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7 Yard Sale or Garage Sale Shopping Tips to Help You Find the Best Stuff

Use these seven tips when you hit your next yard sale or garage sale to help you snag some majorly great finds.

How to find the good stuff at a yard sale

I love going to yard sales. I mean, looooooove it. (I also love hosting yard sales, but I talk all about that in this post.)

I don’t know why really, but it’s one of my favorite things to do with Ryan 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.

Psst — before you dive in, be sure to check out some of these other neighborhood-friendly posts!

And sign up below for my VIP group, where I’ll send more of my very best ideas straight to ya.

Yard Sale and Garage Sale Mapping

Before you head out, it’s smart to map out a few yard sales focused in one area. That way, you can maximize your travel and hit a few places at once.

Try looking by location on Craigslist, or check out Yard Sale Treasure Map. It allows you to pull up an area and maps out the sales nearby. Garage Sale Rover is a similar resource.

Often you can check out multiple apps and then merge all of the info.

While you’re researching sales, keep an eye out for garage sale or yard sale ads that are particularly descriptive or thorough — you may find that these sales are some of the most organized, clean, and well-prepared.

When Should You Go to a Yard Sale?

The answer? Go early — but not too early.

All of the best stuff at a yard sale 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 be conscientious and polite if you’re arriving right at the start of a garage sale. Don’t try to shop while they’re still setting things up.

Always Take Your Phone

We always take our smartphones with us so that we can search product prices online.

If there’s a yard sale item 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.

Bring Cash

There’s no bigger yard sale bummer than finding something totally awesome and being out of cash!

Some sellers will hold items for you, but most likely you’ll lose out if there’s a paying customer right behind you. So stock your wallet with plenty of cash.

How to Bargain at a Yard Sale

This one can be tricky, but often expected at a yard sale. If you don’t love the art of haggling, here are a few easy tips to help you get the best deal on your found treasures.

Lots of the time, sellers really are just looking to get rid of stuff, especially on the second day of a sale. So get a little brave 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?”

Make Sure Items are In Working Condition

This yard sale tip sounds like a no-brainer, but especially if you’re buying cameras or electronics, ask the seller if you could please 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 them.

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

How to find the good stuff at a yard sale

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10 thoughts on “7 Yard Sale or Garage Sale Shopping Tips to Help You Find the Best Stuff

  1. Dang! You get some good deals at yard sales, Chels. That globe looks like the exact same one that we used for the Glimmer, Shimmer, Shake party. Only yours was way cheaper. Good find!

    I love that vintage postage scale too.

  2. These are amazing finds! Some of these tips can be put to use at thrift stores too!

  3. Whaaaaaat? You found a Nikon with three lenses for 15 dollars? Oh God, you really ARE an artist

  4. God I love yard sales. I can’t wait to have a house to furnish so I can buy some furniture to upgrade!