It's yard sale season once again and I love it! Hunting bargains early on Saturday morning is a time honored tradition in my family. We're all trained at an early age to spot those tiny pieces of cardboard taped to traffic light poles. But we can never have too many tips, so here is an article I looked up to give us all some good advice on maximizing our finding potential.
Think of it as a treasure hunt that takes luck and being persistent since you'll likely be going to many garage sales before that "jewel" is found,
It can be time consuming to go to garage sales every weekend, but it's also a lot of fun. But it's even more fun when you bring a few treasures home.
Look for newly posted signs at intersections for a quick stop even when not garage saling. If most sales are held on Fridays, a sale starting on a Wednesday may not be on most folks radar and just might yield a few treasures.
When you get ready to head out, highlight the relevant ads in the newspaper, print the Craig's List ads and figure out the best route for the most sales with the least driving.
Ritzy neighborhoods, as a rule, are not necessarily good for collectible types of items in our corner of the world. These sales are usually good for items, such as clothing, newer accessories, and household items, items from remodeling and/or furniture.
Church Rummage and Neighborhood Sales
Church sales can also yield great finds. Prices are usually lower than private sales and if the congregation has older parishioners, you might just luck out and find a few antiques or older pieces. Vintage Christmas collectibles are some of the best buys I've made at church sales.
The Early Bird Catches the Worm
Anything Else for Sale?
Beware of Damage and Reproductions
Unlike buying online, at garage sales you can handle the piece and look for parts that might be re-glued (I've missed a few times) and do the sound test for cracked pottery or china.
With all the reproductions showing up online, beware at garage sales. Since there are no money-back guarantees, ask the seller where they got the piece or if it's a reproduction. They might not always tell the truth, but I like to believe people are truthful most of the time.
Know What It's Worth!
There will be sales with some nice pieces that also have nice prices. The seller apparently found a values book and used that as price setting guide, not taking into account how old the price guide book is, the condition of the items or the fact that their item isn't the same as the one in the guide.
That's when the serious garage saler has their own general price guides in the car. Go to the car and check out general prices ranges. You'll have an idea if the prices are reasonable, as well as giving yourself some room to negotiate if it's an item you're really interested in.
Negotiating or What's Your Best Price?
If you do negotiate, remember don't be insulting with your offer. It's best to ask "can you do better on this" just like you would at an antique and collectibles show. Most sellers will do better on the price, especially if you're buying several items.
But I'll never negotiate at a church/charity sale, unless the price is way out of line. After all, it goes to a good cause.
Garage Sale Essentials
- Have a stash of small bills for quick paying and to make it easier for the sellers.
- Take the highlighted classified ads and a local map
- A bottle or two of water
- Sanitizing wipes to use after those grimy sales where nothing has been washed.
- Packing supplies, bubble wrap for fragile items
- Note pad and pen