Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The World's Longest Yards Sale, Pt. 1

We have been planning the WLYS trip for years.  Well, dreaming rather.  The real planning began about a year ago when we determined that this would be the year.  We had many obstacles to overcome, pregnancy, trees falling through roofs, new jobs and lonely husbands.  But we powered through and made it happen.

First let's meet the crew, my partners in crime:

Mom ( Di):

Loves pink, roses, chintz ware, teacups, doilies and her grandchildren. 

Hobbies: Sewing, baking, decorating, gardening

Occupation:  Full-time prayer ministry warrior and homemaker


Loves bright colors, Fiesta ware, vintage treasures, books and her husband, Rob.

Hobbies: Sewing, crafting, decorating, yard saling.

Occupation: Newly hired office manager for an independent furniture design company in High Point, NC.


Loves black, white, grey, classic colors, classic furniture pieces, awesome fabric, jewelry for all occasions (ask her about her "pool earrings"), her husband, Evan.

Hobbies: Sewing, decorating, yard saling, refurbishing furniture, talking to her insurance adjuster regarding the on-going home repairs from the tree that crashed through her roof last month. (ok, maybe that last one was not a hobby).

Occupation: Designer for an independent furniture design company in High Point, NC.


Loves robins egg blue, jadite, birds, vintage junk, her husband Justin and her boys.

Hobbies: Sewing, crafting, yard saling, and curb picking.

Occupation: Full time mommy

This was all of our first trip to the WYLS.  So we got on the ol' interwebs and did some research.  There were some helpful tips and route maps but all in all, I found a lot of it very jumbled and confusing.  Here in, I will try to write with a bit more of a detailed and easy-to-follow route summary.  And hopefully I can provide some lessons learned or ideas for next year that could help others.

Here is the route we followed:

We left Greensboro, NC on Wednesday and drove to Chattanooga, TN, where we spent the night. We entered the WLYS at Chattanooga on Thursday morning.  We traveled south along the route into Georgia and a ways into Alabama before hopping off onto Hwy 59 and heading back to Chattanooga, where we again spent the night.  On Friday morning we headed north on Hwy 127 along the sale route.  We spent the night in Danville, KY and saled the route to Frankfort where we exited to head back home, via Beattyville, KY to visit Jenni's in-laws.

We had originally hoped to get farther down towards Gadsden, AL but found that we weren't able to cover as much ground the first day as we were just getting our sale legs.

We pre-booked hotels in Chattanooga, TN and Danville, KY.  We booked about a month ahead of time and found that our original overnight choice of Jamestown, TN had to be changed to Danville, KY as their were no vacancies along the route between Crossville, TN and Danville.  Book early, people!  Places fill up.  (Even the Motel 6, bleah)

Because of this, we were forced to drive through some of the best hot spots, such as Crossville, TN, at night and could only see the many tents and booths shut up by the side of the road in our headlight beams.  It was painful.  It also meant that we arrived at our hotel room after 1 am because we had to drive so far, along unfamiliar, dark and winding mountain roads, with a U-Haul.

It was a good first run.  We covered much of the main portion of the WYLS.  We all agreed that the next time we do this we will concentrate on one state or two halves of one state.  I vote for Tennessee.  I thought it had the best concentration of sales, even if there were more vendors.

Here's what we consider a list of WYLS must-haves:
  • U-haul trailer or large commercial van
  • wrapping supplies for breakables, blankets for furniture
  • laundry baskets, large tupperware bins (we each had one bin and one laundry basket) to hold "smalls" and keep our purchases separated.  If you have more than one person buying blue glass ball jars, you will have no idea how many or which ones you each bought by the end of the trip.
  • cooler.  We didn't find it as hard as others had warned us it was to find food and places to buy snacks along the route but it certainly saves time if you can just dig some cheese sticks out of the cooler before heading off to another sale.
  • ziplock bags, gallon and quart sized.  These come in handy for collecting smalls, like buttons or sewing notions, filling with ice from hotel machine for cooler, storing leftovers, dirty or wet shoes or clothes, etc. 
  • toilet paper and toilet seat protectors.  Much of the south does not believe in toilet seat protectors.  I do.  Also, there are lots of port-o-potties set up next to tent sales and gas stations that have their restrooms closed to the public.  They are generally quite nasty.  Mom and Jenni wouldn't use them.  I am pregnant.  I used them.  You just don't touch anything.  As a lady, this means you have to give your thigh muscles a workout.  They were killing me by the end of this trip.  Which brings us now to our next necessity:
  • hand sanitizer.  We went through about a gallon of the stuff.  Every time we stopped we were digging through junk.
  • baby wipes.  We used them to wash our hands, scrub the excess dirt off of some particularly grimy treasures, wash the dust off our legs, the sweat off our necks and the dirt of our shoes.  The WYLS is dirty.  Just face that before you go and you'll be fine.
  • small bills.  Lots of ones.  I started with about 40 ones, a couple tens and several twenties.  Everyplace we stopped to eat or get gas, I'd break a twenty just to keep myself in the ones.  I used very few quarters all in all.  Mainly because when I bought, I bundled so that I was rarely spending less than a buck at any one stop.  I'll talk more about bundling later.
  • tourist-style neck-slung "trade show" bags.  These were a stroke of genius on Jenni's part.  We already knew we wouldn't be carrying our handbags around the sales but I cringe at the thought of a waistpack...unless it's hot pink and has a New Kids On The Block key chain, that is.  These simple little bags are like the ones used by tourists to hold money and passports.  We kept our money, keys, toilet seat covers, tissues and measuring tapes in them.
  • camera.  We took a lot of pictures!  You want to document the journey!  I wish we'd gotten home in time to take pictures of all the stuff we scored, unwrapped and spread out on display.  But alas, the very next day, Mom and I left for SoCal and the Jennies left for Brazil.  (because, as I mentioned earlier, they are cooler than the rest of us)
  • sunscreen.  It's the south, it's summer, it's hot.  Figure it out.
  • rain jacket/poncho. (we didn't really need these this time as we kept arriving just after a storm had passed through or outrunning the ones coming, but we ran into some soaked individuals who could have used them!)
  • crocs.  Yeah, they are ugly but I saw just how useful they were.  I was the only one who didn't wear them and I was rewarded with some smelly trainers at the end of each day.  The girls just rinsed theirs out in any old sink (more on that story later) or with baby wipes.
  • large reusable totes.  When you are out shopping a big ol' tent sale, you don't want to run back to the car every time your hands get full.
  • lots and lots of water bottles.  Keeping hydrated is crucial!  It's hot and you work up quite a sweat.  Or, should I say, as ladies, that we "felt the heat".
I will add to this list if I think of more things.  I'm sure my partners in crime could think of a few more things!

That's all for today!  Next time: hitting the road...


  1. So fun! I can't believe you did all this in the summer heat while being pregnant!

  2. Dang I can't wait to go!!!!
    And I can't wait to hear more.
    Love from,

  3. Awesome! I am totally come back for more tips. I feel like I should be taking notes! :)