How do you shop at yard sales ?

toomuchglassJuly 23, 2004

I went out to some rummage sales today ...... it felt soooo good to get out !! Usually - I'm kicking myself for buying stuff that "At the time seemed like a good idea" ...(then it sits-untouched-at my house ) but today - after I got home - I started thinking of all the stuff I saw that I didn't buy and wish I had !!!! DANG IT !!!

I CAN'T WIN !! ( LOLOLLL ) How do you SHOP ? Do you just have this GUT feeling that something may be useful ??? Do you have things in mind right away -- or do you buy now - think later ? Do you spend alot of time walking around planning your projects ? LOL ........


:-) :-) :-)

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Don't know if I'd be called an "expert", or not, but I DO have vast years of experience! LOL

My junking friend and I do the "swoop and dive". We can quickly scan and see what things we're interested in and get them. Carry them around . DON'T lay them down until you're sure that you don't want them. We try to go to as many sales in the length of time that we have as we can. I don't walk around and look at and pick up everything like I've seen some "lookers" do. We're more about the pursuit than we are the prey! LOL

I don't waste a lot of time looking at adult clothes. Most of them are pretty sad and tired looking so I usually skip those.

We each have certain types of things that we like: containers, metal things, etc. that we look for. No, I don't always know what for or where I'm going to use something, but if the price is right, I usually get it and then make good use of it - sooner or later!


    Bookmark   July 23, 2004 at 7:58PM
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My friends and I go out early Saturday morning and we are game for anything. We all have little ones so we are constantly rebuying our childhoods for them. Last weekend, I bought a huge box of the original little people, two main streets, the garage, the house and the school house (with a hidden playground) for $4.00!! Our kids have had a blast (they have all of the "new" little people stuff and they never play with it!).
We always start out with the newspaper listings. We try to find the area with the most sales and head there. We stop at all the sales (no drive bys). Since we all know what each others tastes are, we grab anything we think the others would like. When it comes to toys, we tend to know what stuff costs retail, so we'll grab up stuff and then decide who wants to buy it. When it comes to games, we always make sure that all of the pieces are there.
We hardly ever look at adult clothes, but we do check out the kids stuff. I have gotten 3 pair of jeans for my son that were like brand new. I paid $1.75 total!

Like you, there have been times that I have second guessed myself on an item and have driven back by to see if perhaps the person has extended their sale. I have found that most times, I don't regret it for more than a day. My one friend is really good at talking me out of stuff that really doesn't "go" with my decor or I would end up with a ton of stuff that would have no home. We are always joking that we should have our own yard sale and see if anyone comes to buy back their old stuff.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2004 at 10:02PM
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I'm not an expert, but I have themes. Right now, I buy kid's clothes and decor for various rooms. For instance, for my little girl's indoor garden room theme, I'm buying butterflie's, gardeny looking wall hanging stuff like twig trellis looking stuff and bird houses. My living room is supposed to be southwestern, but I like the Santa Fe Art look, not cowboy boots and cheap pictures.

I also impulse buy things like good children's books or toys. I don't take more than $20-40 total so the big ticket items are out.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2004 at 12:00AM
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I never look at the fact I have even passed up yard sales when I can see that it is mostly clothes. I look at everything twice. I make the rounds & make them again. There is always something I see the second time that I missed the first round. If I see something that interests me, I carry it around with me until I am ready to settle up. Sometimes I put something back that I decide not to buy. One thing I have learned is to look in the boxes. Sometimes some of the best junk is in boxes because they also consider it junk & not worthy of table space. Betty

    Bookmark   July 24, 2004 at 12:09AM
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Interesting.The Tightwad Gazette people have a section on buying clothes at yard sales.You can really rack up the savings on a clothing budget.I only wear used clothing myself.Because I clean for a living and ruin and stain just about everything it doesn't make sense for me to purchase new.Their system on buying chilren's clothes is very sensible.Personally though,with kids that have spaghetti waists,it just isn't possible to dress them in clothes that fit them from garage sales all the time.I've been known to grab a brand new toy or two and put it under the xmas tree.I usually look for old ceramics,china and crystal.I also look for art.Sandy

