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Hardy shoppers find garage sales

The rain may have reduced the number of yard sales, but the buyers are out there

It's another damp Saturday morning in May and driveways are filled with toys and video games, kitchen utensils and clothing.

Open garages are filled with furniture, tools, golf balls and books ' lots of books.

Caroline O'Boyle has husband John and sons Connor and Duncan in tow in an east Medford subdivision not far from Lone Pine School.

She's snapped up some summer reading for her sons, who are checking out the toys from stop to stop.

— This is Mother's Week, it's not just one day at our house says John O'Boyle. She gets a card and present every day and if she says we're going to garage sales, that's what we're going to do.

The boys appear more than happy with her choice of activities. Connor says he's checking for things teenagers are discarding and Duncan is in pursuit of SpongeBob SquarePants memorabilia.

Like the O'Boyle family, hundreds of Rogue Valley residents circulate neighborhood to neighborhood, looking for garage sale signs and impromptu gatherings around temporary tables.

The rainy spring has somewhat curtailed the season for buyers and sellers. But garage sale hounds are a hearty breed with discerning eyes and a desire to buy an item for next to nothing ' or at least 50 percent less than anyone else would've paid.

People are garage-sale hungry, says Ruth Klosterman, who usually hosts a sale in March. We've been hoping for better weather and I think it's prevented a lot of people from having them. But it doesn't seem to stop the crowds. They came in droves.

Antique and collectable dealers hit garage sales hard when the pickings are good.

Klosterman began her sale on Friday and found a crowd waiting well in advance of opening time.

We had a recliner, she says. We didn't even get it out the door before a woman bought it.

Reasons for garage sales range from the need to rediscover living and hobby shop space to avoiding trips to BioMass, the recycling station or Goodwill.

We're trying to reclaim our garage, says Jim Rose, hoping to clear space for a DeWalt sliding chop saw that's been stranded on his deck.

Of course, cash generated from one sale frequently is spent at another the next weekend.

We call it treasure hunting, Klosterman says. We want to do that now, so when the weather gets nice we can go to the coast.

Toni Cox is more than happy to brave the elements as she circulates between sales with an eye on things to resell on eBay.

I'm going down the street to make an offer on something I saw (Friday), she says as she unloads an armload of books and Hot Wheels into her car.

Further to the east, on a bluff overlooking Coker Butte and the north end of the valley, Pat Henderson greets a steady parade of browsers at his annual sale.

Odds and ends ranging from X-files videos and bicycle seats to carpet remnants and a &

36;795 gazebo await visitors to his multi-level stucco home at the end of a dead-end road. He planned to open at 8 a.m., but enough people were waiting that he began selling an hour earlier.

Traffic is so unbelievable down on Foothill (Road) that I didn't even need to advertise, says Henderson. I have apartments and I end up with so much stuff that's left behind. This saves me a trip to Goodwill. I'm hoping everything sells today, so I can ride my bike tomorrow.

Henderson's sale is the fourth of the day for Carlos and Estella Ruiz, who are looking for picture frames and flowers for their house. But they don't find a lot. and Adela Ettlich explains why.

This is a guy sale, she says.

Ettlich and her husband, Steve, start their Saturdays at Starbucks, then hit the garage-sale trail.

Lary Stieglitz scans the classified section of the , then maps out a route for his Saturday morning survey. He found plenty of opportunities ' including a &

36;10 camcorder ' in Phoenix this time around during a citywide sale.

It certainly seems the garage-sale traffic has been light, he says, I imagine things will pick up when it gets warmer.

Pat Henderson waits for customers at his garage sale Saturday off Foothill Road. He had a steady parade of browsers. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven