Secrets to Successfully Shopping a Yard Sale [Part 2]

by Melissa

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yard sale tips

Ready to hear what has helped me score some pretty awesome things for cheap at yard sales? Read on!

My Top 10 Secrets of Successful Yard Sale Shopping

1. Know what you are looking for.  By the time you get through all of my tips, you’ll notice that some of them seem to contradict each other. This is one of them. Let me explain.

Yard sale shopping can seem incredibly OVERWHELMING. There are a lot of them that you’ll pull up to and notice that there is no organization or method to their madness. Sifting through others’ junk is not fun and it can deter you from ever wanting to trying again. Don’t get discouraged.

I have noticed that if I have even a small mental list of some ideal things to find, it makes looking so much easier. For example, I would love to find a vintage cake stand or a wheat grinder, and boy clothes and shoes, and books are always on my list. Even if I don’t find what I am hoping to, it gives me some direction –a place to start. You can simply ask if they have those items and if you aren’t in the mood for looking for anything else, you can leave without wasting your time. But, I will tell you that I have found some awesome things that I wasn’t specifically looking for.

2. Take cash in small denominations. You will want cash in small denominations like 1s and 5s. This may be slightly annoying for the seller, but if you end up bartering down a smaller price, you will have more clout having the exact change for something rather than asking them to break a 10 for a $2 item that was originally marked for $5. If they ask $5 for something and you have 2 $1 bills, it will be easier for you to get it for $2 rather than $5.

3. Leave check books and bigger bills in the car. You don’t want to play your cards all at once. If the seller knows you have big bills in your wallet, they will expect you to pay more for an item. Keep the big bills in the car. If you find something that costs more than what is in your wallet, just ask the seller to hold the item until you can go to your car to get the money.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price. Again, I will say, don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price. There are definitely some items that the seller will firm on the price with. However, the reason they are having a sale in the first place is to get rid of their stuff. Aka. They don’t want it any more. So just ask them if they will go any lower. More often than not, once they see that you are interested in an item, they would rather get it off their hands then hope to make more money on it.

This happened last weekend with the mirror and globe. I asked for lower prices on both of these items and they knocked it down with no hesitation.

5. Don’t be afraid to make an offer.  Gone are the days where every single item at a yard sale is marked with a price. There may be a few items that the seller has a specific price in mind, but I’ve found that if you offer a price, they will usually take it. Start low and barter from there. It’s better if you make the first offer. The seller may take it! I have bought many items for cheap just by saying, “Will you take a quarter or a few dollars for this?” They will usually say yes.

Have any of these tips worked for you?
I’ll be back tomorrow for the rest!


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Juli May 2, 2013 - 12:21 am

I want to go yard saling with you sometime and see this in action. I get too overwhelmed so that’s why I never go. I’m loving that mirror that you scored!


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