    Bookmark   July 24, 2004 at 11:07AM
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I usually do a quick glance looking for small antiques, furniture and the type of things I collect. After I've picked those up, I go back and look again. I always look at the clothes, If they look dirty or worn I'll skip all of them, but clean current fashions will keep me looking. My closet is full and at least 70% is used clothing. I look for name brands in styles I usually wear. I buy a lot of things that I end up not wanting, but have no problem reselling it through eBay or my own garage sale which I usually have once a year anyway.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2004 at 6:06PM
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I do the quick scan also, then go around again at a slower pace. But this past weekend,I passed up a goodie. On Thursday, I had seen a toddlers white metal bed for only $3.00. Well, I already had a red one, so passed it up. On my Friday excursion, I decided to go check if it was there. Yes it was, but being loaded into someone else's car!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2004 at 10:14PM
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I hadn't been to a GS for awhile, but after finding this site I have been to some last week. I was looking for specific items though. Found great kids clothes so very cheap and name brand, bought for neighbourÂs kids. I may not be a good person to give advice lol

    Bookmark   July 25, 2004 at 9:00PM
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I usually have one or two items that I'm specifically looking for. Last week it was a 9 foot length of heavy chain, and metal bistro chairs. I got the chain, (and for free I might add!) but not the chairs. I'll keep looking tho. I'm always on the lookout for certain items. Nice teapots with lids for less than $2. Bowling balls. Heavy ceiling light covers, paint, and pitchers. Then, there's the things that just kinda "grab" you. You KNOW you will do SOMETHING wonderful with it, but you just can't think of it at the moment, and if you leave it, you'll never know what it could be! LoL

I NEVER take more than $20, and sometimes only $10.
I have fun tho. It's better than gambling. At least I'm guaranteed to bring something home for my money!


    Bookmark   July 26, 2004 at 10:33PM
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what do you do about the sales where there is no price tag and when asked they say what do you think it's worth ?????

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 10:13PM
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I hate the sales with no price tags. If it is something I rally want I will ask the price, otherwise, I just turn around and leave. I don't feel like asking the price for every item. If they ask me what I think it's worth, they are in for a big surprise 'cause my price won't be much. If they are too lazy to price their stuff, I don't intend to help them make any money. I have a little thrift shop and buy most of the stuff I sell from yard sales, so I don't want to spend much and they would probably be offended by my offers.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2004 at 11:05PM
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It depends. If the person seems anxious to please or truly clueless when they ask me that, I will usually counter with something like........"Well, it's your lamp. what do you think it's worth?" Or........."You know how much you need to get out of it, why don't you just tell me what you need and I will tell you if I can afford it?" If the person seems Smarmy to me.....(Translation: They know very well how much they want, but they are Hoping that I will offer more.........they don't want to risk getting less than the max)........then I just say..."Well, I need a price." That's pretty much it.
And I usually go with something or other in mind, but not always. If I pick something up and don't know immediately that I want it, I carry it while I decide. Sometimes I let the price decide for me. A set of dishes priced at $5 could be re-sold by me for $10-20-40.......whatever, so that's not really much of a risk. An antique chair priced at $65 might not resell for that much so I better be sure I want it.
One more thing......If you are buying something that you can't take with you right then.......A big chair, a dining table with chairs, a dresser, etc. Try to take at least PART of it with you.....maybe a dresser drawer--or stick One chair in the back seat--or take the loose pillows off the chair. Tell them you will return in an hour with your truck, but take part of it with you so someone else can't come along and snatch it for a little more $$ while you are getting your wheels.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 2:19AM
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Good strategy.I've lost stuff I wanted walking home to get the car.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 11:57PM
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I shop with my amazing friend who has a "scanner" brain! She can glance at the whole mess for a few seconds & zero in on stuff we like (or tell me to grab this while she snatches that.) She's never shy about asking "Is this the best you can do on this...I like it, but have only __$ left to spend today.

