I would like to take this opportunity to share my vast experience with all of you. I have been garage saling for over 40 years. I was doing this long before any of my friends realized what a gold mine was to be had for a paltry few dollars. Today I am going to discuss going to the garage sale, what to expect, what to look for, how to ask for help or a better deal. Soon I will discuss with you how to hold a successful sale yourself.
I get breathless just thinking about the treasures that await me around the next corner.
I look in the paper each Saturday to plan my garage sale excursion for the following weekend. When there are a lot listed for one general area I take a highlighter and mark my path. I also make a big red X through any sales that do not appeal to me. I mean because really a girl must have a plan when it comes to garage saling.
The first thing you have to do even before you read the ads is to figure out what you are looking for. If you can think it, want, dream, wear, read, cook with it, you can bet it can be found at a garage sale. You need to make this decision before the ad reading because it will aid you in making a list of priority sales.
For the sake of this tutorial we are going to minimize what it is I am looking for. Normally I have a long list of things that I am dreaming of taking home with me, but for this I am choosing to need a footstool, hassock, or ottoman. I know they are all the same thing but the ads may call this item by any of those names. So that is the first thing. Know the name that your item may be called. You don't want to miss the perfect sale because you didn't know that a footstool was also called a hassock.
OK, now for the ads. I recommend several different colored highlighters. Depending on how many ads there are I use either 3 or 4 different colors. One color for sales that match your criteria exactly, another for almost a match and another for maybe. Once you have figured out which sales match perfectly plot your travel course. You know your home as of course the start point and work your way out from there. [I wish I had a map to show you what I mean. ] Now you need to number your sales. You need to do this because it will tell you at a glance where you are going next. There isn't any point is worrying about the sales you aren't going to go to so just put them out of your mind. As you are driving to the sales on your color coded list you will most assuredly find sales that were not in the paper. Stop if you want, but keep in mind that the longer it takes you to get to the next one on your list the more likely it is that your perfect item will be already sold when you get there.
At a sale if you are looking at something electric, ask if they will plug it in for you. You want to know if it works. I have yet to be told no.
When you do find the item of your dreams don't be afraid to haggle with the seller. If the seller is having a garage sale with the idea of clearing out and making room for what ever they should be willing to come down in their price. If not well then it is their loss for your not buying it and they may be stuck putting it in the thrift store box.
I always ask if they will take half of their asking price. Sometimes they say no, sometimes they come back with a counter offer. One thing you should decide is what is the MOST you will pay for it. If you will pay full price, ask for a better deal anyway, but if you really want them to come down then be prepared to put the item back.
One time I had a lovely set of bath towels, a couple of pieces of crystal stemware, a picture frame, some clothes, and a mink coat. Yes, a mink coat! It was old, but the pelts were in good shape. Anyway, I asked if they would take $10.00 for all of it. They hemmed and hawed, but them agreed to $12.00. If I had not asked the whole stack would have been closer to $30.00. That's the rule don't be afraid to ask.
Take some refreshments in a cooler with you. It will save you money and time. And put some snacks in the cooler also.You won't have to stop somewhere along the way.
Armed with knowledge of what you are looking for, a good idea of where you are going, the savvy to ask questions, and haggle for your price, you should be ready to have a great time out doing the garage sale circuit.
I wish you good luck on your travels and with your quest for the next great garage sale find.
P.S. When you get to a sale make sure to put the car in park and turn the motor off before exiting the car. It works best this way. One time I was so excited to be at a sale, after I parked the car I just jumped out. My SIL screamed at me to STOP! I had not put the car in park or turned it off. I shudder to think what could have happened. I might have missed out on some real treasure if i had hit another car.