These garage sale tips will help your thrifty shopping be a success. Before you hit the yard sales this weekend, check out these must know dos and don’ts for garage sale season.
Garage Sale Tips- Dos and Don’ts You Must Know for Shopping Success
When when the weather changes, it means time for spring cleaning. And that also means time for garage sale season. Not only are garage sales great for earning a little extra cash (and getting rid of items) they can be thrifty and fun for bargain hunters too!
But there are a few things for garage sale shoppers to be aware of before handing over the cash (that’s do #1). These garage sale tips will help your shopping be a success. Before you hit the yard sales this weekend, check out these must know dos and don’ts for garage sale season.
Garage Sale Shopping DOS
DO Bring Cash- One great thing about garage sale shopping is bartering and negotiating. But it’s hard to ask for a lower price when you don’t have the cash to pay. And more specifically, bring small denominations for your negotiating and for the garage sale owner- many won’t be able to break a $20 (and that big bill will end your bargaining too). I’ve heard that some savvy yard sale hosts are now offering credit card swipe options like square reader. But don’t count on it.
DO Plot Your Course- Decide before you go, which yard sales you are going to hit. If one location looks like it has just the items you want, get there early! For maximum impact, check out community garage sales where multiple homes in one community will have a yard sale day. It’s also ok to profile. Looking for kids items, then try newer suburbs with communities of young families. If you prefer antiques and vintage goods, older communities with more “original owners” may be your best bet. Classified listings, Facebook groups, garage sale site apps and word of mouth are ways to find a garage sale near you.
DO Make a List- Be sure to know what items are on your must look for list and try to stick to it. If you are really trying to stay on budget, yard sales can be tricky for impulse buys. If you don’t have a use for it now or a project in mind, don’t buy it- chances are it will end up in your garage sale or donation pile next.
DO Negotiate- Yard sales are the perfect place for negotiating to get a better price. Most sellers will be open to this practice, on a few conditions. Don’t expect to negotiate at the beginning of a sale, bundling of items is a great way to bring prices down and always be kind (see Don’t #1 below!)
Garage Sale Shopping DON’TS
DON’T Be Rude- This one should be obvious (but you never know). Insulting the merchandise, getting pushy during a negotiation, leaving trash on site, lighting up a cigarette, and even bringing your pet (no everyone loves a puppy) are all ways to be sure you won’t get a good deal. And not to mention, it’s just not being a nice person. Be kind to all, sellers and fellow bargain hunters alike. (Update for 2021- Bring a mask, if the owner asks you to wear it, just wear it. Enough said.)
DON’T Buy Certain Items– There are just some things that aren’t worth it to buy- even at low yard sale prices. Here are some items to avoid at garage sales and why:
- Mattresses– kind of obvious, yuck- you just never know….
- Certain clothes– bathing suits, undergarments and SOME shoes are a no go at rummage sales mostly for sanitary reasons (see mattresses above). Also some shoes would be a no depending on the type, for instance running or athletic shoes may not have the support in them any longer and may cause injury.
- Most baby gear– stay away from older cribs and playpens, any car seat, and items that may have received a safety recall. When in doubt, check the child safety recalls list here.
- Vinyl Records– Ok, if you love listening to vinyl then go for it. But don’t snatch up a big box of LPs thinking you will have a gold mine in collectable titles… it most likely won’t happen. So just buy them for the love of the music, not a treasure hunt.
- Electronics– For the most part, electronic items you find at yard sales are there for a reason. Either they don’t work, have become obsolete or a newer version became more affordable. Also, if an item has a plug or batteries ask to plug it in or turn it on if you do want to buy. No sense taking home something broken.
- Non-stick cookware– Older pans were made with chemicals that have now been phased out for safety concerns, and there’s no way to really know if that deal pan contains those risky chemicals.
DON’T Be Afraid to Walk Away- If a seller isn’t willing to negotiate or come down on price, don’t be afraid to walk away. Sometimes, just the power of walking away will change the sellers mind. Also, if you could not come to terms on a price- come back at the end of the day. If the item is still there, the seller may be more willing to come down on price to get rid of the item. In the end, it’s better to walk away than to overpay.
My friends on Mission to Save had lots of great tips for garage sale shopping on our Facebook discussion. I’d love to hear your garage sale tips too in the comments below. And be sure to PIN THIS!
Watch my Good Day Columbus segment (from 2018, tips still apply!)