Saturday, June 11, 2016

Yard sale season

You already know about my love for flea markets, antique shops, and estate sales... so it should be no surprise that I also brake for yard sales! But yard sale shopping is not the same as any of these other venues; from locating the sales, to planning your shopping list, and negotiating prices. If you want to be a successful yard sale shopper, it pays to prepare and plan your trip. This is my approach to getting what I want, at a great price, without wasting my entire weekend in the car ;D
It starts with a shopping list!

Are you one of those people that goes the grocery store, with no idea what you actually need? Not me, and yard sales are no different. Not saying that I don't occasionally find something I didn't know I needed, or that totally inspires me, but that's no excuse not to have a list of things I really need! So first I take stock of what I have going on (projects in the works, redecorating ideas, etc.) and think about what I would be comfortable buying "not new". I keep an ongoing list on my phone, this way I always have it with me just in case! It's also helpful if you have a shopping buddy, you can swap lists and keep an eye out for each other.

Finding the sales
This is not hard to do, but there are so many sources of information to sort through! I generally use a couple of sites:, craigs list, local township sites, local news sites. I start there, and then look for sale clusters. This could mean lots of individual sales in the same town, or multi-family sales. Multi-family sales are so great for a couple reasons; they're efficient because you can park and shop lots of sales, and they are often annual/semi-annual events in a neighborhood so they are well planned and fully loaded with stuff for sale. I like to plot my route on google maps, getting directions for the most efficient routes from sale to sale. Some people like to look in specific neighborhoods, for specific stuff... and I like that strategy for estate sales. But for yard sales, I find that the odds of getting what I need increase with the number of sales I can visit (not the neighborhood I'm in).

Sealing the deal
Remember that in most cases, unlike estate sales or thrift shops... these people are just trying to get rid of this stuff they don't want anymore. This means that they are willing to negotiate (vs. putting it back in the house, or garbage)! I always check my sources, and know what I'm willing to pay for a thing before I get into the negotiation to ensure I don't over pay. On the flip side, I always try to be fair and respectful with any offer... and don't expect to get something for nothing. It's rare that I find someone that totally over values their old stuff, but it does happen, and there's no point wasting my time arguing with an emotional seller! My last tip, take a photo of what you bought, and take note of what you paid. I like to use pinterest private boards for this, but you could just as easily use a note pad and pen. I never remember what I paid when I get home, and it's fun to go back through the photos later on!

Bringing it home
I usually find more than I expect, and so I've started to carry a few things with me to help manage it all!
A plastic tote (or sturdy market bag) is great to carry with you especially if you're hitting a  multi-family sale. I also like to keep a plastic bin in the back of the car, with a couple old towels in there. This way I can wrap up and secure any loose, small, fragile stuff. This also helps to actually get it all into the house when you get home. And don't forget the cash! Again, unlike estate sales, these people aren't professional sellers. Likely they won't have square, or paypal (not yet anyway), so try to have small bills on hand!

Well, that's it... so get out there and grab yourself so stuff!
Don't have time to shop the sales? Well you can check out the deals in my etsy shop anytime ;D

My dream home for just $25?!? I passed on it...

Also passed on this cutie...

I did pick up a great basket for $4!

...and box of random craft tools: $10

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