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It’s summertime and one of my favorite seasons of the year.

Not just because it’s hot and the days are long, but because of all the little signs on side streets all over the place: Yard Sale!

I’m a sucker for a yard sale, and have been known to stomp on the brakes in search of treasure on the cheap. Mentally, I run through my wallet and then through all the change hiding in various crevices in the car–it’s usually enough to get something, well, fabulous. The best things about yard sales? I’m keeping perfectly reusable items out of landfills, and my beloved Mother Nature doesn’t have to try to choke them down.

Toys are one of the BEST yard sale scores. Clean off kid grime by mixing 2 ozs Pro-Tek Cleaner with a pint of water. Let toys soak. Use a toothbrush if needed to scrub away stubborn grime.

Part of the allure of the yard sale is the mystery–what am I going to find? It’s the innocent nosy-ness of wondering how another family lives. Oh, my goodness, did they have a child obsessed with Blues Clues DVDs? With Barbies? The cassette tapes of 80’s bands takes me back to middle school, and who can resist the kitchen gadgets for next to nothing?

Every once in a while, though, I find a real treasure. Something I’ve been wanting but telling myself was too expensive to buy new–like a set of matching twin comforters for my boys’ new bunk beds. My husband and I had just divorced, and my boys were downsizing from two rooms into one at my home. New bedding would be just the ticket in helping create a non-cluttered look for their smaller space. The comforters were in great shape, but had the smell of someone’s garage. Nothing a thorough washing couldn’t cure, and I still had cash leftover for new sheets.

Watch rust disappear and make old tools look new. Mix 2 ozs Pro-tek Cleaner in a pint of water. Spray on rust and let sit. Then, just wipe rust away.

Another must have? The box of thousands of miscellaneous Legos. “My son would get a Lego kit for Christmas for years,” the owner described to me. “He’d never finish a kit entirely, and we just kept putting all the Legos in a box.” The bright colors didn’t fool me–I know all about boys who pick their noses and splatter Apple Jacks while absorbed in creating spaceships. I plunked down the $15 dollars, brought them home and soaked them in disinfectant. Instant hit at my son’s birthday party. Even more exciting than the cake!

Another great find was from a senior care home. A navy blue Victorian inspired couch–get this–In. Perfect. Shape. It was a little bit soiled, but the bones, solid, and the cushions, firm as New York cheesecake. A little stain removing, et voila! I had a new-to-me couch probably worth about $800, absolutely freeeeeeee!

What can you find this summer that with just a little bit of Pro-Tek Cleaner and elbow grease you can make practically new? We want to see your finds, so send us your pics and stories! And if you need help with dilutions to remove odors and stains, drop us a line. We’re offering $10 off your $80 or greater purchase just to help you with all the summer cleaning. Use coupon code SUMMERKICKOFF and place your order by June 30.