Treasure Hunting in Elkader


By Ben Whittle

City Wide Garage Sales is an annual event in Elkader where people come from both Elkader and out of town to sort through and buy other people’s unwanted items. As the saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Many people have strategies to find the treasure such as marking down the places that they’ve either been to before and had good luck or just ones they’ve heard about. Others just stop at whichever looks the most promising. Some people do it for business, but they are more particular about things they find at garage sales to resale.

Brenda Hach also goes to City Wide Garage Sales and explained her process. She thinks it’s super important to be there first to get the things that are more desired. Hach tends to drive around and follow the signs rather than follow the map with all the addresses, but she does thinks it’s a good idea along with having City Wide Garage Sales. It makes it worth the time and money to go to a bunch of them all on the same day rather than going to some every once in awhile or just missing them all together.

When looking for desired items, just look while you drive by. People usually have a few things out in the driveway. This helps you to see if the items seem to be a possible draw to what you may be looking for. Hach’s example of this would be, “if you see toys or children’s ride on toys or bikes, this would be a sign that there are probably children’s clothes for sale also.”

“When I go to a city wide garage sale I do take a good friend of mine along. I think this makes it more fun. When we go we take my van. It has stow and go seats so there is a lot of room for items. I see many people with trucks though.” Usually you shouldn’t need a truck unless you’re looking for furniture or other items that are bigger. These items usually cost more but most things are reasonably priced because the seller obviously just wants to get rid of everything they’re selling.

You can do online research before you go so you know what things should be priced at but Hach says that “I personally have not done a lot of research about items and what is a realistic price to pay. I feel that most items, if they are in good shape, are probably well worth what the owner is asking for it, if you consider what things cost to buy it new.” A lot of people have their own strategies that work for them but in the end is really comes down to timing and luck.

Elkader’s City Wide Garage Sales start June 3rd and go till June 4th. Businesses are also getting ready because this time of the year usually brings a lot of people looking to spend money. These aren’t just the people coming for garage sales. Being its on a Friday and Saturday a lot of people camping in Elkader will be out and walking around town looking for cool places to shop along with the garage salers.

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