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Yard Sale Route Planner: How to Create a Yard Sale Map

A person plans a yard sale map

Today in the Yard Sale Radar Blog, we’re sharing our suggestions for planning a yard sale map. If you’ve ever tried to visit multiple yard sales in a single day, you’ve probably noticed that you can spend a lot of time getting from one sale to the next.

Five minutes here, ten minutes there: it adds up! This is a common problem for yard sale treasure hunters. In fact, it’s known in mathematics and computer programming as the traveling salesman problem.

If you need to visit a bunch of different locations, what’s the best order to do it? Luckily, there are some good ways of dealing with this problem.

Finding Good Yard Sales

First of all, you can’t create a yard sale map if you don’t have any yard sales to visit! Thankfully, finding yard sales is easier than ever with Yard Sale Radar. You can find local yard sales right now!

We also make it incredibly easy for sellers to post a yard sale listing. We offer better search tools than online classifieds, and we present the information in a better way, which helps to connect buyers and sellers more effectively.

So be sure to tell your fellow treasure hunters, and the sellers at any yard sales you visit, to check us out!

Building a Yard Sale Route Planner

Now that you have yard sales to visit, it’s time to create your yard sale map. Here are our suggestions for getting the most out of your treasure hunting day:

1. Choose What Goal You’re Aiming For

There is always a “best” route. Usually, this is the route that saves you the most time, although some people prefer to figure out the best route in terms of saving gasoline, having an easier drive (or walk / bike ride), or being in certain parts of town at a certain time of day (e.g., for lunch).

The first step in building the best yard sale map is to figure out which of these goals you’re aiming for, because that will give you some fixed points in your yard sale route planner that you can build around.

2. Hit the Most Exciting Yard Sales First

Most yard sale veterans will tell you that some sales are more exciting than others. You should always visit the exciting ones first, because as the day goes on the best goodies tend to get snapped up.

In our experience, it’s usually worth spending extra time in your day, or visiting fewer yard sales overall, in order to visit the most exciting yard sales early—even if that means wrecking the efficiency of your yard sale map route by driving clear across town.

3. Play Around in Google Maps

Google Maps can be a great tool in determining the best route between two points. Enter the addresses of your yard sales into Google Maps, and try changing the order of the yard sales until you find the yard sale map route with the shortest total distance. This works best if you have five or fewer yard sales you want to visit.

4. Visit One Neighborhood at a Time

If you don’t want to bother with creating a formal yard sale route planner, the best way to make a good yard sale map is to visit one neighborhood at a time, visiting all the sales in that area before moving on. Start with the neighborhood that has the most sales, then go to the neighborhood with the next-most sales, and so on.

5. Try Route Optimization Software

Lastly, you can try downloading route optimization software. This includes apps with a feature specifically focused on building your yard sale map for you. These routes are optimized based on the shortest travel times.

Route optimization software is a good solution for hardcore shoppers who plan to hit as many yard sales as possible in a single day, or for those who want a fully automated yard sale route planner.