iPhone App Sherpa: Garage Sale Guidance

We all want to be thrifty and clever by finding that perfect item at a local garage sale, but no one wants to spend the weekend scouring Craigslist for ads, printing them out, then plotting a course through your area.

A new iPhone application seems to have come to the rescue. It’s called iGarageSale and it’s simple, elegant pinpoint interface pulls garage sale location and direction information from Craigslist and other classified listings, lists them and then plots them using Google Maps.

For a simple explanation for how responsive and quick this app is to use, just check out the app’s video demo on YouTube, accompanied by this single, poignant comment: “Nice demo, but stupid music.” (It's pretty annoying.)

You can even narrow down your search for that perfect “coffee table” or “lamp” by filtering results using search terms. You can choose between garage sales on a given day or go crazy and search the whole week all at once. For all these reasons, iGarageSale was recently featured by Apple in the "New and Noteworthy" section of the App Store.

One of the most helpful features on this app is its ability to efficiently map out your course across the seas of suburbia. The app will configure the different garage sales into a course loop, so you end up relatively close to where you started. (Bonus: you’ll save some gas too!)

To get started on your way, all you have to do is enter a starting address, a radius for how far away you’d like to travel in increments of 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50 or 100 miles (Good luck to all you 100-mile garage sale voyagers). You can also mark and save listings you are interested in, and return to them later. Or if you’re an over-sharer, you can update your Twitter and Facebook accounts directly with the info on the garage sale you’ll be attending, though you clearly run the risk of serious derision if you do this.

When you download the app you’ll be prompted with a very stern and severe warning that the content you are about to view may contain “mature/suggestive themes, intense alcohol or drug use, etc.” Laughably, there is no such content usually found in the garage sale postings utilized by this app, but to err on the side of caution, Apple imposed the warning because the listings are the product of unfiltered Craigslist mining. But there’s no need to really worry about it.

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