6 Ways to Score Big at Garage Sales This Season
It is no surprise that I love garage sales. Growing up, my family owned a consignment store, so buying secondhand merchandise is practically in my blood. As a seasoned garage sale shopper and a mom, I’ve got six tips that will help you and your kids make the most of this garage sale season.
1) Finding the sales. Craigslist is the best place to find listings of area sales. But even better than that is using an app like Garage Sale Rover that puts those Craigslist advertised sales on to a map on your phone, complete with GPS capability. The app makes it a breeze to find garage sales in unfamiliar neighborhoods or other sales within a specified distance.
2) Be intentional. Each spring I make a garage sale shopping list of my family’s needs. I include various household items, kids clothes and sporting equipment in the next size up, plus tools and lawn care items we could use. I keep that master list in mind as I shop so that shopping garage sales is something other than a string of impulse purchases that bust the budget.
3) Know an item’s value. You shop garage sales hoping to get a great deal. But what constitutes a good deal? In general, expect to pay 10-15% of an item’s original retail price. Clothes typically sell for even less and high-end dishes and kitchen gadgets for a little more.
4) Keep size info handy. Since garage sales don’t offer a return policy you need to be sure that any clothes or shoes you buy will fit. On the back of a business card jot down your husband and kids’ sizes, including which season goes with which kid’s size. Tuck the card into your wallet so it is handy as you shop.
5) Include your kids. Give each child a set amount of money when you head out to yard sales. Let them make their own spending choices with that money. As an added bonus, let them keep the change so they learn the value of getting a deal.
I’m not the only one that loves used stuff. Brandi Passante from “Storage Wars” is an expert at buying and selling treasures abandoned in storage lockers. In a recent, exclusive Lifetime Moms interview Brandi said that dishes, pots, pans and tools are all popular items that you don’t need to buy at retail stores. Also, second-hand clothing offers a tremendous value to the buyer. For example, a $250 pair of designer jeans is still just a pair of used jeans (even when they are only worn once) and are sold at only a fraction of that price.
My sixth tip is to negotiate. I understand that it can be intimating for women to ask for a lower price so I asked Brandi to share the secret to successful haggling. She says, “Don’t back down! When we first opened our store, we had a customer who came in every single day and wore me down until I agreed to sell her stuff for one dollar! I ended up caving in every time! Don’t be embarrassed to haggle – there’s nothing wrong with trying to save money!”
What do you do to get the best deals at local yard sales?