“Yard Sales, Rummage Sales, Church Sales, Garage Sales, Tag Sales”
No matter what you call them, the season of thrifting has begun! If you’re a thrifty mama, love finding a great deal or just enjoy discovering treasures in the midst of someone else’s clutter, we know how much you look forward to this time of year!
Whether you’re a seasoned sale hopper, or you’ve never gone on the hunt on a Saturday morning for those bright yellow homemade yard sale signs, we’ve got the 411 on all things “yard sale” for you, including why you should be hitting them up this summer and how to reap the benefits of thrifting.
You might be one of those people who has always overlooked the benefits of purchasing items from yard sales. Maybe you think it’s just not worth your time to rummage through other people’s things, or the idea of buying second-hand is not appealing to you. There are so many advantages to shopping at yard sales, and we are going to let you in on them.
It’s no surprise that children grow so quickly. Often times, we’re lucky if they wear an outfit one or two times before they’ve outgrown it. You might find yourself donating bags of like-new clothing to Goodwill every few months. Even if you shop at discount stores and purchase items from off-season sales, you are still probably spending a ton of unneccesary money annually on your little one’s clothing.
Yard sales are great for finding kid’s clothing, at pennies to the dollar! Most people who host yard sales just want to get rid of the piles of clothing their kids have accumulated, so you will often find boxes and tables full of onesies, t-shirts, shorts, shoes and other kid’s staples for an average of 25-50 cents per item.
There is a good chance that if the family hosting has little girls, there will be plenty of gorgeous dresses, rompers, skirts and accessories for an average of 1-2 dollars each. Many sellers will also offer a bundle discount or “fill a bag” deal, usually ranging between 2-5 dollars. You can literally walk out of a yard sale with bags full of unique, trendy, practically-new kid’s clothing for just a few dollars.
The key to getting the most for your money is to look at the bigger picture. Yard sales are great for finding clothing, shoes and accessories in your child’s current size, but don’t overlook larger sized items. If your child wears a 2T, don’t stop searching when you’ve reached the end of that section on the table. Stock up on items in larger sizes. That way, when your child reaches those sizes, even if it’s a few years down the road, you will have already built a nice collection for them.
And don’t shy away from snagging off-season sweaters, boots, winter coats and hats at yard sales. While your mind might be completely ready for swimsuits and sun hats, you will thank yourself when winter rolls around and you already have a good stockpile of clothing that you scored at insanely cheap prices.
Yard sales get a bad rap by some because visions of piles of useless old pots, pans and outdated stereo equipment float through their heads. But the truth is, Americans are impulse buyers. And their annual yard sales are a direct reflection of that. In any given day, if you hit 4-5 yard sales, you can come across a wide array of modern and practical home goods, TVs, kitchenware, dishes, china and home decor.
That’s right, home decor. You will see everything from light up plastic Santa Clauses, tablecloths, vases, artwork and wreathes for every season. Just like the out-of-season children’s clothing mentioned above, do not turn your nose up to holiday and seasonal decor. You can decorate your entire home all year round with great quality home decor found at yard sales.
Pick up things that intrigue you and would look good with your current decor. Try to envision holiday and seasonal decor in your home. If the thought of those adorable ceramic Easter bunnies sitting on your window sill next spring puts a smile on your face, snag them for practically nothing, take them home and immediately put them in your holiday bins in your basement. You will thank yourself later.
Seasonal and holiday decor will most likely be the cheapest items you’ll find at yard sales this summer, mainly because people don’t want to think about Halloween and Christmas in June, and the sellers know it will be difficult to get rid of for this reason. But this is an advantage to you. You can find some gorgeous, unique decorations for your home at a great price.
Vintage items can always be found at yard sales, but you have to know what you’re looking for. Often times, people pass by a great vintage find because it just looks like an old piece of junk amongst the clutter of the sale. The best place to find vintage deals is at estate sales or church sales. While the idea of an estate sale might seem strange to some, the sellers are only trying to get rid of remaining odds and ends that their family members did not claim, and are often times truly in need of the money. Estate sales are great for finding vintage clothing, antique decor and household items. Keep in mind, true vintage items will usually be priced higher than regular yard sale finds, but if you were to find them at antique shops or on Ebay, their price tags would be vastly steeper.
Toys, Toys and More Toys!
Yard sales are like gold mines when it comes to toys! It is almost a guarantee that you will find piles of toys at just about every yard sale you go to. And since kids go through phases like babies go through diapers, you’ll find tons of toys that are practically new at a cost that’s practically nothing.
From Transformer figurines to Lego sets to baby dolls and high end bicycles, you will find it all at yard sales. There is absolutely no reason to spend tons of money on brand new toys that your own children will lose interest in after just a few months. You can supplement their playroom with yard sale finds that will last the whole year. Don’t shy away from buying things your child might be interested in down the road. You can store them in a bin in your basement for the future, and at pennies to the dollar, you will be glad you did!
A Few Final Tips:
Map out your route ahead of time.
Often times, there will be multiple yard sales, church sales and community sales all on the same day. While it’s impossible to hit them all, you can go to many of them in the same day if you map out your route. Many newspapers use apps that are compatible with your smartphone, where they post a barcode at the bottom of each yard sale ad. You scan the codes of the sales you are interested in into your app and it will map out the best route for you. (A popular yard sale app is: Yard Sale Treasure Map.)
Don’t be afraid to bargain.
Unless it’s a valuable antique or something the seller spent a lot of money on, chances are they just want to get rid of their things and make a few extra bucks. So, absolutely don’t be afraid to bargain. The price on the sticker is rarely the bottom line at yard sales. Check for imperfections on the item, which you can use as a bargaining tactic. Also, buy in bulk. The more you buy, the more likely the seller will be willing to give you a deal.
Bring small bills.
If you’re trying to bargain something down to a dollar, the seller might be a little offended when you offer up a $20. Also, most people take cash out of vending machines before their sale hunting begins, which means that sellers are offered a lot of $20s for small items. While most sellers will be prepared with change, after so many $20s, they are bound to run out. It’s always best to have small bills before you start out.
Don’t just drive by.
Many times, people will do a “drive by” and see if the yard sale looks worth the hassle of stopping for. Even if it’s one little table sitting at the end of the driveway, you never know what you’re going to find. You might find absolutely nothing at a yard sale filled with tables and boxes of items, but you might just find that hidden gem at the ones that don’t look worth it.
Don’t be afraid of dust or dirt.
Many of the items that you will find at yard sales will not be “ready to use” the minute you purchase them. Remember, you are buying things that have wear and tear from the previous owner’s use. Don’t let small imperfections, dust and dirt deter you from purchasing something. You might just find that diamond in the rough underneath the cobwebs from someone’s basement.
Be prepared to dig.
While more and more people are trying to make their yard sales more visually appealing by organizing items into categories and even using clothing racks to hang clothes, you will still come across many sales where items are tossed on blankets on the lawn, and piles of unsorted clothing is mismatched in boxes. Be prepared to dig. Many people will walk by these boxes, and treasures will be left, waiting to be discovered by those who actually take the time to dig through them.
So now that you know all of the secrets of reaping the benefits of yard sale season, we hope you’ll be intrigued to get out there and find those treasures! Have fun, be open minded and let the hunting begin!
Photo credit: Marley Layne’s Closet