The 127 Yard Sale is the world’s longest yard sale. It typically runs the first Thursday – Sunday of August every year and stretches all the way from Alabama to Michigan. You can find some real treasures and great deals along the yard sale route! Below you’ll find basic information and my best tips for shopping the yard sale!
If you live in a town that the world’s longest yard sale passes through, then you might have a love-hate relationship with the yard sale. I grew up in a small town along the yard sale route and that was sometimes the case for me. I absolutely love yard sales, but the traffic that comes with the 127 yard sale is unreal sometimes. Furthermore, it’s like everyone forgets how to use a turn signal and the car in front of you may slam on their brakes at any given moment because they spotted a woven turkey basket to add to their collection.
All that being said, I was totally one of those people who was driving slow, failing to use my blinker and slamming on my brakes last Saturday. All in the name of yard saleing.
So if you live where the longest yard sale passes through – I get it. Also, I’m sorry for my lack of proper driving skills during the yard sale. It’s only once a year though and there are treasures to be had, so the good outweighs the bad – in my opinion anyway. 😉
I’ve also seen the yard sale go through phases. My earlier memories of it was it being true yard sales. It progressed to where lots of antique vendors came and sat up and you could hardly find a good deal at all. Slowly, I’ve started seeing more of those true yard sales again and more good deals. And that makes me very happy.
Last Saturday, myself and four of my friends loaded up and did a leg of the world’s longest yard sale. We had such a great time and found so many great deals. In case you aren’t familiar with the yard sale, I wanted to write a post about it and give you some tips for shopping it in case you decide to find some treasures for yourself next year during the sale.
When is the World’s Longest Yard Sale?
The 127 yard sale is typically the first Thursday – Sunday in August every year. However, the yard sale used to run for a full week back in the day and some people still abide by that timeline. The Circus and I were shopping the yard sales the Saturday before the Thursday that the yard sales were officially supposed to begin this year. The official dates for the 2019 longest yard sale are August 1st-4th. So go ahead and mark your calendars.
Where does the World’s Longest Yard Sale Start?
Well that depends. The longest yard sale runs all the way from Gadsden, Alabama to Addison, Michigan. Technically, it starts at either end and you can work your way from one end to the other if you so wish.
Photo via 127YardSale.com
From where it begins in Michigan all the way to Chattanooga, Tennessee, the yard sale follows Highway 127. Highway 127 ends in Chattanooga, but the yard sale picks back up again along the Lookout Mountain Parkway in Lookout Mountain, Georgia into Alabama.
I have never completely went from one end to the other. The farthest I’ve ever been was from Dunlap, Tennessee to the Kentucky line one year. This year, I did some shopping in Dunlap, Pikeville and then all along the Lookout Mountain Parkway leg of the sale.
Tips for Shopping the Longest Yard Sale
Go with friends and/or family.
First off, anything like this is a hell of a lot more fun with friends. I went with four other friends this past weekend and we had an absolute ball. Besides laughing at a few questionable items we saw for sale, going with friends is also great because sometimes they might spot something you didn’t that they know you’ll love. Plus, there are some places along the route where you’re in the middle of nowhere – it’s always best to have a buddy when Deliverance could be just one wrong turn away.
My great uncle and I went one year – the year I made it to Kentucky. That was during the time when there seemed to be antique dealers at every turn. I bought one single item during that trip, but it’s still one of my most favorite yard sale trips because as we were walking through all the sales, my uncle would point out all these things that he remembered having around his house when he was growing up.
Take multiple vehicles and fuel up.
This past trip, our posse had one SUV and one truck. The truck bed of course held any larger furniture pieces that we found and the SUV held the smalls.
Also, if you see you’re getting down to a 1/4 of a tank of gas or so, go on and fuel up at the next gas station you see. There are some stretches where there isn’t a service station for quite a while.
When and Where to Start
A lot of this is up to you. Before you go, decide where on the route you want to start and what direction you’re going to go in. If you really want to do the entire thing, then you’re going to want to take off work for at least 3-5 days, I think. It kind of depends on how often you stop at sales. Most of the sales will be open by about 8am each morning. Closing times vary – I saw some people closing up shop around 4pm, but have shopped at some until around 6pm. If you are making this a multi-day event, you’ll need to also book hotels. Since I have always lived so close to the sale, I’ve never made it an overnight trip.
While I’m sure if you are purchasing a big ticket item from a person who is more of an antique vendor you could use a credit card, but for the most part, you’re going to want to have cash. Have plenty of ones, a few dollars in quarters and of course, fives, tens and twenties are good too. I was actually quite surprised by how few people selling had change – I thought that was yard saleing 101. There were a few times this worked in my favor though – I handed them a $5 bill for a $1 item, but since they didn’t have change, they took the $0.50 I offered them instead.
Take bags and/or boxes.
Take some of those reusable grocery bags you have at home or boxes and set them up in your trunk or hatch or whatever. As you buy items, put them in your bag or box. If each person in your crew has their own container of some sort, then this will make dividing things up easier when you’re done. You may also want to throw in a little newspaper or bubble wrap in case you need to wrap up breakables that you purchase.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
Seriously y’all. This is not the time to be cute – especially if your spending a good portion of your time during the sale on the more southern routes. It’s the first weekend of August in the South – we’ve bypassed “hot” and went to just a few degrees below hell. Put on comfortable, breathable clothes. I wore my shortalls with a t-shirt underneath. I opted for the shortalls, because like regular overalls, there are plenty of pockets where I can carry my wallet, keys and phone and not have to lug around my entire purse. If you have to carry a purse, opt for a small lightweight one that you can sling across your body.
