Garage sales or yard sales as they are sometimes called are the frugal living answer to a treasure trove.
They give you the opportunity to help save the planet by reusing someone else's cast off whilst saving yourself lots of money to boot.
Over the years I have attended many of these sales and have found so many wonderful things that I think most of the items in my house have belonged to someone else before. It amazes me at just what you can find at these garage sales. I have bought:
And that's just the tips of the iceberg. In fact almost everything can be found at one garage sale or another.
There are things to remember when planning to visit yard sales to insure that you get the best bargains from them.
Go early on in the season - when the weather has just started to get warm enough for people to start holding them. The reason is simple, all through the winter they have been stashing all their unwanted items away ready for their first sale of the year. These sales will contain the best booty.
Visit as many as you can regularly - the more garage sales you attend the more variety of goods you will be able to find. Plan to go at least a couple of times a month.
Plan ahead - Don't wander around aimlessly. Think of items that you would like to find before you go and write a shopping list. This will keep you focused and will save you time at the sales. Make sure that you have any measurements or size requirements written down as well.
Find your sales - Make sure you keep your eyes out for posters of up and coming sales and buy the weekly local paper every week and map out which garage sales you want to attend.
This way you can also plan your journey route ahead of time as well.
Lie of the land - when you arrive at the sale, do a quick walk around the whole sale to spot any major bargains.
Then you can go back and take your time sifting through boxes etc. This is the way to ensure that big bargain items are not snached up, like exercise equipment, bed frames or electrical goods.
Cash - make sure you take enough cash with you. There's nothing worse than running out before you have seen the whole sale.
Tape measure - Always handy to ensure that the items you are buying will fit your home.
Carry Bags - don't always expect the garage sales to have bags for your goods. Take plenty with you that you have recycled from shopping trips and be prepared to carry large items by carrying some string with you.
Drinks and Snacks - you could be out hunting for bargains for hours, so be prepared by taking a bottle of water and some light snacks to keep you going.
If you are lucky enough to have your own garage space or a big enough yard to hold your own sale on then having a sale of your own is a perfect way to make some money and contribute to your frugal living lifestyle.
They are quite easy to do but it does take some organising and preparation to make the sale run smoothly.
(In the Uk it is more common for people to sell their goods at what are known as car boot sales, these are even easier to do as all you have to do is turn up at the site of the sale with your car full of goods, pay a small fee and sell from the side of your car using trestle tables. Advertising is taken care of by the organisers)
How to run your own yard sale
Make sure you have enough goods to attract a crowd of people. The more you have to sell the better, so why not ask friends and family to sell their items and join with your sale. It also helps to spread the workload and keep things organised.
Clean and repair - Make sure that the items you are selling are clean and in good repair. You are more likely to make a sale if the items look their best.
Pricing - It is a good idea to either clearly mark each item with its price or to have a written price list of the items for yourself.
Signs - To attract the eye make colourful signs to highlight certain items. Clearly marking its price will encourage people to come and have a look.
Special Offers - books and videos will sell better if you offer two for the price of one. Clearly mark these offers with large signs.
Display - Make your garage sales as attractive and as easily to search as possible. Lay items out neatly on tables or on the ground. Hang clothes up on hangers if possible and avoid boxes full of scrambled items.
Cash - make sure you have plenty of small change and notes to be able to offer people change. Keep your money in a body bag for safety.
Advertise - Make sure that you advertise your sale at least a week before the date. Place free ads in local papers, put notices up in shop windows and leaflet your local neighbourhood. On the day you can also place larger signs on to lamp posts, but make sure you remove them after wards.
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