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September 2, 2013 at 4:00 PMComments: 2 Faves: 1

6 Tips For Expert Garage Saleing

By Jeff from SLN More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Fashionably Broke Blog Series

Let me just state this outright. Despite any rumors, I don’t usually loiter around stranger’s lawns. Neither do I usually rifle through piles of unwanted items, which I then offer small amounts of money to buy. Why would I want something the original owner doesn't? Well, what can I say? Garage sales just bring out a whole different side of me.

I’m sure I’m not the only one scrounging around the neighborhood for great deals. Garage sales are full of excitement. You never know what you might find. Maybe you’re looking for piece of affordable furniture or a vintage Coke bottle. Maybe you’re just trying to fill an empty void cheaply.

But be careful; these sales can be disappointing. When you never know what you’ll find, it’s easy to be let down. Hang in there, and follow my lead.

1. Be The Early Bird.

Rarely is there two of anything at a garage sale, so it’s always worth your while to get an early start. Figure that people don’t usually like to get up terribly early on the weekend, so 9 a.m. should be fine. Not only will you have a better pick of the loot, but you’ll be more energized in the early morning and more likely to visit more garages while persevering through sales with poor variety. Anyone can shop until they drop, but you can get more shopping in if you start with a little more pep.

2. Drive Slow.

If you’re hunting for a sale by car, keep the speed down. Going slower will give you more time to read the address off those small roadside signs. It’ll also give you more time to make sudden turns and follow a new sign. Taking things slow might just save you time and aggravation. 

3. Bring an Expert.

If you’re looking for something specific, it helps to have someone knowledgeable in whatever you're trying to find. If you’re on the prowl for good furniture, classic video games, or a turn table, it would behoove you to bring someone that knows a good brand and what acceptable wear looks like. Of course, you can always use a smartphone if your friend is busy or forgets your plans. Still, the best friends are both knowledgeable and reliable.

4. Bring Cash.

Maybe in the future everyone holding garage sales will accept major credit cards and checks. But until then, be sure to bring plenty of cash to cover your purchases. It also wouldn’t hurt to carry some small bills in case the host can't make exact change.

5. Barter.

This is where the magic happens! Remember, you’re not at Wal-Mart. If you spot something that seems a little overpriced, you can try talking the owner down. Don’t be afraid to pitch a lower price than you’re planning on paying when you start to negotiate. Make it seem like you’re willing to compromise a little bit for an item that you really want.

6. Have Fun!

I mean no offense to those who take garage sales seriously and treat them like an exact science, but that doesn’t sound as enjoyable. When you’re having a laugh or two with friends, you’ll start to see some value in the strange little stuffed animals or the outdated clothes that inevitably end up on display. Don’t stray away from the oddities, have fun with them. Especially if you’re just shopping for something to do, make it a group activity and have fun with it.

When you’re having fun with your “crew,” you’ll get something out of the day even if you don’t find what you’re looking for. It’s all about the frame of mind, not the picture frame. Good heavens, that’s cheesy, but it kind of fits in with the greater garage sale culture! 

What did you think?


Previously:Thrift Shop Swag: The Thrill of Buying Secondhand

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  • I miss garage sales. I am not usually at my parent's when their neighborhood has their annual garage sale. So naturally, I am missing what it's like. Profits for garage sales have changed over time, but they also have given me insight on the decrease of prices in items. It's important to realize value changes, too.

  • I think you're onto something with the value items have. It's certainly true that you'll rarely(if ever) be able to sell something for more than you paid, but we grow fond of our stuff. It's usually worth more to us to keep something than to sell it. Of course there's also limited space...

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