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July 11, 2012

Yard Saling 101 - How to Successfully Shop at Yard Sales

Do you want to know how to be successful at shopping at yard sales/garage sales? 
Today, I'm sharing my best tips, and we'll call this little feature: Yard Saling 101

Yard Saling 101 Successfully Shopping at Garage Sales

Plan ahead! The night before, browse Craig's List, Facebook, local newspaper websites, etc. for local sales. Plan your route (or let an app do it for you.) so you don't waste time the next morning. Quick note: If you read an ad that doesn't look all that interesting, consider checking out the sale anyway. Sometimes, buyers will only list some of their items, and you may actually find some great treasures that they chose not to mention specifically in their ad.

Pack snacks and drinks so you don't have to stop while you're out shopping. A few years ago, I went yard saling with some friends of mine, and right smack-dab in the middle of our morning of bargain-hunting, they decided that they wanted to stop at Bojangles! Are you kidding me? We spent an hour at Bojangles while everyone else in town was swiping up the goods. *Still Bitter* ;-)

Before you leave the house, throw a tote or a basket in your car - especially if you're planning to hit a large church sale or neighborhood sale. These can come in super-handy. *Especially those extra-large Thirty-One totes*

Arrive early! I'm not talking about ringing the host's doorbell or beating down their front door at the crack of dawn - People actually do that type of thing, and it's completely rude. What I'm talking about here is the fact that oftentimes, sellers are set up and ready to go 30 minutes to an hour early, and - if they are obviously accepting buyers - don't be afraid to get out of your car and start browsing. If you wait to arrive at a sale at the listed starting time, most of the good stuff is long gone. The early bird gets the worm.

Nice neighborhoods do not always mean nice stuff & trashy neighborhoods do not always mean trashy stuff - enough said.

Upon arrival, if you spot the seller smoking, turn around and get right back in your car - everything they own is going to smell like a smoke stack and rarely can that smell be removed from items. If you don't mind the smell of cigarette smoke, feel free to shop to your heart's content; This is just a personal hang-up of mine.

If you walk up to a sale, and everyone is crowded together looking at one particular area of items, go scope out the other goodies!

Don't be afraid to ask [in a kind way] if the host will take less for an item. Alot of people will factor some negotiating room into their marked prices. Rarely do people say no as most are simply trying to clean things out of their house.

Gather several items together and then ask what the host would be willing take for the entire stack of goodies! This is a great way to score huge savings! Do not hide items in or under other things - People do this, too. Honesty and fairness is always the way to go.

If you're at a good sale, don't worry about rushing off to get to the next sale. Be willing to spend the time looking through everything they have. You don't want to miss out because you are in a hurry. Sometimes the best stuff is down in the bottom of a box or tote that noone else has been willing to attack.

I realize this is a matter of personal preference, but I.DO.NOT. purchase mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals, undergarments, most upholstered items, etc. from yard sales. (Yes, I see used underwear at yard sales all the time - even really nice yard sales. I don't get it!)

If you're nearing the end of the morning and you spot a sale, but you're afraid they don't have anything good left, stop anyway. Oftentimes, there will be something fun left and sellers are more willing to negotiate toward the end of their sale - especially if they're planning to haul everything away to Goodwill in just a matter of minutes.

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