Over 100 Tips to Get the Best Bargains at Garage/Yard Sales

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We can’t tell you how much we loved all your tips and ideas you provided when we asked you to give us your best garage sale tip on our last giveaway!  You gave us so many awesome tips that we are going to break this into two posts – our post earlier to give you some awesome tips for selling your items in a garage sale and then this post to give you some awesome ideas on preparing to shop on the big day!  Also, as we have a section on buying at the garage sale as a way to earn extra income, we encourage you to make sure to check out our list of Over 100 Ways to Earn Extra Income for other ideas as well.

  • Our biggest to tip for shopping at the garage sale is to buy items and then re-sell for a profit.  One of the ways we earned extra income when we were paying off our debt was by doing just that – we would go garage-saling as one way to find quality items for less and then re-sell them on our eBay store.  There really are a lot of gems out there if you take your time to look for them.
  • Take your smart-phone – its even easier as you can immediately look up an item to find what its selling for on eBay or even use our tips and sell back some of those items to Amazon!
  • Map out your garage sale plan in some type of route so you don’t waste too much gasoline.  We made the mistake early on in our garage saling career by not being intentional and using a lot more gas than we expected.

Here’s your awesome tips!

Time to Shop

  • Get there early for the best deals!! – Thanks Anna O
  • Go early for best selection. Go later for better prices. – Thanks Mary B
  • My best garage sale tip is to get out EARLY and be willing to compromise on prices! – Thanks Laura B
  • Start early! Always bargain, within reason…it’s a garage sale after all! Check the newspaper for sales to make out a game plan before leaving home. – Thanks Bree N
  • Go early to get the best selection, and don’t be afraid to haggle. – Thanks Candice D
  • Get there early! – Thanks Charlotte R
  • You get better deals later in the morning. – Thanks KJ H
  • Go towards the end of the sale – when they’re about to close shop as they are going to be more motivated to sell, so you’ll get things for even cheaper, and they’ll probably give you some stuff for free also! – Thanks Camiele
  • You have to get up early for garage sales to get the good stuff. – Thanks Tiffany
  • Go very early for the best bargains. Sometimes I head back in the afternoon, just before closing as well….you would be surprised at what they will practically give away just to get out of hauling it to the goodwill. – Thanks Gerri D
  • Start Early!! I put toys in brown sandwich bags and staple them up. Then, I sell for 1 dollar. Easy way to get rid of smaller toys and it’s a mystery for the customer. – Thanks Deborah
  • Go towards the end of the sale so you can get a better deal. – Thanks Janell P
  • go early to get the good buys – Thanks judy
  • I don’t garage sale, unfortunately. I guess I’d suggest going early and don’t forget your wallet. – Thanks Michele H
  • arrive early – Thanks KAtie l
  • Get there early! – Thanks Megan S
  • We always leave early (you know what they say about the early bird and the worm). – Thanks Lisa V
  • go early! – Thanks Laurie M
  • get out there early to grab the best stuff – Thanks Mary H
  • Go on fridays – Thanks Matthew
  • go early! try to get to the best sales 15 to 30 minutes before they open – Thanks jennifer c
  • Go late for the “best deals”. Most sellers are ready to get rid of their wares at the end of the day for a song but note you will have to pick from the leftovers. – Thanks Melanie L
  • It our town you need to arrive early to get a good selection of what’s offered. – Thanks Pattie J
  • Go early. – Thanks Pamela O
  • Go early. if you are having one make sure you have lots of signs and know what day your area gets the most traffic. – Thanks becki b
  • Get out early, be flexible on price, and put out everything – you never know what random item someone is looking for! – Thanks Amy R
  • Go at end of sale for great last minute deals, lots of times it ends up being free. – Thanks Sally W
  • go early! – Thanks Stephanie Y
  • Make sure you arrive as early as possible to get the best deals and steals! – Thanks Emily
  • show up early, haggle on prices. – Thanks Sunnie
  • Shop either really early for best items or right before they pack it all up for the best deals! – Thanks Jennifer
  • Go early! I usually wait till there is a comunity wide sale in the upscale neighborhoods, there you will find your best deals! – Thanks Carol Y