I also suggest tennis shoes or some kind of comfortable shoes that are closed toe. You’re going to be walking through lots of yards and some fields. There might be holes here and there. You want comfortable shoes. Additionally, in the mornings or if it rains, these places will be wet – you don’t want wet feet all day, thus why I also suggest closed toe shoes. If you’ve got rain boots, throw those in the car if you want to.
Again, it’s August in the south. Drink plenty of water, people. If you’ve got room, pack a cooler with iced down water. However, if you don’t want to take up valuable potential space for all the treasures you’ll find, people are always selling drinks all over the yard sales for usually $1 or less.
How to find the best deals.
Our group consists of deal finders. We are all cheap. The thing with the 127 yard sale (as I said above) is that there are lots of people who are more antique/vintage dealers that will rent a space for the sale and set up shop. These people tend to be selling their items at prices you would see at your local antique store. Those aren’t the kind of prices we are looking for at yard sales. There are some people who do the 127 sale looking for those kinds of things and will pay those prices. We don’t. We believe yard sales should have yard sale prices. And as my friend Ashely put it, “We don’t care what it sells for on eBay.” Lord, I can’t tell you how many times I overheard some vendor saying that to people. If we wanted to shop on eBay or at an antique store, then we would! We’re yard saleing for a reason, dammit.
This year, my friend Ashley recommended that we take the Lookout Mountain Parkway route of the yard sale. She had done it before with coworkers and swore that it was much better in terms of having “real” yard sales with yard sale prices. She was right! There were of course still some vendors along the way that were essentially asking retail prices for their items, but we got pretty good at identifying those sales and skipped them. If you’re really looking for the good deals, then use these tips while shopping the longest yard sale:
Have a lookout.
I was in the lead with the truck and the SUV behind me. Jason rode with me and was the lookout. As we would approach sales, I would slow down and he would look to see if he thought it was worth us stopping at.
Stop at those church sales.
God bless all the little old church ladies who donate their time and unwanted items to church sales. They tend to have really good stuff at really good prices. They are also just as sweet as can be.
Don’t discount the yard sales off the main route.
Somewhere along the way, you’re going to see signs pointing off the main route to yard sales. These can be hit or miss. More often than not, I’m probably going to check them out because there are going to be a lot of people who don’t want to get off the main route, so there might be a few gems there just waiting for me.
A barn or building full of stuff isn’t always great.
You’ll see a lot of yard sales where they have an entire building or barn with stuff in it for sale. In our experience, this stuff was all overpriced.
If there’s a field full of people set up, then prices probably aren’t that great.
There are lots of property owners along the yard sale route that will rent out their land to vendors during the sale. You’ll see quite a few really large areas just covered with vendors. In my experience, those people are typically more overpriced. If you see maybe 2-5 people set up selling somewhere though, you might find a good deal there. For the most part though, we found the best prices at family yard sales along the way.
Don’t forget that you can offer less than what they are asking. This is especially true at the end of the day on Saturday and on Sunday. Toward the end of the day on Saturday, we ran into quite a few people who were packing it up or told us that would be their last day. They were very much ready to make a deal so they didn’t have to take it all with them. This is even more so the case on Sunday since it is the final official day of the yard sale.
Enjoy the scenery and atmosphere.
One of my best friends, Jason, rode with me this past weekend when we hit up the sale and we both really enjoyed the scenery along the route. We both agreed that if you wanted to see parts of the real south – not the big cities, but small southern towns, that the longest yard sale was definitely a way to do it and find some great deals at the same time. Stop at local restaurants to eat – skip the chains! We had lunch at a little BBQ place and it was some of the best BBQ I’ve had.
And now for what you’ve really been wanting to know – What did I get at the yard sale?
I spent $57 at the yard sale during the one day I went with my friends and I got everything you see above. The full breakdown:
- A glorious Camel Stand/Side Table (Jason’s dear mom, Judy, who is our group mom, actually picked this up for me at a 127 yard sale in our home town, I’m including it here though since I got it on Saturday! Thank you, Judy!!)
- Countless Christmas decorations include vintage Santas, nutcrackers, vintage Christmas signs, outdoor lights, basic ornaments, a bow maker, lights, two brass horns and more.
- Two Brass Camel Home Decor Accessories
- A Vintage, but Broken Toy Train that I plan on jazzing up for Christmas and a smaller train car to bling out for Christmas as well
- Three Vintage Brooches
- A Clock originally purchased in Saudi Arabia that will get adorned with vintage Santas for Christmas
- Vintage Picnic Basket
- Umbrella with a Wooden Duck Head Handle – I’m a sucker for old umbrellas with adorable handles!
- A random bunch of bamboo
- Multi-Colored Animal Lights
- Multiple Pieces of Clothing
- Two Wool Plaid Blankets that are heavy, warm and will be beautiful at Christmastime
- Framed Fern Cross Stitch
- Framed Carousel Art (going to jazz that frame up with a pop of color!)
- Halloween Candelabra
- Not pictured: a kid’s play guitar, one Beanie Baby and a Barbie Horse Drawn Carriage (all for the Circus.)
I did a Facebook live on Sunday going through everything I bought, if you didn’t catch it, you can watch it here!
The Circus and I did do a few of the 127 yard sales the weekend before and there were a few other things I got then too that aren’t pictured here. I think that day I spent about $30 or so.
Have you shopped the 127 Yard Sale before?
Don’t forget to mark your calendars for next year!
Also, you can find more information and resources about the longest yard sale on 127yardsale.com!
Most importantly – strap those treasures in on your way back….
Couldn’t risk breaking that camel!
You might also want to see…