Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Successful Garage Sale Hunting

Whether you call them yard sales, thrift sales, or garage sale, there's no doubt that the season is upon us. Here are some tips to find some great things at garage sales.

1. Watch for city-wide sales or neighborhood sales.  Last summer was the first summer I live in an area where whole cities have garage sales.  It was amazing.  I just parked my car, put my daughter in the stroller and walked around a few blocks for a couple hours.  I scored so many great treasures.  It was like trick-or-treating for garage salers. If you don't have whole city-wide sales,  you will see neighborhoods having a sale or a church or high school.  This is the best use of your time.
2. Read the newspaper or craigslist.  I personally read craigslist.  Last week I was scanning it during lunch and saw a sale that had Barbies.  We are just introducing Barbies to our daughter.  So after lunch we went to the garage sale (there were two other one's in the neighborhood) and scored 2 Barbies and a ton of clothes for $3.50.
3. Make a list.  I have a list of items I want to find this summer.  For example, Legos, Barbie clothes, 5T clothes, Christmas dress, shoes (never have luck there), books, games, Leapfrog imagination desk books,  desk chair, teacher materials, Pampered chef items are just a few on my list.
4. Don't take a lot of money with you.  Last year when I went to a city-wide sale, I only took $25 with me.  It made me really think about whether or not I really needed certain items.  Knowing that another sale was a house a way that might have something I really need made me rethink purchases.
5. Bargain.  I'm kinda weak on this one unless I'm short on cash for the day.  But you can usually talk someone down at least 10 percent of what they are charging.  Their main goal is to get rid of things, not just to make money.  One less thing they have to haul to donation is going to help them out, too.
6. Leave the kids at home.  I don't have this option available too often and my daughter is already excited about garage sales.  But you can accomplish a lot more if you aren't managing children while hunting for treasures.
7. Look everything over carefully.  Even though you may be only paying a dollar for a name-brand shirt, make sure there are no stains or holes on it before you buy it.  Places to look carefully at are zippers, buttons, neckline, underarms, and cuffs.
8. Watch for Donation Sales: Often you will see sales for organization donating their money, such as Relay for Life.  Sometimes these sales will have items for a little higher cost.  Pay it.  It's going to a good cause and it feels good to help out.
9. Things I don't buy.  Most items I buy at garage sales are new or gently used. If i can wash it or clean it with bleach water, I'll buy it. But there are somethings I always overlook.  Knick-knacks, very used clothes such as pajamas, kid plates, sliverware, utensils, puzzles, and anything that looks like pieces are missing.
10. Thank the kids.  Often you will see kids helping and I try to thank them directly.  It's gotta be hard to give up some of your own toys.

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