Normal People go to Estate Sales and look in boxes...I look in the walls.(video)
I could tell you the secret strategy to finding treasure at sales, but if you follow this blog the truth will be revealed...again, and again, etc.
I was running an errand for my wife over the weekend and when I had completed my mission I thought about the next dig. Where could it be? By researching a few websites for the right description, I usually know by the Thursday before where my best weekend chances are. My goto for years has been NYsales.net .
This site is an aggregator where advertised sales are populated and sometimes promoted. It displays each sale by state, town and type in an easy to navigate list with a description and a map link.
Unfortunately, this time my goto had nothing that grabbed me, so I went with my back-up. A free app called Yard Sale Treasure Map.
This is a useful tool that draws a map based on your zip code to the location of sales posted to Craig's List. It is not always easy to verify the sales on that site, so be wary. However, just like any sale is a calculated risk, all it takes is one good one to forgive all the bad ones. Speaking of good ones....
Remember back at the start of this story...
As is often the case, no matter what the descriptions read, I have to eventually choose a direction. In this case, the image of an old desk was enough for me to take a chance 20 minutes south on Route 25 in the town of Monroe, CT.
After driving for a while, I could have given up. The turn-off from the main roads showed no posted signs, this could be a bust. The final turn down the listed road began to look hopeful - it was a winding old farm road - I was driving back in time. Finding the property, I saw another hopeful icon....
A dumpster on site usually means the whole home is to be cleared out. It can also be a bad sign - the house could truly be empty and the dumpster could be off limits. If you really want to try and save history, a dumpster dive may be in your future - to do that - this next part is maybe the most important tip of all.
The only way to get the most out of any sale is to find the person running it and introduce yourself. I don't believe business cards really work as intended, they rarely generate calls and usually end up in a pile on someone's desk or dresser. What they are good for is how they represent a physical verification of who you are - like show your ID. In that moment you can hand over a card that states to the holder, "This is who I am. I have nothing to hide."
Does this mean you have to go buy a batch of business cards to treasure hunt? No. A simple greeting and some small talk goes a long way to building a good sales relationship.
The seller, Adam, was open and friendly to my goals and when I asked if I could take a look in the dumpster, dig inside the house, look more closely that other searchers, he was okay with it. The dumpster story is for another day, because it was inside the home where I had another unique opportunity to dig. Take a look at this short video story I put together.
Wondering what was in the dumpster....Stay tuned.