I see the sign. My palms go sweaty and my heart rate quickens.
A YARD SALE.
I must stop. There is something that draws me to them, almost magnetically.
I’ve been going to yard sales since before I knew how to spell, since before I knew how to walk. My mom always took me and we would scour the neighbors’ garages and yards; finding treasures in their unwanted items.
I’m told that at the age of two I saw a nursing home with people outside enjoying the nice weather and I thought it was a yard sale.
30-something years have passed, but life is still the same. I cart my two little boys to yard sales most weekends. They look for books and toys while I’m always looking for furniture to paint. Now that we have a new home, I’m also keeping my eyes open for an antique chandelier for our dining room, nautical elements and pottery for the kitchen.
1. The early bird catches the worm – go early. The best finds will be picked up quick so try and get there right when the yard sale starts.
2. Cash is King – many people only want to deal with cash so it is best to have enough with you when you go to a sale. Just in case. I also have my littles ones bring money so they can spend a few dollars on a treasure they find.
3. Negotiation Generation – There may be prices on items, but don’t let that deter you. You may be able to get your item for a better price. I like to ask, “Is this price firm?” or “Could you go any lower on the price?” or “What’s your best price?” Usually, the seller will say yes (especially when it is a moving sale) and you will have more cash to spend.
4. Tools of the Trade – Along with cash, I also like to bring my tape measure and measurements if I have a space in mind for a piece. It would be soooo depressing to get home and realize that piano or dresser just didn’t fit…
5. Open Your Eyes – be ready to rummage and really look. Treasures, like old books or jewelry, may be hidden in boxes that you might miss while doing a once over. Pick items up, feel them. Carefully inspect any item your thinking about buying for damage, wear & tear and age. Some items are wonderful with an aged patina, but other things like mold I stay away from.
6. Drive-bys are Okay – sometimes we just drive by yard sales. If it looks like all baby toys (which we’re not looking for) then we keep driving. In this instance, it is okay to slow down and rubber neck. You don’t want to waste precious yard saling time at a sale that has nothing that interests you.
If you plan on hosting your own yard sale – I have a few tips for you here.
I also enjoy going to estate sales, flea markets and antique fairs. Freecycle.org, local craigslists and local yard sale facebook pages are also great places to find treasures.
I hope these tips were helpful. What are you waiting for? The skies are blue and it is perfect weather to go yard saling!
Image Credits: (yard sale sign), Jillian of Bella Rosa Antiques
(other treasures), Danielle Driscoll, Finding Silver Pennies