Garage sales are a great way for sellers to get rid of unwanted items while making a little extra cash. For the buyer, a garage sale can mean finding a unique item that fits their style, or as a way to supplement their income with a reseller side hustle. No matter what your reason for checking out the sale, you will need to know how to find the best deals at yard sales to get the best bag for your buck.
*Garage sales and yard sales are the same thing, so we will use those terms interchangeably.
How to find the best deals at yard sales
1. Plan your route beforehand
While it can be fun to drive around looking for garage sales, this can be a waste of time if you’re looking for a bargain. That is why you should plan what garage sales you will be visiting the night before your excursion.
But how do you find out who is having a garage sale? Most garage and yard sales take place on the weekend, and most people advertise the sale in one way or another.
Social media and newspapers are two of the most common places where people announce their garage sales. There may even be a local yard sale group on Facebook that you can join to stay updated with the latest garage sales in your area.
2. Do your research
This is especially important if you are a reseller. Far too often, people assume something is worth more than it actually is, or think that they can easily sell the item.
If you don’t research items before you head out to the garage sales you end up wasting money and being stuck with junk you can’t get rid of. If you have a smartphone, consider downloading the eBay app.
This app will let you search for items and filter the results by what has recently been sold. This gives you an idea whether there is a market for that item, as well as what the current price buyers are willing to pay for it.
3. Bring packing supplies
Bringing your own packing supplies is less about finding the best deals at garage sales, and more about ensuring your purchased items are transported safely back home.
Boxes, bubble wrap, tape, and totes can be kept in the back of your car and work wonderfully to secure the items in place to prevent damage. If purchasing breakable items, such as glass, make sure to wrap the items in bubble wrap to prevent breakage. Blankets and towels work in a pinch if you don’t have bubble wrap.
4. Decide what you’re after
Don’t waste time going through a box of movies or DVDs if that’s not what you’re looking for. While you’re digging through the box, the real deals are being snatched up by others.
Instead, stay laser focused on the specific items you are after, and don’t let that funky vintage lamp that would match your living room decor perfectly deter you from your goal of finding the best deals at garage sales.
5. Make a budget, stick with it, and bring cash
It can be tempting to spend more than you originally planned, especially if you find a cute little knick-knack that catches your eye. While sticking to a budget is easier said than done while at garage sales, try to remember what you’re really after.
If you continue buying items on a whim, then you may find yourself out of money when it comes time to buy what you came for. Furthermore, don’t forget to take cash. Many garage sales won’t accept credit or debit cards, and not having cash is a quick way to let a deal slip right out of your fingers.
6. Get there early
The old saying “the early bird gets the worm” is true on many occasions, garage sales being one of them. Waiting until later in the day will almost guarantee all the best deals have been picked over. What is left are items that have little to no resell value.
In fact, big ticket items usually sell within the first hour. If, however, you’re not looking for hot commodity items, then waiting until late morning, such as 11 am and after, may be better for you. This is because, as the day wears on, sellers are more likely to reduce their prices just so they can get rid of the items.
7. Negotiate price
One of the great things about garage sales is that sellers expect potential buyers to negotiate the price. Yard sales are not like big box stores where the price is set in stone before it even arrives at the store.
You can offer the seller at garage sales a lower price for an item, and there is a good chance they will take your offer. This is also a good tip if you are buying multiple items from the same seller.
They may be willing to give you a discount or bulk price. With that said, however, avoid offering less than half the item’s price as this could potentially insult the seller.
8. Avoid certain items
While it may seem like a good idea to score a used car seat, bicycle helmet, or crib, its best to just say “no thank you” to these items. Some things shouldn’t be sold or purchased at yard sales.
This is because older models usually do not comply with current safety regulations. This means they could potentially pose a safety hazard. The amount you save is just not worth the risk.
9. Check out multi-family sales
When thinking about how to find the best deals at garage sales, I am sure multi-family garage sales came to mind. Multi-family garage sales are several different households bringing their items together in one location. It’s like visiting 4 different sales all at once, and they can be a goldmine of deals.