“Garage Sale-ing”: A Frugal Adventurist’s Guide

Amy Hannold, 247Moms Frugal Living Editor

“Garage Sale-ing”, for sport or for frugality, requires speed, knowledge, determination and cash. Around 2pm on Saturday, we are observed, a little spring in our step, as we head home with scores of great deals. What are the rules of this (usually) non-contact sport? Let’s take a look at what the great sale-rs know.

One: Preparation!: You’ve heard “Early to bed, early to rise…” With garage sale-ing, it’s a must. Vehicle and physical preparation is crucial. It’s the key to beating out the competition at the first sales. Fuel the car, set out breakfast, pack snacks, a lunch if desired and get to bed early.

Two: In God We Trust: Small bills and coins speed up the payment process – and, consider this: how can you offer only $5 for a $7 item when you’ve just flashed them a ten or twenty?

Three: Tools You’ll Need: A measuring tape, lists of clothing sizes/home needs, phone numbers of those you’re shopping for, fabric tote bags, a set of “AA” and/or other batteries, small screwdrivers, comfortable shoes, some entertainment items for the kids, a tarp, rope, newspaper, cardboard boxes, and hand sanitizer may come in handy. (These should be in your car for everyday emergencies!)

Four: Mind Your Manners: Garage sale-ing is as much of a social affair as it is a sport. Remember those you encounter are often people you will see again. Good manners go along way toward netting you not only new treasures, but valuable friends as well.

Be respectful of others’ belongings. Listen politely to them about their prized possessions (and “how much they can’t bear to part with them…”). Ask what is the least they will accept. Make sure you want to own what you’re buying – and that it will serve you well. (Research product recalls of items you want to buy at www.cpsc.gov or 1-800-638-2772 – before you buy them).

Five: Love Thy Neighbors: This includes the sellers’ neighbors. Be mindful of whose lawn you may be parking on. Even if it means walking the extra steps up the driveway, instead of across the flowerbeds, do go the extra mile. After the sale is over, whomever you are buying from will appreciate a peaceful rest from their undisturbed neighbors.

Six: Map Your Course: I have to hand it to my Dad here. He’s a seasoned sale-r (sailor) through both the high seas and garage sale-ing. Dad knows how to map a route and he’s got his map book in the car. (Great maps can be found in your local phone directories, chamber of commerce or your own GPS). He numbers the sales by time and location (or sometimes by items of particular interested listed in the ad). Charting a course saves you time and money.

Seven: Networking: Get to know your fellow sale-rs. Ask about what the other sales are like today or about an unknown address. Let them know what you are looking for. Networking pays here- you may even find your next job, home or best friend while garage sale-ing. Have your business/contact cards ready!

Eight: Know your goals, Seek your Goals (or “Look Quick, Grab Fast!”). Avid sale-rs are very quick on the draw! When you see something you like, grab it fast! Items move very fast and so should you! By knowing what you’re looking for, you know whether a sale is for you – or whether you should cruise on down to the next one.

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