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Ready, set, scavenge!


When it comes to garage sales, my kids and I are hooked. And we're not the only ones, if the numerous garage-sale ads in the newspaper are any indication.

Once we've chosen our destination, the kids stuff their weekly allowance into pocket or pouch, and off we go in search of special treasures and good deals.

Our best bet is finding Saturday "block sales," where rows of houses display their castoffs on lawns and driveways. That way, my school-age kids can look for toys or sports equipment in one yard, while I look for clothes and household items in another.

Here are tips for family bargain hunters:

* This is a good time to get a jump on buying next winter's outerwear for your growing kids. Look for next-to-new jackets, raincoats, boots and ski wear. Even though storage may be a hassle, you won't regret buying costly clothing items at garage-sale prices when next winter rolls around.

* You'll almost always find picture frames at garage sales. The prices can't be beat, since they generally range from 50 cents to $2 apiece. When you get home, dust off the frames, add a coat of paint if you wish, clean the glass, and you'll be set to frame your children's artwork. A collection of "originals" in frames of various sizes makes an interesting art gallery in your home.

* Check out garage-sale ads featuring "sales-rep samples." You may find items ranging from shampoo and perfume to stationery and clothing at giveaway prices. Decorative combs, pen sets and small toys also are common and make ideal birthday-party favors.

To share your comments or ideas for family projects, write Donna Erickson, Features Department, The Sun, Baltimore 21278.

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