Where to Shop

  • Go to ppl you know! – Thanks Cindy B
  • I always try and find neighborhood garage sales so you can check out more stuff at once. – Thanks Tiffany
  • Go to sales in nice neighborhoods. – Thanks jennifer
  • It’s best if you plan a route before hand. Look at the classified adds or check Craigslist. That way you save time by hitting all of the garage sales in the same area. – Thanks Jessica S
  • Make a list of whre the garage sales are so you don’t go driving around wasting time & $ (I go farthest out first, then work my way back towards the house) – Thanks Kathy W
  • Try to find neighborhood or city wide sales. You save gas by parking and walking to multiple sales and they are often cheaper and more willing to haggle when they know what their neighbor is selling. – Thanks Amy H
  • My best tip is to go early and use your smart phone! Garage sale rover is a great app. It tells you where all yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales are! – Thanks Kerri
  • Go for multiple home garage sales. It is my best source of kids clothes and toys. Never hesitate to bargain, you might get even better deal. – Thanks Irina
  • location, location, location! – Thanks Laura O
  • I like to go to nice and newer neighborhoods. – Thanks Alicia
  • Scout out addresses for nice neighborhoods and go early right at opening or a few min before for the “best” stuff but beware most sellers are not willing to barter that early. – Thanks Melanie L
  • If you have a smart phone, download the Garage Sale Rover app. It locates all the latest garage sale, estate sales & auctions in your area! It also gives dates, times & directions:) – Thanks Nicolette
  • map out several sales in the same neighborhood so you can hit them all at once, then proceed to the next neighborhood – Thanks Nancy H
  • make a list of the garage sale sites and maps- i usually get my list from cragislist.write down what you are looking forbring cash – Thanks tess c

Handling Your Money

  • Carry lots of ones and quarters. – Thanks Julie C
  • Bring change, and ones, prepare to haggle. – Thanks Lisa B
  • To go up to the person giving the garage sale and saying this is all I can pay for the item! By doing this, I have saved tons of money! I never pay the person the asking price for an item! – Thanks Karen G
  • Remember to bring cash, preferably small bills and always ask if they will lower the price. – Thanks Darlene K
  • Take cash in small bills in case they don’t have enough change. Always offer less, worst than can happen is they tell u no. – Thanks Darlene K
  • only bring what you are prepared to spend – Thanks Katie R
  • dont forget to bring cash! – Thanks Mallory b
  • Lots of cash, bargain! – Thanks Lisa M
  • bring lots of small bills. if it is after noon see if they will take less… – Thanks Renae M
  • Only take the amount of money you can afford to spend for the week. – Thanks Tami Q

Negotiating/Bartering Tips

  • Bargain.. NEVER pay sticker price!! – Thanks Abby K
  • Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate. – Thanks Allyn
  • try to bargain – Thanks Liza v
  • I alway try to talk them down on price! – Thanks Beth S
  • As the shopper: Virtually everything is negotiable! – Thanks Debra N
  • Always haggle (nicely)! – Thanks Holly B
  • if the seller is asking to much for an item dont be afraid to negotiate. cannot tell you how many times i save even up to $10 an item because i negotiated. – Thanks lara c
  • Always barter! – Thanks Jenny S
  • Haggle no matter what – Thanks Natalie U
  • Never be afraid to ask or offer a cheaper price! Remember that they want to get rid of all of it! – Thanks Alex
  • Don’t be afraid to stand your ground on haggling. – Thanks Shelby G
  • haggle! walk away and act uninterested and they will usually sell you the item. – Thanks Stephanie M
  • When buying let the seller come up with his price– it is often lower than you would have said. – Thanks Mary

Buying at Garage Sales to Earn Extra Income

  • My girls can never get enough to read, so we shop garage sales for cheap books. We resale them at a local bookstore and use the store credit to buy books they are wanting to read! – Thanks Pam B
  • I resale. I go to garage sales to make money, basically- though I do occasionally buy clothes for kids. Anyway, like everything else in life- I think garage saling works best when you have a plan. Get up early, have goals in mind (I like selling baby items since they are easy to find at garage sales and an easy flip on ebay) For the last few years, I have been buying dishes for replacements.com because there is less risk than buying stuff for ebay. If you go to goodwill or garage sales you just call replacements 800 number and they email you a list of what they will buy the dishes for, then you can decide if it is worth it to buy the dishes before you do. (sometimes the best money comes from pfaltzgraff and other not so expensive everyday patterns that people just really like) You just send it in and then they send you a check within a week or two. Buying for ebay is great too, just thought i would share since everyone knows about garage saling for Ebay but not many people know about the replacements stuff. Oh yes, and go early to garage sales! If you work hard you will get the best stuff to resell! – Thanks Betsy S

