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My creative outlet both saves and makes this mom money.
Yard sales are like treasure hunts, sometimes items lay for years in the dusty, dirty crevasses of attics, garages and storage units.
Grandmother's childhood trinkets and Grandpa’s old tool box sit waiting to be rediscovered and enjoyed after years of silent stillness. Yard sales are a wonderful place for finding the lightly used and brand new. Here are my secret best bargain tips for finding your treasures.
Top 10 Best Yard Sale Tips
1. FIND YOUR SALES: You have to find out what is out there first. Here are the top three Websites I like to reference the day before: Craigslist, Facebook & Yard Sale Search, and don’t forget the local paper.
2. THE GAME PLAN: Note your sale start times and plan a good route. This is important to save gas and to hit the most important areas first. More affluent areas may be your best bet for newer & lightly used finds, the older more established areas for more of your vintage gems. Hint: Block sales are a great time saver too.
3. WANTS & NEEDS LIST: Yard sales are great places to find school clothes, home decor, sporting equipment, games, kitchen supplies etc. My youngest child has been impeccably dressed in the best designer clothing from garage sales for the past 8 years. It’s a teaching moment for kids in not only stretching dollars, but the importance of reusing, recycling and repurposing to save our planet. If my family can’t use a great find but I know Ebay or a sales Facebook site may be able to help me reap a profit from it, I snatch it up. It’s important to keep up to date on trends when doing this step. I look at window fronts when at the mall, flip through magazines. Finding the “hot” stuff will get you more money and a faster sale if you pay attention. Also educate yourself in vintage and antique items if that is your thing. You never know when that tiny trinket bobble could be worth a pretty penny.
My Website has been steadily providing a monthly income and at the same time provided a very flexible home schedule to pick up kids, run errands and conduct everyday tasks. If it’s too large or fragile to ship I search out local Facebook sale sites that allow me to sell items in an arranged location. I love this option since it does not include the fees and shipping that I deal with on Ebay. Just remember to meet in a safe public place for the transaction. I like Starbucks or, as other have recommended to me, the lobby of the local police station.
4. APPEARANCE: You want to be able to negotiate right? Then don’t show up with your designer jeans carrying a coach purse, driving up in your BMW. If your outer appearance screams, “I CAN PAY IT, ” chances are you will and even your best negotiating skills will render useless.
5. CHECKLIST: Your map and sale start times, pencil and notepad (never know when you have to take a name/number down to put up an item later), GPS, phone, money holder (suggest a small item to wrap around wrist or fanny pack), hat/sunglasses and plenty of cash in small denominations. Also make sure your car is filled with gas the day before and grab a couple of snacks and water so you do not have to stop.
6. BUYING: I always ask myself three things when I pick up an item. Can I use it, can I gift it or can I sell it? If I can say a definite yes to one of these then I go to my next step…the negotiation.
7. NEGOTIATING: Yes this does take a bit of practice, but after a few times you’ll be a pro. Especially after you get to know the going rate of certain items. My big advantage is listening to the seller with other buyers prior to my offer. This gives me the edge and lets me know if the seller is firm on prices. I also try to smile and strike up a conversation with the seller, maybe find a common ground of interest. The instant “like” factor often helps me get a much better deal. I also try to be very fair with my seller. I never low ball too much but offer a lower fair price, leaving room for a bit of haggling. If a buyer outright tells me a price before my offer I often respond, “what is the lowest offer you would accept?” 90% of the time the priced is dropped again, sometimes much lower than I would have expected!
8. KEEP A SMILE: Yes, it can get crazy out there! I have been blocked into parking spots, yelled at, pushed, insulted, and the list goes on! Keep your chin up, be polite, and don’t let anything or anyone ruin your experience.
9. BE SAFE: It's early and you’re tired. Wake up with that coffee and watch for crazy drivers. They will be out there flying through the neighborhoods trying to get the best deal before you. Also, never ever hit your brakes hard while trying to get a glimpse of that sale across the street, You will get hit by the guy driving too close behind! Carry your phone for emergencies.
10. FUN: Have fun and remember that it’s a hit and miss. If you don’t find what you are looking today, you may find it next weekend! Happy hunting!