5 Ways to be successful when yard saling – A How To Yardsale Post

garage sale yard sale thrift sign

Photo used under Creative Commons from East Lake Times

I don’t post about it much but I am an avid garage saler. Most of my home decor came from shopping at other people’s houses. Often I find brand new Pampered Chef, Taste of Home or other home party stuff at a great price. I think people buy stuff at the parties to be nice to the hostess and then never use it. That is fine with me if I get a brand new pizza stone for $5! I get a good bit of the boy’s clothes from there as well. I always find really great deals. Some of them even make me money because I turn around and sell them on eBay. I’ll post my most recent finds on Monday. In the meantime, here is how you can have a much better experience when going to yard sales:

  1. Make a list. I never leave the house without a list of things that I am looking for. Having a list means I have a goal in mind and that makes it much easier to shop. For example, right now my list contains the following: dutch oven, salad spinner, curtains for kitchen (with measurements), clothes for Carsten & Matthias, and old shutters. Yes, I’m a converted Nester. I’ll write more on that in another post. Of course, if I find a good deal on something else that I can use then I will most certainly buy it even if it isn’t on the list!
  2. Budget and bring change. I always prepare for my trip a couple of days before by deciding what I can spend and getting that amount in change. This insures that I stick to my budget and having change means I don’t have to give up my $1 pristine Gap jacket because the seller doesn’t have change for a $20 and I can’t find anything else at the sale that I want to buy. On a side note, if you see something priced higher than your budget and you have to have it then ask the seller to hold it for you. Leave them your business card to tape on to the item and then go to the ATM immediately and come back to pay for it.
  3. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you find something that you really want but don’t care for the price then simply ask if they will take a lower amount. Most people don’t want to pack the stuff back up and simply don’t know what to price it at to begin with. I’ve only been told no twice when I have asked. Of course, I don’t take advantage of the people. If they price that is on the item is reasonable and I really want it then I pay that price. If you do negotiate then it helps if you don’t drive up in a $30k vehicle wearing designer clothes and flashy jewelry then hand them a $20 bill when you talked them down from $1.00 to $0.75. You know what I’m sayin’?
  4. Don’t buy something just because it is a great bargain. If you can’t use it, sell it, or give it away to someone else who would actually want it then don’t buy it. When you do find a great deal then you can link up to Rhoda’s Thrifty Treasures.
  5. Plan your route. This is probably the most important. I start by checking out the local newspaper (online) and decide which sales I should go to depending on what is on my list (refer to number 1). Once I figure out where I want to go then I go to Yard Sale Treasure Map and plot out my trip (full instructions are available on the site and it is FREE). It will tell me how to get to each one, how long it will take, how far away it is, and then how to get back home. Great, right? Once I print it out I highlight the sales that I “have to” go to and the rest are simply the bonus plan. I have yet to make it all the way through a route because I find so many other great sales along the way and spend up my budget but that is okay with me. There is always next week!

Do you have any tips that you would like to share?


  1. Oh yes! The iPhone has a Yard Sale app!!! It’s fab!!!

  2. Great list – we are avid yard salers too but never thought about taking a list o what I’m looking for – thanks! (I’ve emailed you a prayer update)

  3. Love the tips Amy, but most excited about #5. Yard Sale Treasure Map is a great find. Thanks for sharing it! I have been doing this the easy way by just staying in the area’s I know well. I don’t want to miss a good one because I got lost. Now I won’t have to worry about that!
    I am a “Converted Nester” as well. Love her and you!


  4. Wow!!! Those are great tips!! :o) I only hit the yard sales a couple times a summer, we live in a very rural area so the amount of sales is small. However, when I go I will be using your tips to make the shopping more successful. :o) I also love consignment stores and find lots of great items for not much money. We have one around here where everything is always $5.00 or less, that is a great place to shop!! :o)

  5. I have given you an award. Please stop by and pick it up: http://www.jennifersikora.com/2010/07/hard-working-mommy-blogger-award.html


  1. […] am. You garage sailers know that you have to get there early to get the good stuff, right? I know how to get great stuff at yard sales. I was really disappointed that we didn’t get that early […]

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