How to Score BIG at Yard Sales!

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My sister’s haul from this past weekend.

What is it about the warm weather that gets me all fired up for yard sales?  The spring breeze, the birds chirping in the air, people’s used items all over their front lawn—ah, summer is coming!

Seriously though, yard sales are the best.  I used to hate them and would hide in my room when my mom would host our annual yard sale.  I thought the idea of selling your used goods to others was so embarrassing.

I started coming around to the idea of buying others’ used treasures when I was getting married and wanted a candy buffet and needed glass jars in excess. Going to yard sales is definitely a treasure hunt.

Yard Sale 4
Candy buffet from my wedding with glass containers from yard sales!

If you want to score some awesome buys at your local yard sales, here are 6 tips to help you win big!

1. Go with an open mind.

If you go to a yard sale with a detailed list of items you need, you are most likely going to go home disappointed and frustrated.  You might have an idea of what you would like to get, but be open to the idea of browsing! Don’t stop looking if you initially don’t see what you want.  This past weekend I was hoping to find my daughter some play clothes in the next few sizes, but ended up finding a West Bend Deluxe Bread and Dough Maker for $10, which is great since I make bread and dough frequently.  Be willing to just look through the items for sale and you’ll never know what you will find.

2. Go frequently.

If you go to a yard sale once a summer you probably won’t find anything great.  Pull out those newspapers, look on town websites and schedule out your weekends.  Even if you just stop at a sale for 5 minutes, your odds of finding a deal increase drastically.  I’m pretty sure that my grandma-in-law goes to every single yard sale in town all year long.  BUT, she is always finding something amazing.

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We went to so many yard sales to find these candle holders for my sister’s wedding!

3. Find those neighborhood sales.

There are a few larger development neighborhoods in my town that host a yard sale all on the same day.   These sales are definitely popular and very busy.  Try to get to the sales right when they start and move quickly from sale to sale.  I also try to start at a house near the end of the development in order to find the first deals.  These yard sales are fun because you can typically walk from house to house which eliminates getting in and out of the car so much.  I also think that the sellers put more effort into what they are selling because they know a lot of people will be attending the sales.  There always seems to be higher quality items and more of a selection to choose from.

4. Look through the bins.

Why is it that at most yard sales people just put out bins of items instead of displaying them on tables?  Don’t they realize that if people don’t see the items they probably won’t buy them?  Lucky for you, most people don’t dig through the bins.  Take your time and look through all of the items.  There always seems to be a lucky buy at the bottom.

5. Make a deal.

If you are buying an item, try to negotiate the price down, within reason!  Obviously if you are purchasing a shirt marked at $.25, it might just be tacky to get it for $.05.  But if you have found a dresser for $50, try to offer them $35.  Most people are just trying to get the items out of their house and will come down to the price you are offering.  Don’t be too shy to ask.  You can really get a great deal by just negotiating.

6. Know what you are buying.

Have you ever noticed that some sellers price their items crazy high?  I think that they actually want to keep the items, but are trying to reason with themselves about doing so.  Some items aren’t worth buying if they are over priced, broken without being able to be repaired, or too used or worn.  I always take my cell phone with me so that if I find an item I am unsure about I can search it online to check other prices or deals.  This has saved me from overspending quite a few times.  I have also scored big by purchasing a valuable good for a low cost.  Be smart about your buys.

Find those yard sales this summer and save some serious money!  Keep me updated about your big wins.signature