Garage Sale Shopping 101

Now that summer is here, garage sales are in full swing and if you're a cheapskate like me, you can't resist a good garage sale! I know, I know - some people call them "garbage sales" and sometimes you'll find a lot of junk. But the exciting part about garage sales and thrift shopping is the possibility of finding hidden gems among all the other stuff. And if nothing else, it's always a fun way to spend a Saturday.

Here are some of my tips for garage sale shopping:
  • Carry cash - at least $10 or $20 - since most sales will only accept cash payment.
  • When buying dishes or glassware, run your fingers over the edges. Your fingers will most likely catch any chips or nicks that your eyes miss. 
  • For best selection, start early on Saturday mornings or on the first day of the sale (Thursdays or Fridays.)
  • For best prices, shop later on Saturday afternoons when sales are closing down soon - You'll come across many "Everything is half-price" or "Fill a bag for $5" sales by then. Some sellers even give things away for free at this point.
  • When asking the price of an item, get the seller to name the price of an item, rather than answer their question of "What do you want to pay for it?"
  • Don't be afraid to haggle - most sellers are willing to accept a reasonable lower price to get something off their shelf.
  • Check items for major damage before you buy.
  • Ask questions, especially on big-ticket items. Find out how old it is, how it was used, etc.
  • Take off the price tags of your treasures shortly after getting home. Most times the longer a sticker stays on an item, the harder it is to remove. (Use Goo Gone for stubborn stickers!)
  • Look for sales in the local paper, and take advantage of city-wide sales.
  • Have fun with it!

Last Saturday I went to several garage sales during a city-wide sale and scored a whole load of items (see photo below), all with just $20 in cash! Many of the sales were getting ready to end so there were half-price sales and one sale was giving away everything for free. There wasn't much left for free of course, but I did find some cute blue drinking glasses there.

$20 dollars goes a long way at garage sales.

One garage sale had many antique items and the lady was selling Avon collectible bottles for a quarter each so I bought a couple fun ones to add to the collection I inherited from my late grandmother. My favorite from the bunch was the odd-looking Benjamin Franklin bust.

Collectible Avon bottles that I bought for a quarter each.
I also found some cute shirts (one was from Vanity), wine-themed decor for my dining room, lots of books, a Friends DVD, deviled egg holder, rhythm sticks for my niece, fun jewelry, and my favorite find - a Miche bag shell for my purse! It was $5 and normally a new Miche shell is $25-$30. I've been wanting an alternative for the zebra shell I already have, but I didn't want to "shell" out the money for another one, so this was an exciting discovery.

White Miche bag shell for $5 - normally between $25-$30.
At one sale, there was an Eddie Bauer convertible double stroller originally marked $50, then slashed down to $40. My mom haggled the price down to $35 since that was all the cash she had left. Of course it needs to be dusted off a bit, but for a nice functional stroller that my sister will need when baby #2 comes, you can't beat the price!

What are your garage sale tips? Have you found any hidden gems?


Kim said…
Lots of garage sales in my neighborhood today!!

Following you back from Weekend Walk hop - thanks for the follow!!!
Julie Marling said…
I love garage sales. New follower from weekend stroll. Love for you to follow back when you can!

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