My Favorite Birthday Tradition {a.k.a. The Top 10 Things a Homeschool Mom Looks for in a Garage Sale}


My life is full and sweet and filled with my favorite people. My Lord Jesus Christ woes me daily. There is no other gift that I need or want.

But there is one tradition that is a sweet spot for me every year ~ attending that once-a-year neighborhood garage sale in my in-laws subdivision. Every year it falls on that first week of June. With my birthday being June 2nd, I get that wonderful grown-up gift of cash in the mail…the perfect currency for taking to a garage sale.

I used to garage sale all the time when I was little. I grew up with a thrifty mom and she passed that love down to me. Now with my own six kids, attending garage sales is a lot harder yet it benefits us as a family more then ever.  I love the hunt. It’s like following a treasure map. You’ll never know what the new year will bring but you do know that you will walk away with something just right for your family needs.

So what does a homeschool mom of six children look for in a garage sale?

  1. Clothes ~ All shapes in sizes…this is my main one-stop shop per year for new clothes.
  2. Shoes ~ We wear them out fast here playing daily outside and growing like weeds.
  3. Books ~ You knew this one was going to be on the list right? You would be surprised at how much of our homeschool library of living books has come from this yearly garage sale. I write down which series I’m looking for and which books I already have and keep that list with me in my purse. I am very intentional about what books I’m looking for each year.
  4. Manipulatives ~ People are always getting rid of puzzles and games that their kids no longer play with. One year I got a Snap Circuits kit for $1.50! Have you seen what that game retails for? We have been using that set for 4 years and it is still going!
  5. Baby Gear ~ This year I’m looking particularly for a stationary play bouncer. Eli is 6 months and wants to be with me while cooking dinner. He is too big to sit on the counter now. My old bouncer broke in the move and the goodwill isn’t allowed to sell them anymore. This will be my big purchase this year.
  6. Toys ~ Not just any toys. I am very specific about this too. While the kids are allowed to take along their own money and buy that one toy they just can’t live without (i.e. the toy that will be broken within  a day), I look for toys to compliment the toy classics that we will have around for years ~ wooden blocks, Fisher Price Little People, Legos, Pretty Ponies, stuffed animals of favorite cartoon characters, etc. ~ or those toys that now have missing and broken pieces that your kids still love.
  7. Picture Frames ~ Shabby chic mainly. My walls are  my only space where I can still decorate in my personal taste without little kids breaking things. And they are a perfect canvas for my true love of photography.
  8. Furniture ~ mainly bookshelves or end tables that will replace non-stable ones that have worn their welcome.
  9. Antique Surprises ~ Garage sales are full of these. Last year I walked away from a sale with 6 hand-embroidered lace pillow cases and one dresser runner for 10 cents a piece. I love them every time I wash and put a fresh one on the bed.
  10. Alone Time ~ the gift that money can’t buy! This is my husband’s gift to me. He will be watching the kiddos at grandma’s house. Close enough for me to stop by and nurse the baby but far enough away for me to get one blessed day of being by myself. I’m really glad we don’t own a cell phone!
I’ll be back early next week to show you the stash of goodies! For now, I’m off to the library and park with my kiddos. And later my hubby is going to make me a red velvet birthday cake with cream cheese frosting and homemade ice cream in our new old-fashioned ice cream maker and a to-die-for Italian lasagna dinner. Happy Birthday to me!

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