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Monday, August 5, 2013

Yard sale finds and tips

You never know what you will find at yard sales. I often find absolutely nothing. It helps to keep a list of things to look out for. When I see a Pinterest project I want to do that involves using an old ______, and I don't have one, I put it on my list, and I review my list before shopping. We try to plan ahead for things that we need. We hardly ever run out and buy stuff. When I want something, I put it on my list, and wait to find it at a yard sale. And also, of course, I find awesome stuff that I never planned to buy, but it's a good deal, so I do.

Planning Your Route
I wait until Friday afternoon and pull up the list of garage sales on Craigslist. My Craigslist serves a large area, so I search for listings that include the name of my town. I pull up all the listings in separate tabs.  I glance at the descriptions for each sale, and sometimes I can tell that they don't have anything that I want and I close that tab. Sometimes people put prices in the listing, and this is often a bad sign that people think too highly of their junk and won't come down on the price. If people only put the name of their neighborhood and not their address, I close that tab, because I don't want to spend extra time finding it. I copy and paste all the remaining addresses into google maps. Then I pick the area with the largest concentration of yard sales. I close the other ones and arrange the route. I narrow it down to eight or ten sales.

Don't Get Distracted
You always see signs for other yard sales that aren't on your route. I don't follow these signs unless I can see an actual yard sale. People don't remember to take these signs down, so you don't know if it's current unless it has the date on it. And you don't know how long that road is. Unless you do know. You don't want to go miles out of the way following an elusive sign.

 Get a Good Deal
 For me, I want to get at least a 90% discount off of what I would pay in a store. Sometimes people are having a yard sale because they need money, but most people just want to get rid of stuff. So don't be afraid to make an offer, and then a counter offer. And walk away if it's too high.

This is one of my favorite bargains. I got this last summer. It was the last yard sale I was going to that day. I saw it was good, solid wood and I asked how much he wanted for it. He told me to make an offer. "Well, I only have six dollars in my wallet..." He just wanted to get rid of it, so I got it for what remained in my wallet. And it's so functional! Someday I might paint it or stain it and put new handles on it, but it's fine for now.
Here's what I found on Saturday: $2 shoes.
Fifty cents: grabby kids toy. When I haggled this down from $1, they told me that this was a fundraiser yard sale to send a girls volleyball team to Colorado. For some reason, this cause does not really speak to my heart, and I did not feel compelled to give more than fifty cents to it.

 I've been looking for some things to decorate with above my kitchen cabinets, and I found three things for that today. Right now, I have baskets and chargers up there, but I want some different things.                                                                       
$2.50 metal frog leaf thing
Fifty cents: ugly vase to paint
Then I went to a thrift shop I like. The only one I've ever seen that really has good prices. And I got this fleur-de-lis for $4.
Here they are with the vase painted and on the cabinets. The top of the cabinets is two inches lower than the edge you can see, so many of my things up there are sitting on boxes. I cut a slit in a wheat thins box to make a plate holder for that froggy leaf.

What is the best deal you've ever gotten at a yard sale?


  1. Very good information! I love it, and I love your blog.

  2. Oh, those are great finds! I'd love to see the vase when you are doing painting it!! I don't yard sale, sadly Saturday my husband has of work, and he hates yard saleing and waking up early. But I do thrift a lot! The best thing I found was a whole bag of fabric at goodwill once. It was amazing.

    1. The vase I painted is in the last picture, on the right side. I painted it with some ivory spray paint that I already had.