Friday, July 8, 2011

How to Successfully Shop at Yard Sales

We're heading towards the middle of summer and that means one thing: yard sales. If you've never experienced the joy of purchasing something fabulous at a bargain price, you just haven't lived. And with the economy the way it is these days, we're all trying to save a buck or two. I've scored some really amazing pieces out yard sale-ing and you can too, if you're willing to put in the time one or two Saturday mornings this summer. Here are some tips for successful yard sale shopping:

1.) Find yard sales in wealthier neighborhoods- even if it means driving 20 or 30 minutes out of your way. Often a trip out to another town will prove far more successful than sticking to your own neighborhood. Plus, it would be awkward to drive by your neighbor wearing the baseball hat you bought from them. Especially after talking them down from 50 cents to a quarter for it. But seriously, find a nice, upscale neighborhood and you'll be amazed at what you'll find- from home decor to designer shoes, even furniture and small kitchen appliances- keep an open mind and travel with lots of cash.

2.) Avoid yard sales with re-usable signs. I once heard this tip and it's proven to be true- if someone makes a yard sale sign out of poster board, they're probably only having a yard sale for one weekend and their goal is some spring cleaning. If they make it out of plywood, they are likely professional yard sale hosts. In other words, they're doing to make money as opposed to getting rid of their clutter. The prices and haggling will differ greatly from the amateur to professional yard sales. And you can bet that plywood sign is out just about every weekend.

3.) Stick to accessories- I rarely shop for clothing when I'm at yard sales, mostly because I will never buy something without trying it on. And there aren't exactly a lot of yard sales with private fitting rooms and mirrors. Instead, keep an eye out for shoes, jewelry, handbags, scarves, etc. If you can find several small items at one yard sale, you can often haggle more on the price, too. Let's say you find a pair of shoes, two handbags and three pieces of jewelry- offer one price for the lot rather than asking for individual prices on each. You can save yourself a lot of money that way. It's rare that the yard sale host won't go for it- after all, they're getting rid of a bunch of stuff all in one shot, so they're motivated to give you a good package price.

4.) Be an early bird. Get out the door early and arrive at the big yard sales before they've even technically started. Most people advertise a yard sale to start at 8 or 9 AM. Show up an hour early and you'll have your pick of all the best stuff.

5.) Sleep in late. Arrive at the yard sales towards the end of the day. Most people wrap up their sales between 2 and 4 PM. Show up an hour before it's over and you can get much better prices. By the end of the day, the host is tired and willing to drop prices on the things that have been picked over all day.

6.) Host your own yard sale first. Use the nice weather and yard sale season to purge your own closet of the things you haven't used recently. Then, when you come home from shopping at yard sales, you'll have closet space for all your bargain finds!

Leave a comment if you have your own yard sale-ing tips! I'd love to hear them!

1 comment:

Style Journey said...

Good advice! I am an avid yard sale shopper and you got it dead on. Accessories, jewelry, scarves, purses are always fun.

I also do an annual yard sale. I hate it, but it's worth it in the end!

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