Yard Sale Tips

Yard sales, garage sales, and rummage sales are a great way to get amazing bargains on merchandise. Some tips on how find the good stuff!

As the famous saying goes, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." Yard sales, garage sales, and rummage sales are a great way to get amazing bargains on merchandise. Not only can you find common items at rock-bottom prices, occasionally there will be a true treasure among the piles of junk, sellers blissfully ignorant of the item's true value. But yard sales can also be a waste of time and money, and buyers may find themselves bringing home useless items. How do you find the good stuff?

On any weekend during the summer, your neighbors may line up rows of discarded items for viewing in their front yard. Cheerful signs read: "Yard Sale!" It's hard to resist the lure of getting something for nearly nothing, but if true bargains are to be found, shoppers need to have a plan. Don't go to your neighbor's yard sales, unless there are unusual circumstances. For example, I know that the woman up the street has a child one year older than mine, so she's likely to be selling clothing in my daughter's size. But since I know her, I'm less likely to haggle for prices. I'm also more likely to bring home something I don't need, simply out of generosity, feeling I ought to buy something. Steer away from people you know.

If you're planning on shopping yard sales, decide in advance what you will be looking for. Offerings can be varied and sometimes look like great deals, but if you don't need the item, it won't do you any good no matter how low the price may be. The best deals at yard sales are usually children's clothing, toys, and decorative items. Know how much clothing your child really needs, to avoid buying four pairs of blanket sleepers your baby will grow out of before cold weather hits. Know your color schemes and decorating needs, to avoid buying that cute Disney shower curtain if it doesn't suit your needs, no matter now low it's priced.

For the best merchandise, plan shopping on Fridays. While this may not make sense because many people work that day, many yard sales begin on Fridays and the best offerings can be found that day. Sit down with the newspaper and read the garage sale ads. Some newspapers even offer classified ads on the Internet, so you won't have to purchase the paper. Write down the sales that interest you most and plan your trip accordingly. If possible, avoid bringing small children, because you'll probably end up buying ten more stuffed animals than you have room for. Shopping early on Friday mornings will ensure the best selection, including the most desired items such as the coveted molded plastic playground equipment, bikes, and wagons.

For the best prices, however, shop on Sunday. You'll encounter piles of children's clothing and toys for incredible prices, possibly even free. Many people who host yard sales are eager to simply get rid of merchandise by Sunday afternoon - if it's not bought, it will be hauled to a charity. Make outrageous offers, such as $5 for the whole stack of clothes on a table. It's the best time for haggling. Offer half the tagged price. You may be surprised. The seller may easily agree, and throw in more items as well.

Yard sales and their relatives are excellent opportunities to acquire certain items at great prices. If you plan your shopping trip, taking note of exactly what you're looking for and where to search for it, you'll avoid the pitfalls of buying things you don't need and paying too much. Shop on Fridays for good selection, and Sundays for the best prices. You'll meet many friendly people, and have a lot of fun.

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