Monday, April 28, 2014

My Thoughts on Indianapolis Garage Sales

In the past I have not been a fan of garage sales.  Most of my experiences have been pretty bad.  I blame it on false Craigslist advertising, but who is policing that?  It's not like there's a way to rate garage sales based on how accurate their ad was.  People who were selling baby crap and used dollar store tupperware would throw in the words, antiques, vintage, collectibles, retro, etc etc to get people like me to bite.  What it really makes me want to do is to curse you for your false advertising.  But, most of the times I walk halfway up a driveway and then turn right back around.  This is where pictures would nice and helpful.  10 times out of 10 (yes, that is a scientific, researched fact :-P) if you have pictures that match your description and I see a few things I like, I will add you to my garage sale list.

Well, something has changed this garage sale season.  People are getting a lot better at their descriptions.  Except in the case of the ad that only boasted "Winne the Pooh and Coke collectibles" and I ended up with 25 amazing vintage suitcases.  But, that's an exception to the rule that I'm willing to accept.

Another exception to rule that I'm willing to forget is when you classify an estate sale as a garage or yard sale.  The reason for this is because I know a lot of junkers who will only go to estate sales.  They won't even bother with the run-of-the-mill garage/yard sale.  Well, I left work mid afternoon on Friday, after the rain had cleared up, so that I could hit a particularly great sounding garage that was actually an estate sale.  I came home with this:

A green folding bar cart!  FOLDING!  It's pretty darn cool.  It's a little rusty, but someone will love to sand that off and spray paint it a new bright color.  I only bought a few pieces of Pyrex.  The rest were Early American, which I don't usually buy, unless it's a full set.  My first aqua fridgie in the wild!!  And this snowflake roaster is huge.  I bought this Westinghouse loaf pan because I love the lid.  Plus it looked like it had never been used.  The little Santa is Lefton.  There's various kitchen tools (including Bakelite tongs) and cookie cutters.  Bellow are some hankies and vintage boxes of candles, hangers, and Angel Chimes (which I have bought and sold before).

So, here's where I want to say thank you to all the peoples' garage sales that I stopped at, since you all so accurately described your stuff!  I also appreciate that many of the sales I had on my list were part of neighborhood sales, so I was able to hit a few extra homes.  One had a pretty big pay off, too.

Here's what my truck looked like when I came home after 4 hours of garage sales:

This may not look like a lot, but I usually only buy smalls, so all of these boxes are fairly full.  And they yielded all of this:

Starting at the top: an aqua Colonial band Fire King bowl, pink stoneware (McCoy?) bowl, 2 West Germany Easter egg candy holders, 3 milk glass plates, a milk glass Nar-o-Fold napkin holder, a child's hankie, Made in Japan elephant figurine, plastic doilies, and LOTS of paper shelf liner - some in the original package.

Starting at the top: 3 pieces of Pyrex (Early American - I know, but SO CHEAP, Spring Blossom, and Crazy Daisy), McCoy smiley face mug, so many milk glass vases (I have been collecting these for several brides-to-be), 4 Hazel Atlas moderntone sherberts, 4 santa face mugs, more children's hankies, a chenille baby's blanket, a table cloth, and the beautiful table cloth covering the table!


17 aqua blue Ball jars.  How could I pass them up?

A wood silverware tray, red telephone, Androck nut grinder, 2 rusty cheese graters, and a red handled rolling pin.

A wood (the guy said walnut) box with Bakelite handle and three (YES, THREE!!!!) scales.  The small postal scale actually came from a local company: Indianapolis Power and Light, which is still operating under that name today.

2 small crocks, a minnow bucket, and a little wood cabinet with glass shelves.

The cabinet was made from pieces of an old fruit crate.

It's marked 1980 on the back, but I don't care.  I think these little details really make it special.

A stack of pretty linens for one price.  I can never turn that down.  EVER.  I think it's physically impossible.  And this box of made in Poland ornaments.

Lots and lots of (mostly) children's books.  A lot of these were military themed and they are now part of the May military themed window display at my antique mall.

Last, but not least, these sweet wood folding chairs.  They're still pretty sturdy!

And a just because little collage of my weekend finds.

So, if the point of this post wasn't clear: I am really starting to get into this whole garage sale thing. And I'm happy that the sales haven't been as disappointing as they have been in years past.  What are your thoughts on the garage sales in your area?  Love 'em?  Hate 'em?  Not enough of 'em?

Speaking of garage sales, mom and I are hitting the annual State Road 38 Garage Sale this weekend.  It is about 40 miles of highway from Noblesville to Hagerstown, Indiana.  I've never done this route before, so I'm looking forward to what I might be able to find.  Later in May me, mom, and her sister will be tackling a portion of the US 40/Historic National Rd Garage Sale.  I've got to start planning our route for this.  We'll be going for either 2 or 3 days.  Anyone with experience know great towns to visit along US 40 in Illinois, Indiana, or Ohio?

Thanks for stopping by to visit!

**FYI - I had to turn the word verification back on for the comments.  Apparently spammers loved me enough to start leaving 3-5 comments per post.  Sorry if this is annoying and I hope you'll still leave comments for me to read!

