Tomorrow starts another Yard Sale weekend – woohoo! I haven’t been able to go the last two weekends due to baby and wedding stuff going on, but you can bet your sweet arse I’ll be out there tomorrow ;) I can’t let you grab ALL the treasures, right?And since this journalist person didn’t end up caring about my tips I had for him (they were writing a piece on getting the most out of yard sales), his loss has now become your gain, haha… though I’d have shared them with you anyways, of course ;) I’ve learned a lot over the 20 years doing ’em!
My Top Yard Sale Tips & Tricks:
(They only work if you *follow* them, though!)
- Make sure your belly is full, and your bladder empty! This is rule #1 because the last thing you want to do is be all cranky in the middle of a hot run of sales, and screw up your game plan. Stuff your face and hit the loo *before* jumping into that car, and then stay right there on the pursuit in front of you… if you need snacks or coffee to keep you alert (I always do!), just bring ’em along with you, that’s allowed ;)
- Go as EARLY as possible to get the first look at deals. This is the most obvious rule of thumb, but the hardest to do because it means waking up even earlier on the weekend :( But if you’re serious about getting the *BEST* deals out there – before anyone else even SEES them – this is your best course of action. Start out at 6 or 7 am while all the slackers are still waking up, and then snag all the goodies ASAP! Just be sure to respect any sellers’ wishes that “early birds” stay away (they usually note it on their signs or in their advertisements) because the last thing you want to do is piss off the people you’re trying to woo. (See rule #6 below).
- Use an app! I’m sure there are a ton more out there by now, but the one I’ve always used throughout the past 2+ years is Garage Sale Tracker for the iPhone. It pulls all the sales off of Craigslist and plops them down into a single map where I can easily just touch and re-route to. It’s brilliant. And it saves me a good 30-40 mins trying to scour the web or the paper looking for the best hot spots out there (what I do is bring up the map when I first wake up to see where all the hot spots are, and then plan my trip to go straight there while maybe hitting one or two on the way (I’ll take the roads that get me to pass them)). The best part of it all is that the app is FREE – even though I’d gladly pay for it ;) Don’t tell them!
- Hit the “community” and “church” yard sales first. You’ll get like 10-20 times more families hosting their own sales, and the best part is that they’re all in the SAME spot! One community sale can replace 20 others that you’d have picked off one by one, it’s crazy talk. And even if they’re not all *great* ones (they usually aren’t the best-best out there), it still the most efficient use of your time and money. Not to mention all the gas and anxiety you’d save from going from one sale to another. I get so excited I’d probably hyperventilate if I didn’t focus myself ;)
- ALWAYS bargain! No matter what it is, always ALWAYS always ask for less than what the sellers asking for. It doesn’t matter if it’s $1.00 or $1,000 – they *expect* to be bargained down! So give your “perfect scenario” offer first, and then gauge their response to figure out your odds of lowering the price even more. 1 out of 10 times they’ll say no, but you can count on at leas 10-25% off all the rest of the times. Maybe even 50% (but you’ll never know if you don’t ask!).
- Be friendly, smile a lot, and make chit-chat with the sellers. Everyone’s there to have a good time and make a deal, and just like with everything in sales, connecting with people is key. The more the seller likes you, the more odds of getting stuff cheaper. Sometimes even for free :) Remember that gold mine I struck with all those coins the other week? I not only got them discounted down, but I also got one of them for free cuz he liked me – and vice versa. The more of a rapport you can have, the better deal you’ll end up getting.