SIKESTON -- It's that time of year again. The time when cars line streets and bargain hounds roam all over towns, searching for the best deals.
Yep, it's the height of yard sale season. In Wednesday's edition of the Standard Democrat, 89 garage/yard sales were listed for this weekend -- and that's not counting those in Thursday's and today's paper.
Avid yard sale goer Rhonda Hardin of rural Bertrand said she loves hitting the yard sales.
"I usually go every Saturday, and if I'm not having them, then I'm going to one," Hardin said.
Hardin said she looks for collectibles when she goes, and has seen everything for sale -- from undergarments to pets and cars.
"You name it, they've got it. Sometimes it's better than Wal-Mart. A lot of them are brand new," Hardin said.
With nearly 100 sales to choose from, Hardin uses the process of elimination to determine her route. And then she makes a list.
"I go yard saling on both sides of town across Main Street east side and west side.
According to Shawn Crawford, classified advertising supervisor for the Standard Democrat, May and October are typically the busiest times for garage and yard sales. Over 100 yard sale listings marks the peak of the season.
"Wednesday is the best day to advertise because its the TMC -- total media coverage -- of four counties. And everybody in Sikeston gets a paper on Wednesdays," Crawford said.
But Crawford advised to check Thursday and Friday papers for garage/yard sales for people who miss the Monday deadline.
The best things to advertise are baby clothing, Home Interiors items and furniture, Crawford said.
"Now the big thing is everyone wants to put "name brand" clothing in their ads," Crawford noted.
Also popular is offering free coffee and donuts at sales or posting hours for when people get off work on Friday, Crawford said.
Liz Turley of Sikeston said it takes months to prepare for a garage/yard sale. "You get this thing, and it's 'I don't need this anymore, and I'm going to put in yard sale box,'" Turley explained.
And so a sale evolves.
"It's fun," Turley said. "Some of the same people come every time and you've gotten to know them. It's like a party."
When it comes to pricing items, Turley said she's found a lot of people tend to overprice.
"I've read a good rule of thumb is try to price it at a tenth of what you paid for it," Turley noted.
After all the idea of holding a sale is getting rid of the items a person doesn't want, Turley pointed out.
"If you have no need for it, why clutter your place up? And I have a rule: once it goes outside, it doesn't come back. Anything left is donated somewhere," Turley said.
The best way to sell items is to have them clean and offered at low prices. Haggling prices isn't out of the question, either.
"It's not rare. That's kind of part of it," Turley said.
Sometimes fellow yard sale goers get vicious Hardin said.
"If you want it, you better grab it up because the next person standing beside you will snatch it up.
Like Hardin, Turley prefers going to yard sales rather than hosting one. "I look for books, puzzles and whatever is in my mind right now. When I see it, I just know it -- and you can buy it at a fraction of the cost," Turley said.
Instead of paying $50, a person could get an item for $10, Turley said.
"You can buy books for 25 to 50 cents, and even $1 is still cheaper than other books," Turley said.
Of course early arrival at sales often means better selection, Hardin pointed out, adding she usually sets out around 6 or 7 a.m. for the sales.
"You can find some really good bargains and older items at yard sales simply because some people don't like them anymore," Hardin said. "You never know what you're gonna find -- and that's what I like about it."