I recently had one of the neatest experiences of my life when GMC invited me to be a part of the design team for their 2015 Hidden Treasure Adventure! Our mission was to shop the World’s Longest Yard Sale for “hidden treasures” to furnish a Habitat for Humanity house in Atlanta, Georgia. If you’ve ever wondered what you can fit into a GMC Yukon Denali while shopping 700 miles of yard sales, the answer is A LOT!
Our adventure started in Detroit, Michigan where we all met to discuss the details of our trip. Our design team consisted of eight bloggers – six of us had specific rooms to decorate, and two of the girls who’ve done the GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure (GMCHTA) in the past served as our mentors. Joining the eight of us were four fantastic staff members from GMC who coordinated our trip.
It was here that we learned about the people we were volunteering to help – the wonderful and hard-working Yaro family who have moved to the United States from Ivory Coast, Africa to make new lives for themselves.
The six designers assigned rooms were each given $285 cash from GMC to use along the World’s Longest Yard Sale to furnish our spaces. In addition, we were also supplied a $50 gift card from Lowe’s to purchase additional supplies. I was so excited to discover I had been assigned Yassine’s bedroom! The only information I received about Yassine was that she was 10 years old (I found out later when I met her that she had recently turned 11), and liked pink and purple, drawing, painting, swimming, and gymnastics. A twin sized bed frame and mattress had been donated for the room by a local GMC dealer, but the rest was up to me to purchase.
Being a girl mama, my mind was instantly filled with ideas! In addition to the brief bio I received on Yassine, I saw she had a one-year-old little brother, so in my opinion (and coming from a family of 7 sisters and 5 brothers) it was important to create a room she could go to when she needed space, or peace and quiet to do her homework and art. I also knew I wanted to give her a room that would be feminine, yet grow with her into her teenage years, so I instantly thought of richer, bolder dark pinks and purples. Of course you never know what you’re going to find along 700 miles of yard sales, so you’ve got to keep an open mind.
In addition to Yassine’s bedroom I was also assigned the hallway bathroom, so I really needed to make my $285 budget stretch. Let the haggling begin!
We left Detroit, Michigan and drove to the start of the World’s Longest Yard Sale in the comfort of gorgeous, fully loaded, new GMC Denalis to begin our cross country, yard-saling road trip. I had the pleasure of being carmates with the ridiculously adorable Brooke from All Things Thrifty and the super sweet and charming Michael from Inspired by Charm – and boy did the three of us have a blast together!
The World’s Largest Yard Sale is one of those things you have to see to believe. Stretching 700 miles from Michigan to Alabama along Highway 127, this four day sale only occurs once a year (early August) and draws bargain hunters from all over the country. There is truly everything and anything you can imagine along the way including vintage finds, antiques, typical yard sale goods (clothes, toys, knick knacks), crafts, repurposed and specialty vendors, furniture, good junk, bad junk, and junk that should’ve bypassed the 127 and headed straight to the junk yard.
We had two days to shop the World’s Longest Yard sale before heading over to Atlanta, Georgia to furnish and decorate the Yaro family’s home. On our first day we drove through Ohio and into northern Kentucky before stopping for the night, and here are the treasures I found along the way:
Faux Floral Pink Rose Garland (pic on my Instagram): Priced at $1, purchased for $.50.
Brand new shower curtain, white bud vase, and wire basket: No prices listed, purchased all for $5.
Wooden side table and two metal star-shaped baskets: Paid the $5 sticker price for the table and got the stars for free.
Accent table: Priced at $15, paid $12.
I got a great score at a yard sale in Sherwood, Ohio! I found a large bulletin board (priced at $5), a little metal desk lamp (priced at $.50) and this wooden easel (priced at $3). The easel needed quite a bit of TLC, but I really wanted one for Yassine’s room and couldn’t be sure I’d find another along the sale so I took a chance on it. (And I’m glad I did – it was the only easel I saw the entire trip.) I purchased all three items for only $4…
…but that wasn’t even my big steal! Brooke (who I’m convinced is an expert book finder) spotted a set of children’s books with beautiful bindings. They were priced at $3 for the set of 12 books and I talked them down to $2. Brooke later discovered that the set is worth more than $300! (She also found a similar set at the same sale for Michael’s boy’s room worth $200 – and Michael only paid $2!)
