A Weekend Adventure
Yard sale shopping is an inexpensive way to spend a weekend morning with friends or family. They’re almost like treasure hunts; you never know what you’re going to find! You might see that skirt you’d eyed at Macy’s two years ago that had been $99 in the store, but was now hanging on a clothesline for $3. Remember that Nintendo 64 and Mario game you played as a kid? Well, you might find that at a yard sale, too! What about that one-of-a-kind birthday gift you’ve been trying to find for that friend who likes Art-Deco? Yep, there’s a good chance you’ll find something that appeals to her in a yard sale! Yard sales are an awesome opportunity to be thrifty and to find unique items that express your individuality, which you may not be able to find in stores anymore.
You might be asking; “why can’t I just go to a consignment shop to buy second-hand anytime I want?” Sure, consignment shopping is a great way to receive affordable prices, but places like Plato’s Closet only take certain things like clothing, shoes, jewelry and purses. Yard sales give you more product options (especially if you need appliances like microwaves or vintage items like strobe lights. Plato’s won’t have anything like that!). Many consignment shops are picky about what they decide to carry, limiting the type of products they can sell. Shops like Good Will are a bit closer to what you can access at a yard sale, but these places are stores. They lack the intimacy that yard sales have. This intimacy makes yard sale shopping much more fun than consignment shopping!
First thing’s first; you have to figure out where the yard sales near you are taking place; you can sometimes find listings in the classified ads of a newspaper. Then again, if you walk around you’re likely to find even more yard sales. Most people don’t advertise their yard sales in the paper anymore, but they’ll set out signs, so keep your eyes peeled for them the week before you plan your yard sale treasure hunt! Yard sales generally take place Friday-Sunday in the morning hours, so you’re going to want to rise early to have first dibs!
The next rule about yard sale shopping is to never go by yourself – bring a friend or a parent with you! There is safety in numbers – not to mention that it’s much more fun shopping in a group.
Thirdly, don’t ever go into a yard sale if you don’t feel safe. There can be a few sketch places, so exercise caution! You’ll know these unsafe places when you see them. For example, a small, dilapidated looking house with signs telling people to come inside is definitely a red flag – unless it’s an estate sale. Estate sales are held inside of houses that are also for sale, so no one currently lives inside. Estate sales will usually have more furniture and house decor than clothes, gadgets and accessories.
In addition, don’t forget to make sure you have small bills in your wallet as yard sales usually only take cash. Only take out as much as you want to spend; $20 is usually a good starting point. You gain much more bang for your buck when you’re buying second-hand.
Another facet of yard sale shopping is haggling; if you find something too expensive, suggest a lower price that you find more reasonable. For example, if you spy a Black Hills Rose Gold Ring marked $175 at the yard sale when you’ve seen similar rings online for $150, suggest $130. Sometimes sellers are reluctant to come down on higher-value items, so they may fall somewhere between the original price and your offer which would be, in this case, around $150! If that still isn’t adequate, and you want more of a deal, it’s okay to suggest $140, but remember to be respectful. If you play your cards right, you might end up saving around $35 on a very expensive piece of jewelry!
Determining the value of an item can sometimes elude people past the obvious. If the item is broken and is beyond reasonable repair, it’s not worth purchasing. If you see something interesting, but know that it’s only going to be collecting dust on your bookshelf, you may want to think twice about putting any cash down on the table.
On the other hand, you can also see yard sales as an opportunity to be an entrepreneur. If you see mismatched silverware with interesting designs, or some broken jewelry and you happen to be an excellent jewelry-maker, maybe consider investing in them to open a shop on Etsy! The old silverware (after being properly polished and crafted) can turn into lovely spoon rings, and the broken jewelry can become beautiful new pieces that showcase your imagination! You might also be able to buy into a few pairs of jean shorts to bleach, dye and paint for your store, too. The sky’s the limit!
Finally, have fun! Don’t be afraid to chat up the people shopping around with you, or the people having the yard sale. That’s part of the allure of yard sale hopping! You not only have the chance to see really interesting items, but you also have the opportunity to speak to people you would have never met otherwise. You might meet an elderly couple from Florida who are selling a great number of paintings, jade statues and other antiques who used to own an antique shop before moving to your home state. You may even meet a family that’s relocating to Michigan and are having a house-cleaning sale. You may even meet girls just like you who are looking for an alternative to overpriced mall items.
Yard sale shopping can be a money-saving exercise just as much as a social one, and you might be able to land a few cool paintings (sometimes under $10!) to hang up in your room. The possibilities are endless!