It’s high season for Yard Sales and sometimes on Friday mornings I feel more excited than Christmas. I constantly get comments from friends saying they wish they could tag along with me whilst I am doing my garage sale shopping. It’s not a fine science but here are 10 tips for yard sale shopping success that might take your 2nd hand game up a notch.
1. Plan Ahead: Thursday nights I have a ritual of mapping out my garage sale strategy for Friday mornings. I use the iPhone app Garage Sale Rover and it maps all of the yard sales in a 10 mile radius. From the look of the App it pulls all of the information from the local news paper as well as Craigslist, all in one handy list. Garage Sale Rover allows you to browse and save which sales you want to add to your list, and if you upgrade the App for .99 it will organize all of your sales by the most efficient route. Ta Da! Bonus: Here is a nifty video explainin’ how it all works.
2. Be willing to adjust your plan – but not too much. It’s easy to get distracted by all of the sales signs on the side of the street. If you see an awesome sale, go ahead and steer off course, but only if it looks like the most awesome emporium of garage sales ever. Than get back on track with your plan. Unless you have an unlimited amount of time or a free babysitter, well, go ahead and get crazy.
3. Make a List: What are you planning on scoring at garage sales? Children’s toys? An old blender for mixing milk paint? Tools? Vintage purses? Make a list and keep it handy. I was terrible about remembering items that I was on the hunt for and realized I had passed up on something during the busyness of the sale. Make your list and edit it often; I use the notes section in my phone so I can update it at random times during the day when I am daydreaming about shopping at garage sales. It will keep you on track and help you remember those items you need to keep your eyes peeled for.
4. Throw a tape measure in your purse. I keep one on me at all times. I have purchased pieces only to drag them home and realize they were too big or too small for the space.
5. Dress Like a Hobo. No. Seriously. Now is not the time to throw your Coach bag over your shoulder or to wear your “expensive” Sephora make-up. I typically don’t shower, don’t wear make-up, and I don’t wear my wedding ring. I feel like I get better deals if I look like I can’t afford to buy brand-new. Or maybe people just feel sorry for how bad I look at 7:00am. Bonus points in this category are earned if you take your baby only wearing a diaper.
6. Have an phone with you for looking up info. If you can’t tell, I rely on my phone a lot. But if you come across an item and want to know the value of it, then your phone can come in handy. For example, I found this vintage scale at a Garage Sale for $4.00. After Googling it I found it on Etsy selling for $45.00. SCORE!
This is especially helpful if you resell your Garage Sale finds like I do. 1stdibs.com is also a great resource for finding out the value of antique items.
7. Get Cash from the Teller NOT the ATM: You will need cash for your Yard Sales. Make sure you make your withdrawal at the Teller Line and not at the ATM so that you can get lots of small bills, $1, $5, and $10’s are best. If you go to the ATM it will only dispense $20.00. Nothing is more awkward than haggling with someone and once you have settled on a price, say $6.00, then having to fork over a $20.00.
8. Speaking of Haggling: Negotiate but be friendly: If asking for a lower price on an item refrain from being the first one to throw out a number. I always ask: “What is your best price on this?”. This allows you to get the lowest price and not seem like a jerk.
9. Browse Thru The Clothes: I used to turn my nose up at Garage Sale clothes until I scored this $100.00 dress for $10.00. I also buy many of my toddler’s clothes from Garage Sales because he is so hard on his wardrobe I prefer not to spend a fortune on his fashion. I pick up lots of Ralph Lauren and Gap Kids stuff from sales and he always looks like million bucks!
10. Have Fun: Yard Sales are full of fun and interesting items. Have fun, browse around, score some deals, and come home with a truck load of items at a fraction of the cost.
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