Deal hunters at last year’s popular Moun- tain Community Patrol benefit yard sale over Labor Day weekend. Photo: Cid Castillo
The Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend garage sales are popular social and shopping events in the mountain communities. For the serious bargain hunter, they demand preparation, thought and effort. For myself and other local residents who know what these weekends represent, the approach of Memorial Day fills us with delicious anticipation. We fill our gas tanks, wash our cars and call our friends and relatives to arrange a start time.

Here are my suggestions for a successful Memorial Day weekend garage sale extravaganza:

Photo: Cid Castillo

  1. On the Wednesday before Memorial Day, obtain four copies of the Idyllwild Town Crier newspaper. The Town Crier now includes maps with numbers marking the location of each garage sale. This makes things a lot easier. If you want a larger street map, the Town Crier has one available.
  2. Sit down with the garage sale section of the Town Crier and mark each garage sale by the day(s) it takes place. The sellers choose their days to sell so a really great one might only be on Saturday and another only Sunday or Monday. This makes going every day a must.
  3. Mark the ads for Pine Cove, Idyllwild and Fern Valley with different colored highlighter markers. That way, you won’t miss one.
  4. Make sure the driver knows the roads and that the navigator has sharp eyes to spot sales that are not in the ads and thus not on the map.
  5. Load up on water, granola bars and if you are off to an early start, breakfast burritos. Stop for lunch at any of our great restaurants. Make sure your route takes you past The Fort in downtown Idyllwild or the Forest Service ranger station at the corner of Pine Crest and Highway 243 for restroom breaks. When the car gets full, go home and unload, fill up the water bottles, use the bathroom and get a bag of cookies. Then, start all over again.
  6. When the day is done, go home and admire your treasures. Sometimes the best find has some use other than the intended one. For example, screw metal hooks into a bunk bed ladder and hang it sidewise on a kitchen wall and use it to hang coffee mugs. The rest of the day can be spent cleaning, polishing and repurposing your “new” treasures.