Thank you Sherwood, Ohio!
Next I found a green metal shelf (to match my bathroom shower curtain) priced at $20; I paid $15.
My last purchase on our first shopping day of the World’s Longest Yard Sale was a little piggy bank. Michael had the fun idea of trying to find matching piggy banks for Yassine and her brother Elias (Michael was designing Elias’s room) and he spotted these little cuties in Franklin, Ohio. We paid $2 each for them (and later discovered we both decided to spray paint them gold when we spruced them up for the rooms – great minds!).
Total Day 1 Purchases: $45.50.
On our second and final day of the yard sale we drove from Frankfort, Kentucky to Chattanooga, Tennesse. I still had a hefty “wish list” for Yassine’s room but the main things I really needed to find on this day were a dresser, desk chair, and bedding so I could finalize the room’s color scheme. I also still needed wall art and accent pieces, but I was hesitant to buy any of those things until I had a dresser purchased since I had no clue how much one would cost me. With $240 left in my yard sale budget I was prepared to spend the majority of it on a good quality dresser that would last Yassine for years. My hope was I could find one that wouldn’t need any refinishing since we only had about 24 hours to spruce up our purchases and decorate the house.
Here’s what I found on Day 2:
Chair: Priced at $10, paid $10. It was the only item I purchased for sticker price on the yard sale, but St. Vinny’s was the vendor so it was for a good cause. (And totally worth it – this chair was gorgeous and in excellent shape.)
Next, I spotted this chain link fence gate and instantly knew I had to have it. It was a little more than I wanted to spend since I hadn’t found a dresser yet, but once I told the sellers my plans for it they dropped the price to $25. Sold!
I spotted these lampshade frames at a huge yard sale stop in Salvisa, Kentucky. Again, I still hadn’t found a dresser so didn’t want to spend money on accessories, but these were screaming my name and I had the perfect plan for them. They were priced at $5 each, but the seller (Carol’s Treasure Box) was so incredibly sweet that once she found out about our GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure she gave me all three lampshade frames for $5 and let me choose three antique frames (that I’d been drooling over) for FREE!
My last purchase on the yard sale was (finally!) a dresser. Although I was hoping to find something I wouldn’t need to refinish, this dresser had beautiful lines, sturdy drawers that were easy to open and close, and the price was right. It was marked at $45 but I talked the seller down to $30.
That last yard sale stop was a muddy one, but nothing our Denali couldn’t handle. We quickly discovered she handles Kentucky mud like a boss. (And then I offered to take her off of GMC’s hands since we’d gotten her all dirty. I’m still awaiting delivery.)
After this stop, Brooke, Michael and I agreed our next priority was linens and other items we wanted or needed to buy brand new, so we veered off Hwy 127 and hit the interstate. My focus was bedding, and after stops at multiple stores throughout Kentucky and Tennessee I finally found something I liked (at Ross) for Yassine that wasn’t too “babyish” or too grown up, and in exactly the dark bold shade of magenta pink I was hoping for.
The bottom item pictured is a beautiful pink, green, purple and white quilt I found for $21, and the top item is a body pillow. I realized the pillow would be too big for Yassine’s twin sized bed, but the color was perfect and I loved the larger pattern with the floral quilt, so I decided to purchase it anyway and cut it down to a smaller pillow size and use the remaining fabric to recover the desk chair I purchased on the yard sale. Body pillow price: $10.
I also purchased a 4’x6′ multicolored rug for $15, a floral wall print ($13) that tied in all of the colors I wanted to use in Yassine’s room, and a set of dark pink placemats that were cheap and I figured I could use for pops of color somewhere in the space. Total amount spent at Ross: $68.77.
Next we hit up Walmart where I purchased the rest of the linens I needed for Yassine’s room (sheets, pillow, pillowcase), items for the hallway bathroom that I wanted new for the family (bath towels, hand towels and washcloths), and bathroom items I couldn’t find on the yard sale (shower curtain rod, hooks and liner, toothbrush holder, soap dispenser, etc.). Total amount spent at Walmart: $77.01.
