Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tips for Yard Sales (Buyers Edition)

Garage sales with a little creativity and change in your pocket can go a long way. They are a chance to benefit from someones excess while not living excessively yourself. A way to treat yourself, house, and family without having to treat your bank account harshly. Another way to be a different kind of giver/home manager. One who thinks ahead and is prepared for the holidays and year to come by buying before the need arises.

So, after coming away from a morning/afternoon yard saling with my head in the clouds or feeling like a rain cloud is following me. I tried to come up with a few tips to make the day go easier.
1.) See the potential in every item. That bowl with musty potpourri was just .50, cleaning the bowl out I currently use it by turning it upside down and putting it on the mantel with my other round glass bowls. The flowers were taken out of the brown holder and it was used as a bathroom trashcan, much better than the plastic version at the store. Garden tools are a great find at sales. And lamps can always find a home somewhere around the house spruced up with ribbon or painted.
2.) Trash Day is Freebie Day. Take a walk or drive through your neighborhood on trash day in the summer. I found these items plus a few other extras. The shelves (from Target) now hang above my computer desk and the stars were given as gifts. They even still had the tag on them. Don't be above taking someone elses "trash". They are glad to be parting with it and you are doing them and the local dump a favor!

3.) Hit the higher-end neighborhoods first. All these items came from a "nicer" neighborhood with bigger houses and green manicured lawns. The prices may be higher, but the items will sometimes be better quality. I kept the flowers in the original vase, but filled them with polished stones from our yard. The lamps decorate a table between our living room and kitchen. The picture was in our bathroom, but since we are remodeling I am thinking about painting it with chalkboard paint, and moving it else where. The wicker basket houses my workout things like a yoga mat and weights.

4.) Community Garage Sales are your BFF. You can hit tons of individual sales in just a couple hours because they are all so close together. Saving you time and gas money.

5.) Make a List. A bicycle helmet, step stool, winter jacket, baskets, snow pants, black sandals, a decorative plate holder were all on my list. No joke. Because my brain had already preplanned it was easy to remember what I needed most for the coming year.

6.) Kids Toys. If you see something that your kids or others would enjoy I suggest buying it for them. Then when you are home put those things in a box far far away from their view.
I was able to furnish Christmas fillings and others birthdays with this box. At one sale I bought a misc. box of GeoTrax(toy trains) for my son for $30. There must have been over $300.00 worth of trains and accessories in the box. If I had saved it for Christmas I would have been his hero, but I am weak and wanted to see his face light up in the middle of July!

A few other things:
  • Have small bills and quarters on hand.
  • Ask around to see if anyone has anything specific they need or anything you need they could be watching out for at their sales
  • I used to be shy about asking for a lower price. Now I know that the worst thing that could happen is they could say "no". Always Ask.
  • Google Maps, YardSaleTreasureMap.com, Craigslist, or your local paper are all good places to hear about yard sales. If I am planning to go out that day I will map the route I plan to take and then follow it loosely. Having a plan is crucial so you aren't aimlessly driving around town. Also, if you know someone else that might go garage saling that day email or print them the route too. Simple things like that will make someones day.
  • If you find something you are even remotely thinking about buying pick it up and carry it around. The "one" that got away will haunt you forever.
  • Clean out your car before you go. Who knows how lucrative your trip could be? Enough room to carry your ____ (fill in the blank) is crucial.
  • If you see something, but you can't decide, give them your card. A card with your name and number and if they don't sell the item by the end of the day just ask them to give you a call.
  • There are a few things that I almost always buy baskets, picture frames, and big glass anything (bowls, vases, etc.). These are things that can be used in a multitude of different ways for decorating the house and never go out of style.
  • Pray about your needs. I cannot tell you how many things I now take for granted in my house that I didn't have and wanted last summer. God blessed me many times over finding that perfect item!
  • Dress in layers. It is cold in the mornings, enough so for a sweatshirt, but as the morning sun arrives you will be glad you thought to put a t-shirt on too!
  • Organize different boxes for the different types of garage sale items you regularly purchase. Once you have filled your box or container you should think you are at your limit for the season. I have two decorating boxes that I occasionally "shop" my house for. That way I'm not running out to buy something when I get the need to redecorate. All I do is rotate my things so I am never getting tired of seeing the same old pieces. When those two boxes are full I know I need to stop, or purge my decorating boxes. Having boundaries in all things helps.
  • One-in-one out rule. If you have bought a shirt or anything else that will be taking up space in your home then you should think about what could be taken out of your house and donated or maybe have a garage sale of your own?

Happy Yard Sale(ing)!

1 comment:

  1. Favorite blog yet! I am planning on "trying out" to be a professional yard saler this summer :)