Miscellaneous Tips

  • Be open-minded to the possible uses/re-purposing of all items – Thanks Amy A
  • bring a reusable bag to hold your treasures! – Thanks amy
  • Be selective — Don’t buy more clutter – Thanks Elody K
  • I alway try to talk them down on price! – Thanks Beth S
  • Keep an open mind, you never know what you will find. – Thanks Tina
  • Always go! You’re bound to find something! – Thanks Jasanna
  • Try to look beyond the funny color – Thanks Pal K
  • research on Craigslist ahead of time so you are first stopping at the sales that have the sizes/gender of the things you want – Thanks Julia S
  • Bring a small child – Thanks Jodi K
  • Just have fun- sometimes you find a great bargain and sometimes you don’t. – Thanks Jennifer M
  • Look for quality, not quantity. – Thanks Julie R
  • Go with a list of things that you need or want. Set limits for each item and try to stick to it. Hit the neighborhood garage sale when you can. That way if you see something you might like but aren’t quite sure or think you might find it cheaper, make a note and then come back to it. – Thanks Kathy T
  • Make a list of what you’re looking for & the highest price you’re willing to pay for each item – Thanks Kathy W
  • Don’t buy anything just because it’s a “great price” at a garage sale, ask yourself if it’s on your list, do you need it, what are you going to do w/it & how soon – Thanks Kathy W
  • How much will it cost to fix/clean the item even though it’s at a “great price” – Thanks Kathy W
  • if you are shopping for something larger then will fit in your vehicle, do you have a “back-up plan” on how to get it home BEFORE you go looking for that item (i.e. if a friend said they will help you or you can borrow their truck, is said friend &/or truck available on that day during the time you’re out garage saleing)? – Thanks Kathy W
  • Leave kids at home :)Thanks Kristy P
  • keep an eye out for quality espec in things not everyone will look for right away. those hidden gems are out there, so i get a kick out of just making it a game, to see what i can find that others miss…. – Thanks Lisa M
  • Be willing to walk away. Don’t get your heart set on something, because then you lose your negotiation power! – Thanks MaryBeth
  • Always carry a shovel with you! Often the homeowners are willing to sell and often give cutting from their gardens :)Thanks Mary
  • Keep a cardboard box or tote bag in your car. This will allow you to keep your items from rolling around while driving or breaking as you try to carry several items. Also, it may be useful to carry wipes or hand sanitizer with you in case you touch something sticky, dirty, etc. – Thanks Meghan T
  • Be nice, greet and chat with the sellers.. especially if you want to barter. Have exact cash if possible that you are willing to spend for an item in your hand, when bartering.( you can always get more $$ if you decide that you are willing to go higher.) – Thanks Melanie L
  • Always take a list of items you are looking for and a tape measure! – Thanks Melissa S
  • My best tip (as a garage sale buyer) is to go with an open mind and go often. When I go I don’t plan to buy anything in particular. I might be on the lookout for certain things that I need but beyond that, I keep an open mind about what I’ll find. That way, no bargains pass me buy. I’ve found that when we go with a certain thing in mind, we often don’t “see” other treasures. – Thanks Cyndi H
  • keep hand sanitizer/ cloths with you because some sellers do not clean the items being sold – Thanks tracy s
  • Look at everything being sold! Stop at all garage sales even if they don’t look good from your car window you might just find a treasure and you already spent the time/gas to get there! :)Thanks Kim M

And finally, a huge thank you to everyone who shared your best tips!  Don’t forget to let us know if any of us missed any tips or whether you have anything else to add in the comments below!

Photo Credit: Real Peek , Mike Dancy, Be Happy in Life, HGTV, Kids on the Grand, Casey Durango


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