The Best Things to Buy at Yard Sales
As an avid garage sale hound, I've gotten pretty good at picking out fantastic buys. I would much rather buy used than new for a lot of reasons, but saving money and recycling are at the top of my list.
For price, garage/yard sales are the best places to find a bargain. The problem with garage sales is that it's a bargain of opportunity. You never know what you'll find when you go out.
Thrift stores have more inventory, but you generally pay a bit more for their effort.
I must admit I don't have very good luck at thrift stores. Occasionally I'll find a bargain, but the good stuff is usually in someone else's basket. 😧 Or in the back still waiting to be priced.
But yard sales, garage sales, and estate sales have long been gold mines for us. Estate sales are usually a bit pricier, especially on the first or second day, but they are the best places to find excellent bargains on antiques and better quality furniture.
Estate sales generally liquidate an entire estate of an older person who has died or moved into smaller accommodations, so there is a whole house full of furniture, electronics, clothes, kitchenware, and decor. We hit estate sales specifically for antiques and decor.
I guarantee you, people are going to have a field day when it comes time to liquidate our estate.😍
What are the best buys at these various tag sales?
• Garden decor, tools, and pots. Towards the fall and early winter, people are anxious to get rid of gardening paraphernalia, perhaps discovering they have no skill or love for gardening. I've bought expensive pots and tools for less than 10% of their retail price.
• Books. There aren't as many as there used to be given that most people are reading electronically, but I like to pick up a favorite classic or nonfiction when I see them.
• Clothes. Occasionally, I'll find jeans in my size, but clothing bargains were made for growing children. I always see parents of young families flock to the clothing tables.
• Tools. This one can be iffy. If you know what a good tool looks like, you can find bargains. Unless you hit an estate sale, most tools are too worn out for the price. Buyer beware.
• Furniture. For the higher end stuff, head for estate sales, but if you're a DIYer, you can score some great finds in solid wood furniture and refinish them for a few bucks.
• Christmas. Scads of Christmas decor can be found nearly all year long, though they do go fast closer to the holidays.
• Kitchenware. You can outfit an entire kitchen with what you can find at a yard sale. I still pick up the occasional serving bowl that's just the right size for two people.
• Decor. I prefer estate sales for decor, but every once in a while I find some great buys at a regular garage sale. Most of my house has been furnished with garage sale finds. Recently I picked up this vintage crock (in picture) for a dollar. I'm told it's valuable, but I liked it for its aesthetics.
Although I'd describe my home decor as traditional, I like to put an eclectic spin on where I put them.
• Collectibles. I see a lot of collectibles. My collections are limited to dog-themed art, but if you're into mainstream collectibles like Barbie, Avon, or vintage dishware, you can find them, especially in older neighborhoods.
• Jewelry. I always hear of people scoring real stone jewelry, but I don't have an eye for bling. I don't wear it so I don't know what's valuable. I do know there's a lot of it out there, ripe for the jewelry hunter.
One benefit of hunting garage sales is that we get to visit some very nice neighborhoods. I love seeing how they landscape their homes. I'm always looking for ideas.
Garage sales can be great fun. Go with a friend and spend the day hunting. What's the best buy you've ever scored, either at garage sales or retail?