Confessions of a Garage Sale Junkie - A Yard Sale Guide
By Nicole Kohn Published: August 24 2013
One person's trash is another person's treasure.
Thrift shops aren’t the only places you can go to shop for cheap finds. Embarking on a garage sale hunt is a great way to snatch an awesome deal and pay a fraction of the original cost. Whether you are trying to pinch pennies or you just want to find a good deal, go garage sale shopping and remember that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
To buy or not to buy - that is the question.
Here are some great tips to follow while garage sale shopping.
1. Make a List of Items You Need: Before garage sale season begins, make a list of items you would want to purchase. You will then have an idea of what you are looking for and you won’t spend time or money on things that you don’t need.
2. Show up REALLY Early: Being the first one there allows you to get the best pick of the items, and get’s you ahead of the other garage sale pros.
3. The Last Day of a Garage Sale is the Most Important: The last day is a great day to make any last minute offers. It is more likely than not the sellers will give you next to nothing for an item because they don’t want to bring it back into their home.
4. Check Out Garage Sales in Expensive Neighborhoods: Be sure to go to at least one garage sale in a upmarket town near you. The stuff will sell for pretty cheap but it is all good name brand items.
5. If You Think That You’ve Found Something Truly Amazing, Don’t Give Away Your Hand: If you find yourself holding something of great value, for example- something that’s real gold, etc - don’t freak out, keep your cool.
6. Stop by After it Has Ended: See if there are any unsold treasures that have been dumped at the curb that the sellers didn’t want to bring back into their home. You never know what you may find.
Things to Buy:
Books: Garage sales are a great place to find all different genres of books, and when they are for 25-50 cents how could you not get some?
Clothing and Accessories: The price on clothing as well as handbags, watches and jewelry can be a bargain. No one has to know that your new Coach bag only cost you $3!
Furniture: Any wooden and metal furniture you come across is a great find. If it is selling for a good price, and you're in need of new furniture, make sure to get it before someone else does. But before you buy it, take a close look at it and make sure nothing is broken or loose. Stay away from any couches/porous material furniture.
Tools: If you find Craftsman tools but they are broken, don’t hesitate to buy them. Take them to your nearest Sears store, as their policy is that they will replace most Craftsman hand tools that are broken, free of charge. Be sure to take a look at the Warranty Stipulations beforehand.
Things Not to Buy:
Safety Equipment: Items such as helmets and protective gear, for both children and adults is not the best idea to get at a garage sale. Most likely these helmets are not up to date with current regulations, or they may have been damaged from previous use and may not work correctly if needed. Either way, it’s not worth the risk just to save a few bucks.
Makeup: Product that has been open as been exposed to bacteria and you do not know if the makeup was previously used - especially when it comes to product like eye makeup and foundation. When it comes to cosmetics, it is best to wait for your favorites brands to go on sale at the store, or buy them with a coupon.
Food: Unless the seller is providing fresh snacks or a recently ordered pizza, then don’t buy food at a garage sale. It’s surprising how many people try to sell their old fruitcake from last holiday season - this and many other foods can certainly make your family ill.
Cribs: Just like helmets, Cribs are always being re-evaluated for safety. An old crib that might have passed safety test only 5 years ago, could now be unsafe for a child to sleep in. Stay away from cribs at garage sales!
Do you have a garage sale find that you are proud of? Share with us!
So there you have it, savers - the scoop on how to get the best deals at garage sales this season. If you can’t resist a good deal, be sure to check out our Guide to Good Deals at the Thrift Shop, where you can read about the do’s and don'ts of thrifting, and become a practiced second hand thrifter in no time.