Lastly, I picked up some hand soap and toothbrushes at a dollar store for $2.12.
Total Day 2 Purchases: $217.90.
When our second day of shopping was over, we all met up in Chattanooga, Tennessee for a fantastic late night dinner at a locally sourced restaurant called Public House. The next day we were up early to make the final stretch of our drive to Atlanta, Georgia to finally see the house we’d be decorating! There were a couple of surprises once we were allowed in the house. For starters, I had totally guessed the layout of the hallway bathroom incorrectly. I was also surprised to discover Yassine’s bedroom had one window (there were two drawn on the rough sketch I’d received) and heavily textured vaulted ceilings which meant I had to nix my original idea of painting her ceiling magenta to match her bedding. On the plus side, I was happy to see there was a little alcove in her room that would be the perfect spot for her desk.
With our design plans adjusted it was time to make our final shopping trips for any additional items and all of the DIY supplies we needed. I hit up Ross again for a curtain rod, bath rug and additional bathroom storage items (total: $28.85) and then made my way to Lowe’s where I purchased wall paint, chalk paint, paint supplies, towel hooks, hardware, potted succulents and a ton of spray paint. Total amount spent at Lowes: $142.86.
Total Day 3 Purchases: $171.71.
In the end, my total expenses for both Yassine’s bedroom and the hallway bathroom were $435.11 which I thought was great for two spaces! After spending my $285 cash from GMC and $50 Lowe’s gift card, I donated about $100 of my own money to the project which was totally worth it to give Yassine brand new bedding and supply the bathroom with new towels. In addition to our cash budget, our GMC coordinators also helped offset our budgets by getting us painting supplies, renting the power tools we needed and running to the store for last minute items. Jenn and Dee from GMC even found curtains for me! On top of that, there was major team spirit among all of the designers. Brooke, who was one of our mentors, purchased some great accessories for Yassine’s room which totally finished off the space. Rhoda and Lucy were also lifesavers for me during the final hours as they made Lowe’s runs and texted the group to see if anybody needed anything, and I was all, “SCREW HOOKS!” and “SPRAY PAINT!” My point? I would have gone over budget even more if it hadn’t been for the generosity of all these lovely people!
So that’s the World’s Longest Yard Sale (and budget) wrap-up. Tomorrow I’ll be posting Yassine’s bedroom reveal and I’m so excited to share it! This post is already longer than your kids’ summer break, but I can’t close out this post about my cross-country GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure without adding a couple more things…
Shopping the World’s Longest Yard Sale is such a unique and amazing experience, but something I wasn’t expecting was all the beautiful Americana scenery along the way! If you ever get the chance to drive Hwy 127 (or even I75 through Kentucky and Tennessee) I highly recommend it. I’d love to make the trip again when I’m not in a rush, just to pull over and take photos of all the gorgeous barns, houses, Main Streets, downtowns, and country scenery.
Last but not least – these guys:
I had no clue what to expect, and no clue who I’d be spending four days practically living in a car with when I agreed to go on this adventure.
MAN am I awesome at picking things to say yes to!
I’d met Brooke a few times before at blogger events and could tell she was such a sweetheart, but had never met Michael before this trip. We were all standing around outside the Detroit airport, kind of doing that awkward, “Where are you from again?” thing when our Denalis pulled up and GMC said, “Split up however you’d like and pick a car.” We all kind of shifted about and circled our toes in the proverbial sand, and then Michael shrugged, looked at me and Brooke and said, “How about the three of us ride together?”
It was awesome.
We drove more than 1,000 miles over five days and we talked the ENTIRE TIME. None of us napped along the way – we just talked, and talked and talked. We didn’t even turn the radio on until the last day and even then we kept it turned down so we could keep talking! I don’t think I’ve ever in my life hit it off and then spent so much time with two people I didn’t even know. They are both funny, wonderful, thoughtful, brilliant people who inspired me to be better at pretty much every aspect of life. (And I’m totally adding them to my Italy trip.) That experience alone would have made it one of the most memorable experiences of my life – and then we had this whole huge other amazing thing that we were doing on top of it all!
Yassine’s room reveal, coming tomorrow…