Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Garage Sale Guidelines-extensive version

By now I am hoping that some of you out there have started to get out to a few garage sales to see what you can find. Here are some guidelines to help you be more effective while garage saleing.
For the quick version of my Garage Sale Guidelines click here

1. Always bring cash. Bring a variety of bills. Not everyone has the right amount of cash to break your larger bills so make sure you have a good variety of smaller bills. There is nothing I hate more than asking if the seller will go down from 10 dollars to 7 and then handing them a 10 dollar bill to pay them because I didn’t have any smaller bills.
2.  Do not dress nicely to go garage saleing. Just wake up, brush your teeth and throw some sweats on. Whether it is consciously or subconsciously the person having the garage sale will judge you by how you look. If you’re all dressed up with your makeup on they may quote you a higher price.
3. Be friendly. For example, ask the seller how they are doing today. This gives them a good first impression of you. Since first impressions are all you have when you’re garage saleing they become very important. With a good first impression the seller feels like you are their friend and will be more likely to give you a better deal.
4.  Time is essential. You want to be friendly but don’t have to become best friends with someone. Get in and get out. The good stuff goes quickly so the more garage sales you can hit in a short amount of time, the more treasures you will find.
5. Be prepared. Bringing water and something to munch on is a good idea. Having to stop at a gas station to buy goodies slows you down. Having to gas up the morning of is also a big hassle and wastes time so try to have your gas tank full.
6.  Don’t judge a garage sale by its sign. A good sign does not mean anything! Just because the sign says the garage sale is HUGE doesn’t really mean it’s huge.
7. Don’t judge a garage sale by doing a “drive by.” A drive by is what you do when you just look at what the seller has from the seat of your car. C.J. is a huge fan of the drive by. There have been times that I have stopped him from driving away and found something worthwhile that I would have missed.
8. If there is something you like or want, pick it up and carry it around with you. I can’t tell you how many times C.J. and I have lost out on something because we haven’t done this! You can always put it back down if you decide not to buy it
· If the item you are interested in is too big to pick up, skim the rest of the items at the garage sale while standing next to your item to make sure there is nothing you are more interested in.
· If there are a lot of people at the sale or you notice someone else is interested in your item, stand guard! The second you leave the item it becomes fair game for them. If the item is not marked stand by your item and speak loud enough asking the seller how much they want for it.
· If the sale is one of those HUGE ones they have in a parking lot, try to find a helper to give you a price on the item. If you are positive you want to buy it, go straight to the payment station and ask the price before you continue shopping. While you are there pay for it and ask them to put a sold sign on your item.
· If it is a really good garage sale, your hands are full and there is still more you want to buy, ask the seller if you can start a little pile close to them and away from the other items they are selling. This will help ensure that no one starts digging through your pile. Keep an eye out though because I have had to tell people those are the items I am buying.
9.  If you can, always ask if the seller will go down on their marked or stated price. A lot of first timers are afraid to ask if the seller will go down on a price. In fact, my husband still makes me ask for him! Don’t be scared. This is totally normal. Every once in a while, you will find those individuals who haven’t had a garage sale before and say they are “firm on their prices” or you get those people who think their used items are worth a fortune. Then at the end of the day they wonder why they are left with almost everything they began the day with. In most of your situations, bargaining will be completely acceptable. If you remember to ask every time you buy something you could save yourself a lot of money!
10.  Ask for a group price for all the items you want. Many times, if you are buying a large amount from a garage sale, the seller doesn’t mind giving you a discounted price on your total purchase. For example. If you have 10 pieces of clothing you want at .50 cents a piece your total would be 5 dollars. Ask the seller if they would do 3 dollars for all of it. You are more likely to get a better deal if you do lot prices for multiple items than if you bargain out each item individually. The seller will get tired of the same person asking if they will go down. If you do a lot price of everything, you only have to ask once.
11.  Be prepared to meet some very interesting and sometimes even rude people. I have learned there is not a limit to what someone will do to get what they want.
12.  Personally, I don’t normally buy electronics from garage sales. This may also be due to the lack of someone in my home that knows how to work with these items. If you or your husband can work on these things go ahead! If you have a good feeling about the item and want to buy it anyway, ask them if they will plug it in so that you can see it works.
13. Understand that you are shopping at a garage sale. Things are used and may not be perfect. Be creative! Sometimes you can still make these things work to your benefit!
14. Listen to how the seller deals with other customers. By doing this, you will be able to gauge whether the seller is pretty firm on their prices or if they would be willing to let things go for cheap.
15.  Try not to offend the seller. Once you have offended them, they are less inclined to give you a good deal. If you don’t want to name a lower price because you aren’t sure if it would offend them simply ask if they would go down so that they name the lower price instead of you. Then you can bargain further if you wish.
16. Remember that you have no obligation to buy anything! There are times when I feel bad about walking away without buying anything or have felt obligated to buy something. In these situations, it’s best to make an excuse. Tell them you have to see what your spouse thinks or that it’s for a friend and that you will call them and tell them about it. I have even blamed it on my husband and told the seller that I would be in trouble with my husband if I bought it.


  1. New follower and fellow garage sale person! My Saturday starts at 6:30 am and ends whenever. Love your tips and am looking forward to future posts. Check out my blog for my treasures...yardsalesandcrochet.blogspot.com.
    Have a safe and fun 4th!

  2. Great advice! I hate it when I want something and don't pick it up and someone else grabs it! ARG! lol

  3. How cute is this place?! I love it!! I'm a total garage sale junkie...I can't get enough of them during the summer... our season ends around September since it gets so cold in NY but me & sometimes my girls are out almost every weekend! I love seeing all you've done with your treasures...and your outfits!! so cute!! thanks for stopping by & for following...
    ♥ much love

  4. I love this list of tips!!! Great stuff :) I'll be linking to this in a blog post ASAP!