Garage sale strategy: A champion shopper (yours truly) shows you how

More so than tulips or rosebuds, spring brings a multicolored sprout that makes my budget-loving heart leap up: poster-board signs of pink, yellow and green announcing yet another garage sale.

Yes, garage sale season has arrived, and if you toured the Carlozo abode, you'd see evidence of yard sale triumphs everywhere. A Cuisinart toaster over, out-of-the-box new, for $20. It sits next to our microwave oven, a $15 find. I've also landed a 1940s Slingerland snare drum for $25 -- worth 30 times that after I stripped the silver spray paint and refinished the wood shell.

But for sheer bragging rights, nothing tops my mint condition, navy-blue Ermenegildo Zegna tie. Garage sale price: $1. Sale price: $87-$160, depending on where you shop.

That said, I've brought home my share of duds. A Soldier Field-replica Chicago Bears serving platter, complete with football-shaped bowl for holding "da dip." Rusty power drills that fried the moment I plugged them in at home.

So based on my years of experience trawling the yards, garages and alleys of Chicago, I present my five tips for garage sale success. Read on, and prepare to score, and please: Share your tips and victory stories with me and WalletPop readers. So many sales, so much to learn!