Garage Sale Advice and Ideas

by Kelsey Norwood

in Shopping

Yesterday’s post got me excited to write about garage sale advice, so here are some of my ideas and strategy.

  1. Don’t buy something just because it’s cheap, but it because you need it. Buying things you don’t need doesn’t save you money.
  2. Look on Craig’s List, KSL Classifieds (if you live in Utah), on community notice boards, etc., to find garage/yard sales in your area. Gas is so expensive you don’t want to be driving around aimlessly, so try to have the address for at least one sale, and most likely you will find others on your way.
  3. Buy children’s clothing out of season. Anticipate what size your child will be wearing during the coming winter and stock up on warm clothing so you don’t have to buy at full price out of desperation.  Yard sales begin in the spring so you can buy summer clothes at the beginning of the season.
  4. Look for new items with tags still on.
  5. Look for household items that you might need like baby bottles, glasses, serving dishes, silverware.
  6. Offer a lower price than they are asking.  This is kind of embarrassing because we just don’t haggle in our culture, but sometimes it’s worth it.  Because people don’t like to haggle, they’ll usually take the price you offer.  And most of the time they just want to get rid of the stuff, so they don’t care if they get a few dollars less for the item.
  7. Always pay with cash. 
  8. Look for multi family or community sales – they usually have more and better stuff.  Moving and estate sales are also great places to find bigger ticket items like furniture, tools, and electronics.
  9. Look in wealthy neighborhoods.  You might think that wealthy people would just give away stuff they don’t want, but you’d be surprised.  Wealthy people, or people who live in big houses and appear to be wealthy, have yard sales just as often as anybody else and they usually have nicer stuff and sell it for less.
  10. Ask the seller if he/she has any more of a particular item.  For example, I went to a sale with a bunch of children’s books.  I asked her if she had any more and she pulled out several more boxes with some great titles.  If I see a lot of sewing stuff, I ask if they have more somewhere that they want to sell.  Sometimes people don’t put everything out because they think no one will be interested, so it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Most of all, be confident and bold!  Know what you want before you leave the house and go find it!  Don’t be afraid to haggle and ask questions.  You’ll probably never see these people again, so don’t be bashful.


1 Sue D September 2, 2008 at 7:16 pm

This was great advice. I go to garage sales a lot with my neighbor. We have a good time and know what each other is looking for. We are becoming more comfortable with asking for reduced prices. I buy so many of my craft supplies at garage sales.

2 Gina December 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I cleaned out closets,my storage and cabinets in the kitchen and made $380 !! You just never know what people are looking for or need !!

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