Friday, May 7, 2010

Garage Sale Tips and Tricks

It's becoming that time again...garage sale season! But before you head out to score some finds, I have gathered some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your garage sale-ing experience.
  • Wake up early. I know it's Saturday, but if you want the good stuff, you need to peel yourself out of bed and hit the pavement by 6:30am. All of the quality items are usually gone by 8:30am.
  • Map out the sales you want to hit the night before using Mapquest. With Mapquest, you are able to put several different addresses all on one search. Then, next to each mapped sale, put the time it starts. This makes it easy to see at a glance which sales you need to hit first and how to maneuver efficiently to the next one.
  • Friday-Saturday yard sales aren’t worth the hassle. If you go on Friday, they don't want to debate prices with you and if you go on Saturday, all the good stuff is gone anyway.
  • Take smaller bills. It's easy to barter with people if you have correct change. Nothing is more awkward than dickering a price from $20 down to $10 and you handing them a $20 bill. Have the correct change to make a clean exit.
  • If a price isn’t marked, before you go to ask, think about what you’re willing to pay. Never offer a price up front. Ask "how much do you want for this" and then if it's higher than what you are thinking, immediately counter back with what you are willing to pay. Using this method I scored a drill for $3. I was willing to pay $10, but because I kept my mouth shut, I took his offered $3 price.
  • If a price is marked, but it seems a little pricey, don’t be afraid to ask for a lower one. If they refuse to barter, move on. It's a yard sale for crying out loud...they should be willing to dicker. You can always find it either later in the day or another week.
  • My favorite sales and those you can get the best deals at are those marked "multi-family," "estate sale" or "moving sale." I'll be honest...I avoid sales marked "fundraiser" because they often don't want to negotiate because they are specifically trying to raise funds. I had a lady give me the evil eye when I offered a lower price for a pair of baby shoes and say, "We are trying to raise money for a child with cancer, I'm not going to lower my prices." Not only did I feel AWFUL for being so stingy, but I ended up paying more for that pair of shoes than I did anything else all day.
Well, those are my top tips! Thanks to Emily from Emily's Reading Room for helping me out with this list!

If you are having a garage sale, visit my previous post on hosting a successful day.


  1. Aw great tips, thank you I'm going this weekend so will put these to use for sure.

  2. I actually find fundraisers are the best! They don't get any money by donating the stuff to charity, so they are willing to take whatever they can get. Plus, lots of people donate to the sale so you have lots of stuff!

  3. Excellent tips, even for those of us that go every week! Thanks for the reminders.... I usually throw out a price WAY too much, and end up paying more than I should!

  4. Thanks for the tips. Of course, you get the occasional rookie seller who will reply to the question 'how much?' with 'Oh I don't know - what do YOU think?'. And there's always 'these go for much more on ebay.' Well sell it on ebay then! xx


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