Spring means garage sales

By Elizabeth M. Jones

The cheaper it is, the better it will sell.

That’s the advice that John Schroeder, author of the book "Garage Sale Fever," gives to those who are planning to clean out their closets and attics this spring and sell the whole lot at a garage sale.

"Garage salers are looking for a bargain," Schroeder said.


Schroeder will bring his expertise to Rochester when he teaches a class — also called "Garage Sale Fever" — for Community Education. The class, designed for sellers and buyers, will cover topics ranging from how to host a successful garage sale to methods for finding bargains and getting the most out of your money.

"People do kind of catch garage sale fever in the spring," Schroeder said. "It’s a very practical way to make and save money."

Sellers, he said, should "have a plan" and make sure they’re ready for their sales.

"Be sure to put a price tag on the item," Schroeder said. He compares a garage sale without price tags to "going into a store and finding that nothing is priced."

For buyers, he recommends starting early in the day and being willing to bargain. "Sellers kind of expect you to make offers, and often they’ll inflate their prices a bit," he said. "Part of the fun is the bargaining process."

"If you are interested in something, don’t set it down," he added. "Pick it up if you’re even thinking about it, or ask the seller to set it aside. Even if there’s one or two people there, you can lose out."

The class, and the book it’s based on, cover even more tips on the garage sale process. The class also will feature odd stories from garage sales Schroeder has been to or hosted, such as the time he went to a neighbor’s sale and found a picture of his mother that had been taken 50 years before.

"You never know what you’re going to find," Schroeder said. He attributes much of garage sales’ popularity to the search involved: "It’s kind of like the great American treasure hunt," he said.


Schroeder’s class will meet from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. April 19 at the Northrop Building, Room 308 in Rochester. Cost for the class is $20. Copies of Schroeder’s book will be available for $10 each. To register, call Community Education at 328-4000, and use class code 8278.41.

For more information, go to

Weblink: Garage Sale Fever excerpt

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