I always look at clothes, especially if there are formals in colors I'm looking for...the satins & velvets (trims too)are great for making throw pillows, Victorian pin cushions etc. By boiling the wool, it makes wonderfully warm mittens & winter hats for homeless children. Makes good pot holders & rugs too.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 11:58PM
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:) the older the development, the more time I spend- honestly, I do it as much to talk to the people as I do for the hunting and gathering, there...

my bad habits are stuffed animals and books (things I never got enough of as a child)

I will rumage through the clothes in piles, but rarely do more than glance at stuff on hangers unless the lady of the house is about my size (exceptions are full formal dresses and heavily embellished things, which I sometimes buy for the raw materials)

I used to be far messier about what I bought- did it for fun, impulse bought stuff that went to the starvation army in a month or so...but my husband's cheerfully strict about what fits into the new house, and I've learned to ask myself 'will The Cat approve?' (Tom Cat, that is)

I've gone through phases where I would buy anything purple (or green, or silver) or where I didn't buy anything but hardcover books, as well.

I'm even considering trying to buy 'for the trade' since a friend is setting up an ebay business, and he's only got an eye for 'guy' antiques...and I DO come across some really collectable things- but I think stengel pottery is ugly, and have no use for most knick-knacks on my own, so I walk right past them.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 11:33AM
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I buy children's clothes. We are fortunate to live in an affluent area w/people who tend to buy only boutique or high end clothing for their kids. If someone has a pile of clothes and they are good, name brands I'll offer the seller one price to take everything they have. Most of the time they accept my offer knowing that it's better to get one big chunk of money and get rid of it all in one swoop than to have people rummaging through it all day and end up taking leftovers to charity. Last weekend I bought 5 huge black garbage bags full of name brand clothing for $30. I keep what will fit my children and all else goes on ebay. If there is anything that I know won't sell because of size or style, I donate it.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 2:37PM
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I go with my friend. We have a rule where who sees it first gets it, because occasionally we've wanted the same thing :) I buy high-end children's clothes and shoes and also shoes for me. I also like books and nice things for in the house. I never buy furniture, although that's mainly because we were moving house so I didn't want any more!

We start with a drive by. You can get a general feel for a sale just by scanning. Often we won't even stop if it looks dull - maybe we miss something, but oh well. If we do stop, we scan first, pick out things we like, then go back and do the more detailed look, carrying the things we saw off the bat. I always check in boxes or in piles of stuff, and I generally bargain people down. Or, I often ask how much something is, if it is say $1 a piece, I will offer $1.50 for two pieces.
I sell on eBay so if I see a book or children's clothing that I don't want for myself I will buy it if I know I can make some money from it. I bought a book once for $0.50 and sold it for almost $70.00!!

Oh - I also like magazines. People sell those on for 5 cents to 25 cents, or a few dollars for a box load. Good to read and pass on or donate to the library.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2004 at 11:22PM
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I SLAM ON MY BREAKS..... oh....wait a said shop...not Stop !!!....

I try not to drag home stuff I won't use....I've been dragging home for too many place to put it anymore.


    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 6:30PM
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Ok this looks like a good spot to post my question...

I live on a country road 3 miles from town. "Driveby" traffic is nearly nill. If I want to have a GS to move out some of my extra projects and finds, what would it take to get YOUR attention to drive 3 miles out in the boonies to look?

