How To Navigate The Best Garage Sale Ever

It's not on Etsy or Ebay (though obviously those are prime places to score.) Even though it can be increasingly difficult to find bargain price clothing + home decor + books, you just have to know where to look. And one of my favorite -- if not ultimate favorite -- is the Our Lady of Sorrows Trash and Treasure Sale. 

Held each July 4 in Homewood, the sale is an entire gymnasium -- part of a parking deck -- filled to the rafters with impeccably organized everythings. The sale is entirely run by volunteers, who painstakingly sort donations from parishoners and the community. Proceeds from the sale benefit  the church, the school, and local charities. 

Each year I write about my OLS finds, which you can read about here and here. This year I got an extra special treat -- a sneak peak at the sale. I brought a few things home.

Everything in this photo came from this year's sale, including the jewelry, needlepoint and the linens. Antropolo-where?

Pro tip: head straight to the collectibles section, where this jewelry came from. When you walk in the gym, it's immediately in front of you. (Oh, and another tip -- bring your own bags -- you're going to find a lot to take home. And and go for a small cross-body purse or pockets -- gotta maximize efficiency here.)

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Here's a few things on the collectibles aisle I scouted for you. You're welcome. 

Also, near the collectibles, there's a long wall of figurines. You know you want that porcupine:

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That's where I got this little lady and her partner:

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And this glorious guy, who has joined my "Pretty Kitty" painting, also purchased from an OLS sale. Meow. 

This year the furniture is located in the parking deck -- a change from the tend of previous years. I will say: if furniture is your #1 priority, you should head here first, and then to the gym. It's always a tough choice. I'm with you in spirit on this one. 

The furniture area also has art -- look to the left when you walk in. This is where I've gotten some of my favorite items over the years (see: Pretty Kitty and a little fella at the end of this post.)

Here's the deal -- when you see something you want, flag down a nice volunteer, they'll mark it "pending sale," and will help you carry it out to your car when you're done. Did I mention they take cash, check and charge? 

One of the things that's so special about the sale is that the volunteers -- an army of men and women from OLS and surrounding parishes -- work on it year-round, with things really going into high gear around Memorial Day.

People like my friend Bill, who gives countless hours to OLS. And helped me scout this painting. It's Alabama in July, and these volunteers work round the clock to make for a great experience -- and to raise money for worthy causes. 

Chairwoman Melanie Falconer has been involved with the OLS Fourth of July Festival for more than 25 years, and working the sale for 20, spending her summers instructing an army of volunteers that transform the gym into a well-oiled department store of sorts. 

Volunteers return to their areas year after years, sorting shoes, and electronics, and books, and toys. Labeling and pricing, turning the hangers so they all face the same way. That's dedication. 

What clothes did I get? Glad you asked. This year's haul included a gold sequined top, Studio 54-appropriate dress, a bacon and egg costume (that counts as clothing right?) And these gorgeous blue leather boots from Barney's. Barney's, people. I think I paid $5 for them. (Fondue cookbook came home too. Delicious.) Shoes, by the way, are located on the back wall of the gym near the cashiers. 

Pay close attention to the racks of belts and scarves near the shoes too. I found this headband (with the tag "Big Beautiful Women" on the back) over there. 

Purses, like these two, are found on the end of the clothing racks. 

This little cute red and blue number might just come out for July 4. Oh, and see that framed fella on the wall? Got him at an OLS sale. My husband says it's creepy to hang photos of strangers in our guest room. But he's balanced out with Communion portraits of me and Nate. #Catholic! 

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So here's the deal: you can get in on the hunt too. The sale officially opens tomorrow, Monday July 4, at 9 a.m. It's free to the public, but you can pay $5 to get in early at 8 a.m., which I highly encourage. Folks start lining up long before that, so use your judgement there. 

The sale is just one part of the 66th OLS Independence Day Festival, which also features barbecue smoked for three days by The Knights of Columbus in a specially built pit. It's actually Alabama's longest running barbecue festival. Treasure hunting, barbecue and games for the kids? America, people. Go celebrate it. 

Our Lady of Sorrows is located at 1720 Oxmoor Road. For more info, check out the Trash n Treasure sale Facebook page.

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