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Garage Sale Tips

Updated on April 30, 2007

Garage sale season is a great time of year! You can find almost anything you need, at great prices. Yes it takes time, but it is so worth it. The thrill of the hunt! Garage sales don't mean used neccessarily. I have found many new items over the years. New with tags or in boxes still. At drastically reduced prices. Garage sales are wonderful places to find great deals.

Keep a list of what things you are looking for. It could be as specific as "black pants, size 8" or as general as "birthday present for Susan". You need to know what things you are needing/wanting. If you are like me, trying to remember the entire list of what my kids might need next year, who has a birthday coming up, and what I have been wanting for years, is never going to happen.

When you are going through the papers to see where the garage sales are, you will be able to narrow down where you are going if you have a good idea of what you are needing. If an ad states "dishes, furniture, and records" and you are needing children's clothing and exercise equipment, you can quickly determine that it probably doesn't have what you are looking for. If you can get a detailed map of your area this will help you to map out where you want to go. Having a plan will help you to be efficient while you are out. Instead of going back and forth through town, start on one end and work your way to the other, or plan a circle loop.

Start early to get the best selection. Popular items sell quickly. If there is something that you really want or need, early is better. Shopping later in the day will allow you to get a better deal. Come 1:00 people are much more willing to deal with you. So if you have general needs, nothing super specific, later in the day might benefit you better. People just want to get rid of their stuff at that point.

Carry lots of change with you. If you have change it is much easier to purchase items quickly and move on to the next sale. It is also better to negotiate if you have change. If an item is priced at $5 and you negotiate it down to $3, you really shouldn't ask for change from a $5 bill.

Be willing to negotiate! Everything at garage sales is negotiable, at least it is worth a shot. Sellers generally price their items a little high (especially big ticket items), so they will have room to negotiate down. And if you are buying a huge pile of clothes, they will probably be willing to throw something small in for free. Again, they just want their stuff gone.

Talk to the sellers and be friendly. They are usually more willing to negotiate if you do this. If you find a great sale with perfect clothing in exactly the sizes you need, give the seller your name and number. Ask them to call you next time they have clothing they would like to sell. They will be thrilled at such an easy way to make money (i.e. not having to have a garage sale to get rid of the clothing) and you could get great items at great prices, without having to go to a lot of work. It is worth a shot.

If you haven't already, give garage sales a try. Why spend a lot of money when you can spend a little? The cheaper you can find the items you need, the more money you will still have in your pocket. Garage sales are a great way to get what you want for little money.


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      Lynn 10 years ago

      Great advice Jennifer. I am more of a Garage Sale holder then a Garage Sale shopper and you are definitly right about waiting until later in the day...because by then I am so tired and do not want to pack all that stuff back up that I would practically give it away.