Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 04-25-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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THE VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | APRIL 24-MAY 1, 2019 SPRING IN THE VALLEY 2019 21 Their junk, her treasure Spring means Lanctot is back obsessed with the yard sale chase BLACKSTONE – Spring, for Christine Lanctot, means it's time to get back to her very favorite pastime: yard sale bargain hunting. Lanctot, a resident of Blackstone. who works as activities assistant at the Ballou Home in Woonsocket, is a yard sale, flea market and church bazaar enthusiast who loves saving a great item from someone else's dusty base- ment and giving it a place of value in her own home. She isn't in it for the resale value, and she's far from a hoarder, but Lanctot still can't get enough of this old favorite New England activity. "I start in spring and go all the way through to October and November," she said. "I am obsessed with a bar- gain every time." Lanctot travels with her mom and husband, using The Valley Breeze's yard sale ads to mark out routes for maximum efficiency. Getting to a destination early is important, she said, so if yard sales start at different times, all the better. She leaves home at 7:15 a.m., and has to be at work by 10 a.m., so it's important to plan ahead. Her husband thinks she's crazy because she starts climbing out of the car before he even stops, intent on beating the crowds. She's always looking for a bargain for her house, her husband for a deal on a tool for his workshop, both "sav- ing tons of money" on what they would otherwise pay. "I could not imagine not going to yard sales," she said, adding that her adrenaline gets going just talking about it. In addition to buying items for her- self and her family, including dolls, jewelry, Christmas merchandise and other "knickknacks," Lanctot wheels and deals to purchase items for the residents at the Ballou Home. Seven years ago, she started an activity called "bargain buy show and tell," setting up a table on Saturday mornings and giving out raffle prizes to residents. She makes sure everyone gets a prize. One resident at the first event of the season this month told her how she'd grown up poor and never had a doll. Lanctot was able to give her her first doll, a gift she could tell meant every- thing to the recipient. It feels good, says Lanctot, that she was able to add value at the Ballou Home by starting a fun new program using an activity that she loves so much. For years she used her own money before it just became too expensive and she started getting reimbursed for her purchases. Lanctot doesn't like spending more than $20 on any one yard sale tour, coming home with many times that in value. She'll often tell sellers about her work running activities at the Ballou Home and they'll give her a deal. It takes disciplined bargaining to maximize purchases, she said, and you have to be willing to negotiate down 50 cents on a $2 item. While most items are 50 or 75 cents, she'll spend up to $5. One time she bought a dress with a jacket for a wedding, paying $5 for it, learning that the same outfit would have cost her $75 in the store. "Nothing ratty," she says of her approach to buying clothes. She recalls coming across another huge score at a Saturday morning estate sale in North Smithfield, where she purchased 30 dolls, some very large, for $20. A more routine deal was found with a handy egg cooker. It goes for about $10 in stores, she said, but she bought it at a yard sale, never used, for $1. Successful yard sale shopping involves finding quality items you can use, she said. Much of what she acquires she donates to various causes and organi- zations, including St. James Church in Manville. She'll also donate items such as jewelry that she doesn't wear anymore. So what would Lanctot do without yard sales? "Oh, I don't know, maybe take a walk, but I'd rather go to yard sales any day," she says, laughing. Lanctot has been planning a com- plete redecorating of her house. She has five large boxes of items she's been collecting for that purpose, all purchased cheap at yard sales. She insists she's no hoarder. "Everything has a place," she said. Yard sales present great opportuni- ties to communicate with others. "It's amazing what you can do when you start talking to people," says Lanctot. On additional bits of advice for oth- ers who want to be great at the hobby, Lanctot says it's all about staying orga- nized, going in with a strategy, staying within a budget, and having fun. By ETHAN SHOREY Valley Breeze Managing Editor ethan@valleybreeze.com CHRISTINE LANCTOT, of Blackstone, with some of the thou- sands of items she's purchased at yard sales and flee mar- kets over the years. Lanctot says there's a certain art to find- ing the best deals. (BREEZE PHOTO BY ETHAN SHOREY) FREE Computerized Water Testing Opening Your Pool Early Has Proven to save both Time & Money! 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