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Bargain Hunting: Finding Garage Sale Steals

Updated on July 1, 2022
Jerry G2 profile image

Shane is a lifelong writer who is interested in a wide variety of topics, especially related to many, many experiences from travel & life.

Garage Sale Values: Finding Great Deals at Garage Sales

Finding value at garage sales isn't hard. Whether it is antiques, sports collectibles, or other items, there are great deals to be had. Places like garage sales, estate sales, local auctions, and flea markets, are amazing places to find great deals on everything from the mundane and useful like second hand clothes, to finding valuable hidden antiques that can be sold for a very nice profit.

The old saying goes that one man's junk is another man's treasure, and a good garage sale is a prime example of that old axiom being true. Garage sales are an amazing place to find great values, but not for everyone. It really depends on what your definition of value is to figure out if there is something at a particular garage sale that is valuable to you or not.

Obviously a box full of children's clothing for $5 isn't a value when you're a grown single man, but for a mother of four that box might be nothing short of a godsend. On the other hand, who reads books nowadays? But to the antique book hound a bunch of true first editions of grandma's old Sinclair Lewis books are a steal at a buck a piece.

Garage Sale and Garage Sales Finds Photos

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Trail of the Hawk 1st edition, bought for $3, sold for $300. Plenty of old books, and sometimes they have a valuable antique or collectible treasure among them.Ah, the weekend life. Gotta love the garage sales.At flea markets with giant book tables I can spend forever just looking at them all.My parents loved the dishes they could find at sales.
Trail of the Hawk 1st edition, bought for $3, sold for $300.
Trail of the Hawk 1st edition, bought for $3, sold for $300.
Plenty of old books, and sometimes they have a valuable antique or collectible treasure among them.
Plenty of old books, and sometimes they have a valuable antique or collectible treasure among them.
Ah, the weekend life. Gotta love the garage sales.
Ah, the weekend life. Gotta love the garage sales.
At flea markets with giant book tables I can spend forever just looking at them all.
At flea markets with giant book tables I can spend forever just looking at them all.
My parents loved the dishes they could find at sales.
My parents loved the dishes they could find at sales.

Garage Sale & Bargain Hunting Resources from Amazon

Garage Sale America
Garage Sale America
I still believe there's nothing like just going to garage sales and learning to locate deals, but if you like a beginning guide like I do, this book was one of my favorite to get me excited to go and do it!

How to Find True Garage Sale Values

This is a big point for anyone who wants to canvas garage sales looking for a great deal. A lot depends on what your definition of value is. The best way to find good deals at garage sales and other similar sales is to not be completely set and focused in on what you want to find.

It's always good to have your particular specialty, but when shopping around you need to take advantage. If you're a book hound, that's great, but if you immediately leave a garage sale because there aren't any books, you might not notice that lamp for $10 that looks familiar because it was on antiques road show, those 10 plates you can get for $3 (try finding that at Wal-Mart), or a dozen pairs of blue jeans that fit for $20.

Obviously if you're focusing on things to buy and re-sell then the blue jeans and plates might not matter much, but money you don't spend is also money you save. How stupid is it to pay $20 for a new pair of blue jeans when you can buy three or four pairs (or more) for the same amount from a garage sale.

If you're a college student, it's amazing how much stuff you can find for $5-20 that will fill out a dorm room: including desks, dressers, old couches, folding chairs, etc.

If you have an open eye for good deals, you won't go wrong. From saving money, to acquiring nice possessions for far below market value, to the occasional antique treasure you can turn around and sell for a very hefty profit, you just can't go wrong with garage sales.

Finding Deals at Garage Sales

Garage Sales Finds

Part of being able to find great deals at garage sales, especially if you're looking for potentially valuable items to buy cheap then sell at a much higher price, is teaching yourself what to look for.

Not every painting is worth a lot, many old books are worthless (money wise - not in any other way), and just because something is old doesn't mean its valuable, just as something that's new isn't necessarily junk.

If you see a bunch of "cheesy" pulp Richard Bachman paperback books from the late 1970s, early 1980s, you'd be a fool not to pick them up.

But you only know that if you know that Richard Bachman was a penname for Stephen King, and those copies of Rage, The Long Walk, The Running Man, and Roadwork are worth $50-$150 each. And most old paperbacks at garage sales go for chump change.

There's all kind of antique glass, old toys and trinkets (I really wish I had my old G.I. Joe collection from when I was a kid), and even the Atari video game system and games is considered a collectible antique now, and is worth more than it was when it first came out!

The point is, you need to find something that interests you (or if you're like me, learn a lot about a wide array of interests) and keep educating yourself as you go to garage sales and flea markets and really look around to see what kind of deals you can find.

Practice makes perfect, and choose something you'll enjoy. It should be a passion and something enjoyable - the money and great buys are just bonus.

Dr. Lori Tips for Finding Antiques for Money

Garage Sales: Final Thoughts

There are all kinds of antiques in the world, and many of them can be found in various garage sales or other similar things. Many people don't realize the value of what they have.

Learning to find value in garage sales can span from getting great deals on items you can actually use for cheap, to finding those rare and valuable antiques that can make you some great cash.

There are many deals to be found in most garage sales, and if nothing else just the experience of getting out of the house and seeing some of the neat things collected over the years can be a great and enjoyable way to spend a weekend.


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