I love going to yard sales. Like, looooooove it. (I also love hosting yard sales, but that’s a conversation for a different day.) I don’t know why really, but it’s one of my favorite things to do with Mr. Lovely on a weekend morning. Maybe it’s the thrill of the hunt? Or the fact that you never know what you’re going to find? Or maybe it’s a bit of a social thing — I really enjoy meeting the people who are selling and hearing the stories about what they’ve got for sale. Whatever it is, we’ve found our fair share of yard sale gems over the years, so I thought I’d share some tips along with a few of my favorite finds.
Mapping Mr. Lovely is in charge of this part — he found this app called Yard Sale Treasure Map. It allows you to pull up an area and maps out the sales nearby. Lots of times we’ll also go on Craigslist and see who’s got their yard sale publicized, then merge all of the info. (I love finding a yard sale ad on Craigslist that’s really well-written, because you know the sale is going to be organized! I’m totally insane.)
Go Early (But Not too Early) Guys, all the good stuff gets snapped up first, and that’s a fact. If you see a sale online with something you want and it starts at 8, wait outside in your car until 7:59 and then go get it. Just beware, some sellers really don’t like early birds, so play it by ear.
Phone Research We always take our smartphones with us so that we can search product prices online. If someone is selling something that we love but the price seems a bit steep, we’ll search for a retail price and use it as a bargaining chip. It’s also just good to have a point of reference about whether it would be smarter to buy a brand-new version of whatever you’re looking at.
Cash No bigger yard sale bummer than finding something totally awesome and being out of cash! Some sellers will hold items for you, but not if there’s another paying customer right behind ya. Stock your wallets with some cashola.
Bargaining Oooooh, this is my fave. I love the art of haggling. Lots of the time, sellers really are just looking to get rid of stuff, especially on the second day of a sale. So put on your big girl panties and try to talk them down a few bucks if the price of an item is too steep. My favorite tactics are bundling (finding a few items you like and getting a low group price) and the ol’ walk-away: ask for the price of an item, and just nod when the seller responds. Then wander away from it and wait for him to lower the price. Works like a charm. Of course there’s always the tried-and-true direct approach: “Would you take $5 instead?” That’s if you’re brave.
Make Sure it Works Sounds like a no-brainer, but especially if you’re buying cameras or electronics, ask to give the item a test run. Be picky.
Look for Potential Most of all, try to look at objects and see them in a different setting! Sometimes it’s tough to spot potential if a piece is dirty or tossed among a pile of junk. But there are treasures in there if you have the creativity to find ‘em.
And now, for some of my favorite yard sale finds! We’ve got a story behind each piece and can literally remember where and when we bought them. I love shopping like that. If you have a great find, I’d love to hear the story! xoxo