The World’s Longest Yard Sale officially starts this Thursday August 5th and runs through Sunday August 8th. Also known as the Hwy 127 sale, it starts in Alabama and makes it way through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and southern Michigan, for a total of 690 miles. Yes, that’s 690 miles of yard sales!
I have been shopping the sale since 2014 and if you haven’t shopped it yet, I would highly recommend it if you enjoy antiques, vintage, and just regular yard sales. There really is something for everyone. The first year that I went, I took my daughters with me. While they enjoyed parts of it, such as finding toys and clothes for their American Girl dolls, it just wasn’t for them. Something about spending all day in 90+ degree heat and stopping and shopping over and over just didn’t appeal to them. They were good sports though but they tell me to go without them now (LOL).
Here they are that first year showing a few of the treasures that we found. That was a fun trip.
Since this will be my eighth year, I thought I would share some tips on how I approach the sale. Before I share the list, let me start by saying that I usually start at the beginning point, which is in Gadsden, Alabama near Noccalula Falls State Park because that is the closest point to where I live. I have heard great things about shopping spots in Kentucky and Ohio, but most of my shopping is done closer to home in Alabama and Tennessee. I usually skip the Georgia portion because the route only goes through the very northwest corner of the state and there usually aren’t that many sales there.
Tips for Shopping the World’s Longest Yard Sale
1.Bring a cooler full of cold water. This year it looks like the first couple of days of the sale won’t be as hot as usually (temperatures in the mid 80s), but that is still plenty hot and it is very easy to get overheated. You might even consider keeping some cold, wet hand towels in your cooler and wrapping those around your neck to keep cool.
2. Bring snacks. I recommend easy-to-eat snacks such as carrots, celery, and fruit. Also pack some peanut butter crackers, chips, cookies, granola bars, or whatever else appeals to you. Make sure you have plenty of hand sanitizer to wipe your hands because they will get very dirty at this sale.
3. Bring a copy of the route map. This is especially important for the Alabama, Georgia, and southern-most portion of Tennessee. While many people call it the 127 sale, the route doesn’t become 127 until you get to Signal Mountain, Tennessee, north of Chattanooga. The sale route actually follows the Lookout Mountain Parkway in Alabama. It is an absolutely beautiful drive but you will need a map to know where to go. Remember also that you can’t always rely on your phone’s GPS in some of the more rural areas of the route.
4. Bring cash. Make sure you have plenty of cash with you, especially smaller bills if you like to buy less expensive things. Vendors aren’t going to want to give you change for a twenty if you are only buying a one dollar item. Also, there are a lot of areas that don’t have ATM machines or the machines are out of cash. While some vendors will accept electronic forms of payment, remember that the signal can be iffy and they may not be able to process your payment.
5. Don’t park in the road. This is a big thing in Alabama and the police will ticket you for this. Some places have designated parking areas and that is great. However, if you have to park on the side of the road, make sure your vehicle is not in the road at all. The police will ticket you if you are parked over the white line on the side of the road.
6. Drive slowly and pay close attention. Sometimes the car in front of you will randomly slam on their brakes at the sight of a yard sale so don’t follow too closely. Most people are careful, but some will just dart out in front of you as you are driving. Remember that the majority of the route is a highway and there are large trucks on this highway. Make sure you pay attention before you pull out onto the road or slow down suddenly. Pay attention to who is in front of you and behind you.
7. Bring a list of what you are hoping to find. There is so much stuff for sale at the World’s Longest Yard Sale. It is easy to get distracted by all the things that you have never thought of buying before. Keep a list of the types of things you collect or are interested in purchasing close by and check it periodically throughout the day. You might even want to include things on your list that family members and friends collect.
8. Pace yourself. There are thousands of yard sales along the route. It is easy to get overwhelmed by everything that is out there. It is also easy to spend all of your money early in the day. Check out a sale but don’t buy something just to buy something. If you don’t see something that you want at one sale, then get back in your car and drive to the next one. There is plenty out there for everyone and you never know what you will find at the next sale. However, if you see something that you really want, and especially if it is a hard-to-find item, then you might want to go ahead and get it before someone else does.
9. Be friendly. It can be easy to get caught up in rushing from one sale to the next without ever saying a word. Don’t do that. Make a point to say hello and make eye contact with each dealer when you walk into their booths. Obviously, if they are busy with another customer then you don’t need to do this but it is just common courtesy and it will make the day more pleasant for both of you. Plus, it might help you get a better deal when you are ready to make a purchase.
10. Have fun! While some of us shoppers are dealers and are looking for inventory, lots of folks are there just to see what is out there or to find things to add to their collections. Like many dealers, I buy to resell but I also buy things to add to my own collections. Take time to enjoy the scenery, try some foods from local vendors, and talk to the vendors and other shoppers. It is a great opportunity to find treasures and meet some interesting people.
Let me know when and where you will be shopping. I am starting in Alabama and will see how far I can get.