A few months back I wrote a piece, How to Make your Next Yard Sale a Success. It was an extensive “how-to” prepare, price, display, etc.
Now that garage sale season is in full swing, you may not only be holding your own sale, but shopping at them too. Garage sales are great for finding books, kids clothing, baby and kid toys, house décor, and project pieces that can be repurposed. How good are these deals? Well I generally sell books and kids clothes for 50 cents each. So, $5 books or barely worn Gymboree kids shirts for 50 cents is one heck of a deal. My most recent great find were two light-colored wood bar stools for $4.00 each. These retail for over $20 each and were like new. My daughter’s bike was $20.00 and in amazing condition. Garage sales are definitely worth checking out.
10 tips to get the most of shopping at garage sales
- Before you go, read ads on Craigslist and search for keywords that may interest you. If you are shopping for kitchenware, kids clothes, or sports equipment, use those words to weed through the ads and find the ones that may have what you need. If you are shopping for clothes, search for the size as well.
- Map out where you are going to spend your time wisely.
- Go with a friend. Some of my favorite times with my friend have been catching up on the car ride, praising each other’s good finds, and laughing at our impulse buys.
- Bring supplies. Pack yourself water or coffee and a snack- shopping is hard work! Also bring along a tape measure if you need something with particular measurements. And money- bring small bills. You don’t want to ask for a price mark down and then pay with a $20.
- Shop early. If you are looking for something specific, the early bird will get the worm. People are less likely to bargain first thing in the morning, but the selection is at its best. That said, respect people’s start times.
- Shop late. If you are just cruising through your neighborhood at 11:00 a.m. and see a sale, don’t pass it up just because it’s late in the morning. By this time folks are more apt to bargain and you may find a great deal.
- Ask for a lower price. If you see something you like, but the price isn’t right, ask if they will take less. This works especially well if you are buying more than one thing. They may not agree, but unless you ask- you won’t know.
- Ask yourself if you really need it. I can’t believe I just said that, but it’s true. If you will really refinish that table or if you really need another glass vase, then buy away. If not, walk away.
- Check if it works. There is no shame in asking to plug in a toaster, radio, etc. to be sure it works. Same goes for battery operated toys. You want a good deal that works.
- Think to the future. It may be 90 degrees outside, but come Christmas time, you could really use all those ornaments for sale. Or you may have an infant but that toddler bike for $5.00 is a smoking deal. If you see great items that you don’t need now, give some thought to how you may use it later.