Depending on whom you ask, garage sale shoppers will tell you that it's best to walk to sales, or that it's best to drive. Some will tell you to go with the hybrid: drive to a location well-populated with sales, and then walk until you've covered them all. To help you take a stance, here are the pros and cons of each.
Walking is great for you. It's as painless a workout as you'll ever come up with, and the fresh air will do you good, especially if you spend a lot of time indoors. Walking to garage sales is great for the community-building opportunities it brings -- you pass a neighbor's yard as they are working outside, or your kids bump into potential new friends. Plus, if you're taking your pet along, there's no worries that they'll be shut up in an overheating car (same goes for your kids!).
But walking means you'll have to carry all of your purchases. Even if you get a heavy-duty backpack to lug along, if it gets hot, you'll start regretting it -- your back won't be able to breathe and might be intolerably sweaty. When your kids are along, there's no safe place for them to go rest; you'll have to keep them close at all times. Plus, if you find that there are fewer garage sales in your immediate area than you first realized, you may discover that your day of shopping is cut short because hoofing it five extra miles there and back would just take too long.
Driving is the most painless way to go garage saling. You get to cruise around in your air-conditioned vehicle, and you don't have to carry your purchases further than the length of the host's driveway. Plus, when your kids start clamoring for lunch, it's right there in your car, and you can sit them down for food while you go shop. Not only that, but your range of sale-hunting is virtually limitless, so long as you can get there within normal yard saling hours.
But driving costs money. Gas is an expensive commodity in this country, and if you have a fruitless day of shopping, you could end up spending more money on fuel than you saved buying at garage sales instead of retail stores. Plus, you have to find a parking spot at every single sale you go to, and when popular sales occur on narrow, short streets, there are often no places to park in sight.
The hybrid of these two, driving to a general location, parking, and then walking to the sales themselves, is a pleasant alternative. You can locate a large number of sales a good distance away and still get there within ten instead of fifty minutes, but then take your time strolling around the driveways and yards. You save on gas money while still getting your exercise, and if you need to take breaks and head back to the car -- whether it's because you're laden down with your purchases or because you forgot your water bottle in the car -- the distance isn't too daunting.
Yet there are still some flaws with this method. Your car is out of your line of sight, meaning that it is unprotected from would-be thieves who just spotted that vintage computer sitting on your passenger's seat. Again, your kids can't just head to the car and hang out there while you shop, and leaving your pet alone in the car is a dangerous practice. Plus, it's easy to get carried away and buy too much when you know your vehicle is right nearby, ready to receive your purchases.
What's your favorite method of visiting local garage sales? Share your story in the comments, and then pop over to GarageSaleCow.com, the nation's largest garage sale website!