Use these five tips to get more and pay less when shopping yard sales.
It’s that time of year again, my favorite time of year! Time to start shopping yard sales. For a lot of people it’s time to start decluttering and having yard sales, but for me it’s time to take advantage of the spring clean fever and scoop up some sweet deals! When I was younger I wasn’t in to the whole yard sale thing. My only memory of yard sales was waking up way too early to help my mom set up our yard sale. But then I met my super frugal, super awesome mother-in-law and she has gotten me hooked on shopping yard sales!
We are planning on waking up early (well waking up at our normal time now with kids), having a quick breakfast and spending almost every Saturday morning shopping sales for the next few months. We take my boys a long too; they love it and they always get something fun for $1 (or less sometimes).
I’ve learned a lot about shopping yard sales from my mother-in-law and today I want to share with you five ways that we find the best stuff and get the best prices for it.
Plan ahead. Some times this can be hard to do, and we don’t stop at just yard sales we have on our route but it does help give us a direction of where we are going. Join local yard sale groups on Facebook; people usually post on Thursday or Friday when they are having a yard sale and will share pictures of some of the things they are going to be selling. This is a great way to knock down your list of sales you are going to; if it doesn’t look like there is anything you need (or want) skip it. Also check Craigslist, the newspaper, or your local news website. Here in Utah, KSL.com, is a great place to search for yard sales also.
Get there early. The phrase ‘The early bird gets the worm’ is definitely true when it comes to yard sales. To have the best selection make the yard sales you are most interested in the first on your list. A lot of times people will even start yard sales Friday afternoon; go then if you can. The later you go the fewer options you will have.
Make a list of what you are looking for. This will help cut down on time spent at yard sales that don’t have what you are interested in. Yes, some of the fun of yard sales is the spontaneity that comes with finding unique treasures, but have a general idea of what you are looking for. Do you need some new photo props? Maybe a new summer wardrobe. Toys for the kids. It can be a broad or narrow. When you pull up to a yard sale do a quick glance over and if you don’t see things on your list move on to the next sale.
Don’t be afraid to haggle. Most of the time people who are having yard sales would rather have you take their “junk” away then have to load it up and take it a donation center themselves. I almost always offer less than what the sticker price is at yard sales. But don’t get greedy. If the price tag says $5 don’t offer $1. If you are fair and reasonable then most likely the seller will accept your offer and might even throw in a few extras. A few weeks ago we pulled up to a sale and I was looking for photo props for blog pictures. I saw this super cute set of four soup bowls that would be perfect. At the same time my son found a Transformers game he loved. Both were $2 so I asked the lady if we could pay $3 for all of it and she said yes. Then she also gave my son a Batman toy and a new shirt.
Shop yard sales where people don’t have to sell. This may be hard to determine right away but once you have been to a few yard sales you will know what I mean. When people are having yard sales because they really need the money vs. trying to just get rid of stuff, they are not as likely to negotiate on prices. I went to one yard sale last year and found this absolutely beautiful mirror. It had a sticker on it that said $25, which is definitely less than what it would be in a store but more than what I wanted to pay. So I offered the man $18 and he stuck to $25. We went back and forth and I offered as much as $23 and he still didn’t budge on the price. After going yard sale-ing a few times you will start to be able to tell the ‘need the money’ sales and the ‘we have too much stuff’ sales.
We’re taking a break from shopping this Saturday because it’s Rohrl’s birthday party but we will be back at it next week. What are some of your best yard sale finds?
Aliza B says
I haven’t been yard sale shopping for a few years, but would love to start again. These are some great tips.
My best yard sale find was a framed painting that my husband loved. I bought it for $5. It still sells currently at Deseret Book for $125.
Thanks Aliza! That is awesome… I love finding out I got a great deal after I buy something!!
Amy | Canary Street Crafts says
Great tips, Sydney! My 2 year old is usually with me when I go yard sale shopping and he loves chatting up the people hosting the sale. At every single sale they find a toy and insist he take it for free. I’m still trying to figure out how I can make them think he needs free furniture instead 🙂
I know what you mean, my boys walk away with free toys are something at almost every sale we stop at… I’m going to have to have a yard sale for all the stuff they bring home from yard sales! If you figure out how to get them to give free furniture to kids please give me tips 🙂