Linking to:
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Junkin Joe
We Call it Olde
Thrifty Things Friday


  1. Hey Melissa, great finds! I LOVE those tablecloths especially. It's not that we're garage sale snobs, but my sisters & I usually found the same as your experience to be true, so we don't bother (except for a bi-annual one hosted by our local radio station at a local football field parking lot with nearly 100 vendors that we even like to sell at). Our town is pretty small and we have one dealer at our mall who is at every sale well before it begins (with flashlight when necessary), so she'd likely beat us to the best of any given list any given weekend's garage sales, lol. We generally stick to estate & private sales, and shopping out of town. Not sure about the US 40 sale, but I think we have a husband/wife team at our mall who actually sell at that one in OH. I'll check and email you if so. Have a great week.
    Rita C at Panoply

  2. Holy cow, that's a lot of stuff!! And all good stuff too! Love that red phone. And I have one of those bar carts!!! I think it's called a Versa Folding Cart. Found it at a church sale. Probably one of my most loved finds ever!

  3. That was a good haul. I say you did good.

    xo Danielle

  4. I am an estate sale snob. Rarely hit garage sales as way too much baby stuff, Tupperware ect to be encountered. I also HATE it when a sale is advertised as an estate sale and it isn't. Lots of stuff drives me crazy in estate sale land but I still go back week after week. I have the same folding cart and it is awesome! (mine is all black) Lots of finds...good weekend!

  5. I live in a very new suburban part of the Denver metro area so sadly most of the garage sales around here are baby clothes/toys and dollar store tupperware. I definitely don't go to as many garage sales because of that fact, but then I have to also remind myself of the times when I did go to garage sales not far from home and still found vintage treasures--like the set of 3 Fire King Swedish modern bowls within walking distance of my house, right across from my daughter's school. So I think there are still good treasures to be had, it just takes a whole lot more work to sift through all of the bad sales to find them. I would love to go to more estate sales but that is tricky--all of the good sales are held in the older parts of town, which are far away--a good 45 minutes drive for most. With gas at nearly 3.50/gallon and a babysitter to pay by the hour, it's hard for me to justify going that far on the chance that whatever goodies I saw in the photos will still be left by the time I get there! So garage sales are not the ideal, but they are definitely much more plentiful and easy to get to in my area.

  6. Wow! You really got some great items...I sit here going...oooh, I want that and that......I used to do a lot of garage sales. Now I Estate sale. But really what i like is on the curb freebies!!

  7. That looks like an Erica haul for sure! Linens, Pyrex, Fire King? Love it all! There are always tons of garage sales but it's pretty hard to weed out what may or may not be a good one. I think pictures should be a requirement! I don't normally hit many but usually after I go to all of the estate sales that I want to, then I will head to a busy part of town and look for signs. I have found a lot of unadvertised estate sales this way!


  8. Uhh, where do you live? I'm moving there!

    Garage sales here are usually a bust. $25 for a tulip Fire King bowl, $10 for 1 1980s Ghostbusters glasses, $35 for a glass blown vase... everyone wants top dollar. In the fourth largest city in North America, there is also so much competition, it's sick!

  9. OMGoodness, where to start?! Love the scales (to death!), the fruit crate cupboard, and the folding chairs. You did great! I LOVE garage sales and, until recently, that was the only place I shopped. I added estate sales this year because [finally] the prices began to come down and now I can buy and still make a profit. I don't get too caught up in the description, for the reasons you mention--not usually too accurate. I find one or two that look good, are near each other, and have early starts. I go to them first (15 min. early to the first one) and then move on [methodically] to the others on my list. I keep things moving and try to hit 20 sales or more. Using this method, I always score. I also don't get too caught up with what other dealers are doing. I've made too many buys late in the afternoon or even on a 2nd day to think that other dealers are going to scoop me on everything. That's my methodology and I'm sticking to it!

  10. I am a longtime yard-saler and seem to have decent luck with them. I generally avoid sales that have any mention of kids/baby items and it seems as though more people are now posting pics with their ads which is helpful. Also good to know the neighborhood (old, established or newer subdivision). I wonder if the ads are getting better because there are more and more folks holding yard sales? More competition?

  11. Melissa, I go to garage sales all of the time. If it is mostly baby items, I usually don't bother. But I have found some real treasures at garage sales. At estate sales it is usually so competitive between dealers that I go after the first rush. Love all the stuff you found! Good luck this coming weekend.

  12. All I can say is you must be living right! I am in love with the cute chairs. Your suitcase find would make MY year! Continued success! =)

  13. I love garage sales if there is more then just clothes and baby items. Thanks for sharing all your great finds at TTF!


  14. wow, fantastic finds! I NEED that red desk phone, the eggs, the linens, the ornaments, wait...I need it all! Great haul, and yes I am a garage sale fan!! Our estate sales are overpriced and crowded. Garage sales are plentiful, cheap and you never know what you will find! Love them!

  15. Have fun this weekend-I bet you will have just as many great treasures!

  16. Wowza, what a load of vintage goodness! I think we'd be in trouble if we shopped at the same sales. I've also noticed more pictures in the ads which really helps. People are still too loose with the words: antiques, collectibles, estate, etc, so it makes it difficult to weed out the stuff I'm not interested in. Hope you find tons of goodies this weekend.


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