The Thrift-Mobile

By Barb Tobias
NABBW’s Thrifting Expert

Years ago, I thrift shopped with complete abandon. Little thought was given to equipment, packing material or how I would get my new-to-me treasures home.

Today, as garage sale season approaches, I plan, and turn my vehicle into a well-stocked machine…the “thrift-mobile.” The extra coat, the bags of sand and the collapsible snow shovel (I live in the mountains) make way for an assortment of thrifting essentials.

I\’ve always been fond of big, over-the-top items, so transporting monstrous finds was always a challenge. Having bought another over-the-top item, I would apologetically solicit complete strangers to help bind and secure my find to the tops of my vehicles.

However, since those ill-equipped and ill-mannered days, my enthusiasm for thrift shopping demands that I own a reliable, roomy vehicle with a sturdy rooftop carrier. I also need the right supplies that allow me to breeze through a day of treasure hunting without a hitch.

Like most things in life, the better the plan, the better the outcome. Although sellers will typically make arrangements for shoppers to return in a day or two to pick up bulky items, I always consider the cost of gas and time involved in making a second trip.

    Although my list of “thrifting essentials” appears to be long, all fit nicely into a single plastic bin; one that rides “shot-gun” whenever the back of my car is full. This is my “must-have” list for garage saleing:

  • Large lidded container: Keeps supplies tidy, handy and in one place.
  • Two 25-foot lengths of rope: Secures furniture or bulky items onto the car rack.
  • A weather proof tarp: Protects top-of-the-car loads from inclement weather.
  • 12 Bungees: Secures items to the car carrier and steadies tailgates left ajar.
  • 2 large and 4 small blankets: Packs and protects fragile treasures.
  • Half a dozen clean rags: Wipes up spills and cleans grimy pieces.
  • Sanitizing wipes: Cleans hands between stops.
  • Large plastic garbage bags: Laid flat, they protect car interiors from mud and dust. They also Prevent scratches and cracks when layered between fragile items and double as emergency raincoats during inclement weather.
  • Plastic ties: Bind broken or stray parts.
  • Carpet remnants: Used to stack or wedge between delicate objects.
  • Toolbox: Used for on-the-spot repairs or breaking down items.
  • Thrift Kit: Holds sunscreen, collapsible hat, batteries, a light bulb, compact nylon shopping bag, small flashlight, hand lotion and tissue.
  • Fanny Pack: Holds essentials for on the spot examination and purchase: measuring tape, glasses, magnifying glass, sunglasses, cell phone and money.
  • Change of shoes: Revives tired feet when standing or walking on hot pavement.
  • Garage sale route map: Identifies every sale within a given local. These routes can be laid out using the following tools: gsalr.com, EstateSales.net and Craigslist.com.
  • GPS: Programs addresses of sales, reducing time, frustration and gas.
  • Smart Phone: prefect for sending pictures of items, referencing the Antique Reference Guide and calling for road emergencies.

Barb Tobias is a professional speaker and inspiring coach who renovates lives, homes and wardrobes by sticking her curious little nose into other people’s “thrifty business.” After a lifetime of transforming trash into treasure, this savvy mistress of thrift shares her secrets to finding deals, repurposing before tossing, reconstructing the tattered and renewing things others view as passé in her recent release…Tossed & Found; Where Frugal is Chic. Her “tell all” book is not simply a journey of personal transformation, but teaches a newly frugal nation how to purchase, purge and profit from thrift.