Tips and Tricks for a Great Day at the Yard Sales

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother fun aspect of summer for many people is that once the sunny weekends arrive so do all of the yard sales. Half of the fun is finding a bargain – that’s for sure – but the thrill of the ‘hunt’ is a big part of it as well. If you plan things the right way, and make the right preparations, you can hit several sales in one day and even if you don’t come home with any “Antiques Roadshow’ quality finds you should still be able to have a great, and rather inexpensive, day out. Here are just a few tips for getting the most out of a yard-saling adventure:

Make a Plan – In many areas you can find several yard sales are being held in relatively close proximity to one another. Check for sales on Craigslist, Backpage, in your local newspaper classifieds and simply keep an eye out for those cardboard signs at the side of the road. Once you have found the sales that interest you run the addresses through Google Maps and print out all the directions. By doing this you will save yourself a lot of time, frustration and gas on the day.

Head Out Prepared – Experienced yard sale fans know that you have to head out of the house prepared. Obviously you need your cash but there are a number of other items that should be in your ‘yard sale kit’ as well:

  • Add a roomy cooler full of beverages and small snacks into your trunk as you may be headed to places that are miles away from the nearest drive thru or diner and you can save the money you might have spent eating out for the sales themselves anyway.
  • Take along at least one of two strong, roomy tote bags, to store all of the fascinating, but small, items you are likely to pick up on the day.
  • You should also take along a multipurpose knife and some rope, in case you need to tie something to the car or need a screwdriver to check out the battery compartment of electronic items.

Other must haves include comfortable shoes, a calculator, sunglasses and a big bottle of sunscreen!

Yard Sale Shopping Tips

  • Don’t be an early bird. Arriving on time is a great idea, but those who arrive an hour before the stated start time tend to be the shoppers those holding yard sales dread and although out of politeness most will not ask you to leave they may up the prices a little!
  • Look before you buy. Sometimes things at a yard sale are not quite what they seem. For example, we have been caught by the ‘wrong DVD in the wrong case’ issue more than once. Often this is not actually the seller’s fault per se, they were just putting out a pile of their kids old stuff. However it is quite a letdown if you think that you got a great deal on say, a Disney movie, which can be hard to find thanks to Disney’s ‘back in the vault’ policy, only to get home and discover that the DVD in the case is actually ‘Friday the Thirteenth Part XXIVX (or whatever number they are up to now.)
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle. Yard sellers expect little haggling so if you feel a price is just too high, trying to get it for less is not necessarily bad manners. If the seller is firm on their price but you still like the item, leave your cellphone number and suggest that if they have not sold it by the end of the day they give you a call and you will come back and buy it at the price you are offering.


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