9 Tips to Becoming a Yard Sale Pro

Garage sales and yard sales are a treasure trove of bargains, where savvy bargain hunters can find everything from barely used clothes and household goods to antiques, jewelry and collectibles. It’s a fun activity for families and it can also be a fun way to socialize. So we've got a few simple tips to becoming a yard sale pro!

9 tips to make you an expert “sailor”

  1. Fill your travel mug with strong coffee, and set sail early. The best selection is found at the start of a sale.
  2. Plan your route. Check online garage sale sites on Facebook, Craigslist, and free shopper newspapers. Plan on hitting the sales that mention the things you need first and setting out from there. Plan your route so you won’t be wasting gas driving across town and back.
  3. Target neighborhood and block sales where you can walk from one sale to the next. Multi-family sales are also a good bet for lots of bargains.
  4. Pick your neighborhood. An honest truth about “sailing” is that more affluent areas often have better quality items and more lightly used items. But don’t overlook any sales that have what you’re looking for no matter where they’re located.
  5. Bring cash. It’s rare that a seller will accept a check, and they are often reluctant to hold items while you make a run to the cash machine.
  6. Consider keeping a list of things you’d like to find at a yard sale. Without a list you’re likely to get carried away and bring home enough stuff to host your own sale. If it’s not on the list, ask yourself, “Will I use this?”.
  7. Start by asking if the seller is willing to negotiate and make an offer or ask them, “What’s the lowest you’ll go on this?” Be ready to walk away (or pay the asking price) if the seller declines your offer. Don’t forget that when you go to pay for several items at once, you can offer a sum lower than the combined cost as a way to get a deal (a.k.a. "bundling" a la American Pickers). Always remember to be friendly and respectful.
  8. Expect to come across a few duds. Not all sales will have what you’re looking for, or what they promised in the ad. You’ll also run across a few grumpy sellers – we’re all human, after all, and yard sales are a lot of work. Hit the next sale with a smile.
  9. Have fun! The deal of the decade might just be around the corner and down the block.