had a map of the area, with dots for all the individual sales in that community! So we had to pause and work out a route the old fashioned way – arrows written on a map. It was a route-of-yardsales within our route-of-yardsales. It was like we had an array of addresses to visit, and one of those addresses was itself an array of addresses.

Yo dawg… We need to go deeper. We just got yardsaleceptioned!

And then — at the very last sale we thought we were going to before going home…. We stop. There wasn’t even anything good there. AND THE DAMN CAR DOESN’T START. 1.5 hrs later, we get jumped and almost make it to Advanced Auto, but instead die in the parking lot, with people beeping at us. Car had to be pushed. Advance Auto could not diagnose my battery OR jump start the car. And we’d already sent the tow truck away once. So we left in in the parking lot, and got it towed Monday.

Our yard sale booty was stuck in the back seat until then. The walk home was the farthest west we’d ever walked from/to our house, though we’d gone that far east before (group of friends all wanted to go to the carnival drunk). Got some interesting pictures of stuff I normally only see from a car.

Was $172.23 to get a new battery, installation, and another issue checked. We got it back the following weekend when the EXACT SAME THING happened with Clint’sBonneville IN THE EXACT SAME SITUATION. Stay tuned for the next blog post for that. This also explains why this post was 1 week late. We couldn’t even compile the list of our booty until several days later.


Got up around 7:50AM, made it to McDonald’s by 8:10AM, and started actually yardsaleing at 8:25AM. We lasted until 11:40AM, for a total of 3 hours, 15 minutes. We’re not counting the 3 hours or so related to our car breaking down, as that time-waste would happen no matter what we used the car for, so it’s unfair to blame it on yard saleing.

Spent $12.85 plus ~$7.96 gas for ~33 miles of driving (~16 mpg @ $3.86/G), for a total cost of $20.81. [Our gas numbers are approximate because the car battery died, and we lost our mileage-computer stats.]

We bought 11 items – for a total estimated value of $298.13 – leading to a profit/savings of $277.32 (which is about $305 before taxes).

Anyway, this works out to a *post-tax* “wage” of $85.33/hr as a couple or $42.66/hrper person.


  • $5.00: car cover, Classic Accessories 52963-71142, part#71142, zsc0707 (EV:$29.98)  (link2) – both of our older cars get wet inside and have holes drilled in the floor to drain water. It’s not enough. Clint paid $30 recently for a new car cover. Carolyn got to follow suit for a mere $5.
  • $5.00: tent, 6×5′, Northwest Territory Junior Dome Tent (purple/yellow), Kmart barcode#7200071550,0807831110 (EV:$29.96) – tents only last so long. get ’em while they’re cheap!
  • $1.00: pan, Invitations, 11″, almost 4″ deep (EV:$25ish) – By far the deepest skillet we own now. Too deep to put in the compartment under the stove with the other pans. I had to add a nail in a wall to have a place to put this. We’ll finally be able to make enough spaghetti sauce to match our huge multi-gallon pot (we cook about 3 boxes of spaghetti at once). This is a great boon to our kitchen!

    approximation – ours is all black

  • $0.75: flask, chrome, built-in leather case w/buckle (EV:$20 – I later downgraded this to $5, so my numbers in this are a bit wrong, but will of course be accurate in our yearly total) – This is a REALLY nice flask, finally an upgrade from our plastic-with-no-case former yardsale flask (that we left at Dirk‘s once, and managed to get returned). Plus it can attach to a belt buckle via clip. Yay.  

    Pretty much the exact same flask as this picture from the ebay auction, except ours is the silver/chrome model instead of the gold/brass model, and the leather coloring is 50% faded from age/use.

  • $0.50: whip, 76″, leather, brown (EV:$5.99) – Had no clue what to do with this – my knight has a whip he holds sometimes, and it could maybe replace it. Turns out a 6+-foot whip is the BEST CAT TOY EVER. I thought they’d end up getting hurt by it, but no. They don’t care it the slightest if they accidentally get whipped a bit while playing with it, because it is both cats’ favorite toy ever ever ever. They go berzerk for it. They deposit it in front of our bedroom door while we sleep. Lemonjello brings it up to the couch when we watch tv. It’s the heaviest object I’ve ever seen a cat fetch. THEY…LOVE…IT….!!

    cats hanging out on new rug with new-favorite-toy The Whip… Lemonjello trying to avoid the camera as usual (had to set the volume to 0)

  • $0.50: pillow, leopard, 16×16″ (EV:$$20.00 but downgraded to $10 due to obvious age) – Christmas present, but it turns out that person isn’t into leopard-skin anymore, so it’s just another pillow for us. Can never have too many pillows.

    almost-exact match, but ours (pictured above) is 50%+ faded

  • $0.10: glass, Flintstones, 30th Anniversary (1990), Hardee’s, “The Snorkasaurus Story” (Dino makes his first appearance,1960) (EV:$12.50) – Remember back when restaurants used actual *glass* for promotional drinking vessels? Not crappy plastic stuff that fades away after a decade of dishwashing. I still have my Smurfs glass. This is a welcome addition.

    they just don’t make fastfood promotional offers like they used to

  • $FREE: rug, 70×47″, “Oriental”, reddish/goes with our house’s built-in runners (EV:$30 due to quality) – I could never fathom EVER paying the new cost for most rugs. Even the yardsale costs are way too much – something like this usually goes $30+. Perhaps it was because it was faded, or the guy was clearly tired of yardsaling, but he gave it to us for free, along with the 3 lawn chairs (next item)

    very much an approximation; see above shitty dark picture with cats for the actual rug

  • $FREE: chairs (3), beach, rainbow-colored, cup + cigarette pack holders built into arms (EV:$134.70 (3@$44.90/ea)) – I have to admit I got these for a friend, but decided to keep them for myself. We don’t hangout outside much, but these are better chairs than the ones we’ve been using (which are indoor chairs no longer fit to be indoors, and chairs found on peoples’ curbs).

Click here for other Yard Sale-related postings. * EV stands for “Estimated Value”, which I estimate by looking things up in Google Shopping/Google/Amazon/Ebay. I don’t always deduct for an item being used, unless it’s actually in worse condition in a way that matters. For example, I estimate books at the cover value. I also try to only count shipping if it’s the type of thing that would need to be shipped, and only if the price isn’t “fixed” (i.e. 1 cent items that cost $10 to ship would not be $10 in person).Mood: fweee Music: ftereching Weasel – Mother