"How much can you get for 20 bucks?"
That's the question Sun-Gazette writers Lyndsey Hewitt, Julie Reppert and Tory Irwin recently were challenged to answer. The three were tasked with finding the best bang for their buck at local yard sales, with $20 to spend on the greatest deals each could find.
Armed for their quest with the classified sections from the Williamsport Sun-Gazette and Lock Haven Express, the writers rose to the challenge, scoring deals of epic proportions.
Sun-Gazette writers Lyndsey Hewitt, left; Julie Reppert, center; and Tory Irwin display some of the items they purchased during their yard sale challenge.
Above, Sun-Gazette writers Tory Irwin, left, and Lyndsey Hewitt map out their yard sale challenge “battle plans.”
Before the writers took off, each had to sit down with their respective publications and map out a yard sale route. For each competitor, it meant scanning the classified ads, identifying sales that fit her needs, and mapping an efficient route to hit up as many sales as possible.
In the Express, Hewitt found listings for the annual townwide yard-sale in Rote and sales in Mill Hall. Reppert journeyed a 30-mile radius, checking out sales in Williamsport and Montoursville that were publicized in the Sun-Gazette. Irwin also worked with Sun-Gazette ads and stayed in the Williamsport and South Williamsport areas.
Each writer identified items that were important to her.
"For someone like me - an unwed, childless millennial still living at home - my hope is to find items solely for my hobbies, which include art, photography, books, movies, etc.," Hewitt wrote.
Reppert looked for Christmas decorations and other items she enjoyed, while Irwin looked to find household necessities to fill her new apartment.
While venturing, each encountered difficulties along the way.
"Unfortunately, while browsing the dozens of yard sales in Rote, I wasn't able to find a whole lot that fit into my particular interests," Hewitt wrote.
Both Hewitt and Irwin encountered copious amounts of children's clothing and toys, which didn't meet their needs but provided plenty of bargains for those raising families.
"Many of the sales were great if you had kids," Irwin remarked.
Though it took some persistence, the writers were able to come up with a few treasures. Each gave a rundown of what she bought.
HEWITT: My most satisfying find in Rote was a hilariously adorable portrait of two cats posing in a kitchen - for a quarter. But the best find for me was a Mill Hall yard sale, where I found a 2004 boxed set of mint-condition Charlie Brown comics for $3, which online goes for between $30 and $40. I also got eight canisters of expired color 35 mm film for $2, which I can use for art projects.
REPPERT: Sale after sale, nothing really caught my eye until I saw a box filled with Christmas items. Score! I'm a Christmas fanatic and love looking for vintage Christmas Decorations. As I dug through the box, I was excited to pull out an old vintage elf - what I like to call "old creepy elves." I collect these elves and felt really good about my find. So, after visiting about 13 or 14 sales, I came up with my four plaid placemats and three creepy elves, all for a total of $3. Not the amount of items I thought I would end my sale adventure with, but a few things I really liked.
IRWIN: At our first stop on Crest Wood Circle, my mom and I browsed through a selection of assorted kitchen gadgets. While my mom has graciously donated many items I need to my kitchen, I was able to find something I needed - a whisk for just 10 cents. We moved on to a neighborhood sale on Mountain View Avenue next, where I was able to score an ironing board for $1 and an old Lexmark typewriter for $1 at the same sale. In South Williamsport, I was able to find a $2 iron to go with my recently acquired ironing board.
All in all, they found that one may have to sift through a lot of stuff to find their own treasure, but it can be done. And the adventure of hunting for objects of desire was fun, in and of itself. As Reppert put it, "It's really the luck of the draw when going yard saling - you never know what treasures you will find."