Are you already a savvy garage sale shopper? Maybe you are looking to get your feet wet? I have 20 tips for you to keep in mind to help you score the best deals!
- Be willing to dig a bit. Sometimes deals are just right out there in the open waiting to be grabbed up, other times they require a little digging. Be willing to go through boxes and piles for awesome items.
- Get up early, stay out long. The early bird does get the worm, but the straggler sometimes gets the best prices. Hit the top yard sales on your list early, but on your way back in swing back by a few more. Late in they day people are much more willing to drop prices so they don’t have to drag items back in. I had a friend who discounted everything to a quarter the last hour of the sale! Talk about a savings.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Without insulting by offering ridiculously low ball offers on items, you CAN ask if they will take less than ticketed price. Yard sale hosts expect some haggling.
- Take small change. It’s easier to ask someone to take $15 instead of $20 when you are handing them the exact amount.
- Bundle items. Negotiate after you have chosen all your items. Sellers are definitely more willing to drop prices when you are buying a fair amount. If your items come to $67, ask them if they are willing to do $60 or even $55 for the lot. Keep things simple!
- Take your phone. To check store prices on items, resale values, and the value on antique pieces, research on your smartphone This is extremely helpful especially if you are planning to buy and resell on eBay or somewhere.
- Bring yard sale tools. Consider bringing along a blanket to cushion furniture, a measuring tape, bungee cords, screwdrivers, and batteries to test items.
- Take measurements along. If you are looking for a particular piece like a sideboard or coffee table, bring along a notebook with all the measurements you have written down. This is so you are not stuck with a piece that doesn’t fit.
- Be comfortable. Dress for comfort. I mean, I’ve been known to hit yard sales in my pajamas with an iced coffee. No judgment.
- Don’t be too cheap. Don’t miss out on a piece you love by not being willing to pay what they are asking. If it is in good condition and a reasonable price, grab it!
- Shop with a list. Go in with a budget overall as well as a budget for big ticket items you may be searching for. That doesn’t mean you should never deviate from the list if a great item pops up, but try to avoid a buying frenzy where you bring home a carload of stuff you don’t need.
- Hit community sales. Bulk! This is a great way to cover a lot of ground and find a ton of variety in a smaller area. Community sales are my favorite!
- Have a plan. Check online yard sale pages (Facebook) and Craigslist and map out a route. This will save you time and gas! Many times the listings with include a general idea of what they are selling. Use this to plan your trip!
- Keep an eye open for resale. Are you crafty? If you can grab that old table for a steal and repaint it, you may be able to turn a profit at your own yard sale, online yard sale, or in a craft market. Look for other vintage resellable items too like records, Craftsman tools, and name brand clothing.
- Pack snacks. You don’t want to have to stop for a leisurely breakfast while hunting down deals. Pack snacks and drinks for the day.
- Know what to avoid. Car seats, cribs, mattresses, baby bottles, appliances. You can take the chance, but do you really want to? You just don’t know the history and it may not be worth taking the chance unless you REALLY need the item at a rock bottom price.
- Do a quick sweep. When you arrive at a yard sale, do a quick walk around looking for items that catch your eye. If you see nothing of value to you or for resale, move on to the next.
- Don’t be afraid to ask. If you are looking for furniture or antique fishing poles, speak up and ask if they might have them for sale. You might be surprised how often people have those items on hand but don’t bring them out… especially with large items that are hard to get in and out of the house.
- Check items over. Make sure you give them a good once over looking for broken parts, missing pieces, etc. Decide whether it’s worth it to repair or not. It is frustrating to get home and realize you shelled out a pretty penny for something unusable.
- Take a truck. If you are heading out much farther than your own neighborhood, consider taking a truck or large SUV so you don’t have to take another trip out to pick up larger items later.
Do you shop yard sales? What’s the best score you’ve found?
Having your own yard sale? Try this!