DO I need to list items on my signs? Put more in my newspaper ads? What gets you willing to drive a little extra?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 3:24PM
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GS haven't really started this year in Michigan. Another 2-3 weeks and will start having them again. I can't wait!!!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 4:09PM
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Don't know if you advertise in the paper or not. but I check the papers for yard sales and in our area many are way out in the country and do well. If the ads list things I am really interested in I will drive quite a ways.From where I live I drive anywhere from 20 to 30 miles for yard sales as there are very few close by, but usually will go to 6 or more at a time in the same area.
I have been known to drive down a road when I see a sign and it may be 3-4 miles and usually I am glad I did.
I am a little more choosey now, since gas prices are so high and my pickup likes to drink a lot. lol
Tomorrow is the first listed GS this year and will be about a 10 mi round trip, but then there is another one listed that entails a 40 mi. round trip if I decide to go. It sounds mighty tempting.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 10:30PM
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interesting question. I too have been shopping at these for a while. I try to get there as soon as I can, scan everything over quickly. If I see something I like I grab it immediately and carry it around. If I feel something is to pricey and the owner is right there I say oh let me think about it and usually they will go down if they see me buying other stuff.Also look in the free boxes, and I have found some good art books with pictures to frame in them. If i hang out a bit and chat with the owner or compliment them on their garden, kids etc. sometimes they show us more stuff not outside or give us free stuff. My husbands a real talker so I like to bring him along. We got one of those giant plastic snowmen and about 20 christmas window candles this way!!!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2005 at 6:27AM
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I had been on the look out for and Old Kitchen Stove for my cottage. We had gone to a flea market and saw some there, but was to pricey. So on the way home we stopped at a antique mall and I found one for $195. I liked it, but it wasn't the kind that I wanted. They took $50.00 dollars off, so I bought it. 6 days later on my way to my Aunts house I saw a garage sale, and stopped. There it was, the stove I wanted for $100.00. I called my friend and she said that I can't buy every stove I see. I was also affraid my husband would kill me. So I passed it up. I told my husband about it that night and he said lets go tomorrow and see if is there. I said theres no way its going to be there. And it wasn't. I can just kick myself. I won't second guess it if I come across another one. I could have bought it and sold the other one.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 12:32AM
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I'm renovating and fixing up an old farm house that was so abused and misused by previous renters that the landlord couldn't even rent it out anymore. So in we come with more time than money, and more determination than brains. We're renting a whole house, have access to 120 acres to play on with an above gorund pool, very private but sadly neglected and abused. So I'm searching for cheap ways to bring life back to this place. The house was originally built over 100 yrs ago but has been added onto with little thought several times, so it's full of idiocyncracies. It's got fresh paint inside now and we had to rip out all the floor coverings and actually remove dead birds and rodents.

I'm doing the main floor pretty much in taupe and white with black and red country accents for POP. So I'm in the process of looking for anything red or black that might add architectural interest, or help disguise any of the many oddities that detract from the houses appearance.

I would love to find furniture since it has 2 huge decks flanking the pool and my own living room furniture is far too large for the way the house is set up. I need to find some cupboards to add to the sparse ones in the kitchen. I would dearly love to find an old free standing cupboard to put in my dining room. I hope to find some fabric in red/black plaid to make curtains, etc with.

At this point anything red/black will get a second look from me "just in case" I can repurpose it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 12:19PM
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NanaTink ... In my city, there are probably 75+ garage sales each and every weekend. I live about five miles west of the city, and just can't compete with the city sales which are so close together.

So this has been my strategy the past five years. I host one garage sale a year, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. I've found there are very few sales that weekend, and it's easier to entice people to drive out of the city to visit mine.

There are a couple of major intersections in town just before heading in my direction ... I start my signs there, just the word SALE and an arrow, then repeat them just enough so they don't drive very far without seeing one. My signs are very distinct, and easy to follow and be sure you're on the right "track." They're made from two colors of posterboard taped together, last time I used neon pink and neon yellow. I always get comments from people how they love following my signs.

My prices are cheap, cheap, cheap. I'm an avid reader, and always have a ton of paperbacks. DH offers tools that he no longer needs. We try to have a good mix of guy stuff and gal stuff. DH and I both work the sale, we rarely let our customers just look around without speaking to them. We've actually built up a reputation for having a great sale, and get lots of repeat shoppers!

If I have any big-ticket items, I'll put an ad in the paper, but only for the morning of the sale, and using the fewest number of words possible.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 1:45PM
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I like to go alone and I also do a quick scan. I have tons of stuff at home, so it doesn't take me very long to look, and if I find something interesting...I am pretty good at making snap decisions. Sometimes I do look at clothes. I buy tee shirts for my husband to work in, and I don't like to pay more than a quarter apiece. I wear only used clothing but if I look at clothes, I am quick. I don't need very much. The things I look for are garden related things...interesting pots, plant stands, interesting plants, or things that I can use in my wildlife rehabbing...heating pads, good heavy non tip over water dishes. I also love jewelry and if I see some interesting items, I will linger to look that over.

For those of you having sales...I don't mind driving, but please, lots of good, clear signs. It is a real aggravation to drive out of town in the country and not have good signs to follow, and have to turn around and come back.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 3:40PM
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I buy anything that SPEAKS to me! It's totally intuitive. Used to try to learn what was valuable, what could be re-sold for a higer price, but that took all the fun out of it.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 1:10PM
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