Strategies to Get Lucky at Garage Sales

How Tos
By: BonnieDossKnight    
12-Dec-2010

Introduction:Garage sales are guaranteed to set my psychical temperature on the broil. My sixth-sense shifts into overdrive, somehow knowing that around the next bend, over that next hill, "you'll get lucky". With many years of accomplished garage sale shopping behind me, I invite you to use my strategies to get lucky at garage sales.

  • 01

    Proactive Preparation

    To practice proactive preparation, you'll make two lists. Start an ongoing desire list two or three days before you plan to shop. If the week-end classified ads come out on Wednesday, make another list with potential sale locations. Garage sales are generally grouped by zip code and some list specific items. Don't discard high-end neighborhoods you may find good quality merchandise, with original price tags intact. If you need directions, go online and print them out, through the MapQuest web site.

  • 02

    Necessary Things

    In the adrenalin rush that happens with excited anticipation, you may forget necessary things. Lay out your shopping ensemble the night before you plan to garage sale shop. Wear comfortable shoes and dress weather appropriate. Climbing in and out of your car is thirsty work during hot weather, so be prepared with drinking water. Have a supply of one-dollar bills and quarters for purchasing small items. Fanny packs work well to protect your money and keep your shoulders from getting tired as you search for bargains. Don't forget your lists; lay them on top of your fanny pack.

  • 03

    Shopping Angels

    Caution: If you're not a believer, skip this step. My shopping buddy and I call on our angels to guide us toward items on our desire list, for an affordable price. You don't have to make an elaborate ritual or prayer, just say something simple like: (State your names) now call on our shopping angels. We humbly request your guidance and protection during our outing. We ask that you guide us to (take turns and read your desire list) and help us get a fair price for each item. And, so it is.

  • 04

    Working the Room

    When you arrive at each destination, speak to the seller and make a compliment about her home, the merchandise, or that "lovely blouse you're wearing today". Take a minute to observe or "work" the room (or garage). Some sellers are very organized i.e. books will be stacked together, clothing hung on a line and price tags will be on each item. Some sellers use a jumbled approach, stuff is scattered here and there and they give verbal prices. In this scenario, you may want to proceed to the next sale on your list.

  • 05

    Closing the Sale

    As you locate items on your desire list, or things you'd die without getting, ask the seller hold your stash while you continue looking. It helps to have an idea of what things cost new. For example, I buy a lot of books and a half-price discount isn't enough, since you can generally buy at used book stores or online for less. Antiques are a bit trickier, but you can purchase a price book to refer to if in doubt. Learn to spot quality, gently worn clothing. When you've exhausted the room for potential purchases, decide whether or not you wish to bargain or pay their asking price. I'm not a great haggler, but if something is scratched or flawed, I'll make an offer. There is a fine line between offering too little and too much. Let your unseen angels and intuition guide you. You can always walk away if you still think the price unreasonable. Another little know trick hard core garage sale shoppers know, is to go back a few minutes prior to close. The sellers are tired and may want to get rid of unsold merchandise for a rock bottom price.




Final Thoughts

Hard core garage sale shoppers arrive before the garage door opens, prepared to haggle. I just want to enjoy a fun day with my shopping buddy and buy things for a reasonable price. Either way, using my strategies to get lucky at garage sales should prove a positive experience for all concerned




Comments

  • Wasatch 6/4/2013 Flag This Comment

    I have a few good finds at yard sales that have made a days profit when resold.

  • dashboardc33 2/5/2012 Flag This Comment

    Nice list!

  • Amylaine 1/19/2011 Flag This Comment

    Lol, I had to laugh at the shopping angels step. It reminded me of shopping at yard sales with my mom when I was younger.

  • penelope7 12/15/2010 Flag This Comment

    Great list. I simply love a good garage sale. Thanks for a comprehensive list on how to work one. And btw, you are certainly a well preserved boomer! I would have not thought. And thanks for the comment on my article.

  • jasyjen 12/13/2010 Flag This Comment

    Terrific yard sale advice! I just love finding the good deals that are offered at yard sales.

  • goodselfme 12/12/2010 Flag This Comment

    Your list is solid for the ways to get lucky at garage sales. I like your presentation of this list too. Thank you.

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