Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garage Sale Tips and Tricks

It’s no secret that I LOVE to garage sale!  I thought it might be fun to share how I garage sale.


First of all, I plan ahead.  During the spring and summer I plan on garage saling every week.  I make this big commitment because it is such a blessing to my family.   I buy all the clothes I can for the following year.  I also buy as many school supplies, gifts and regular household supplies as I can.  Planning ahead for me includes a number of things.  One thing I like to do is make a list.  A list of things that I’m looking for.  I am easily distracted and a list keeps me on track and keeps me from forgetting what I’m looking for or from buying stuff I don’t really need or want.  Another way I plan is by looking for sales ahead of time.  I don’t do this nearly as efficiently as I could, part of the fun for me is not knowing what’s out there and then finding the treasures.  But sometimes I like to see what’s going on ahead of time.  In my state people advertise their garage sales on Craig’s List.  This is great place to check on sales and what’s being sold in your area.  Then if you have a question, you can email them too.  Of course if you subscribe to the paper, garage sales are usually listed in there too, just don’t forget about Craig’s List as a free option.

On the actual day I go garage saling, we pack snacks and water, DVD’s and the little DVD player.  I make all 7 of my children come with me.  I get the older teens to come by letting them drive!  The younger ones like to come but I don’t let them out of the truck much, that’s why we bring the DVD stuff.  I have one teen who HATES garage saling, but he doesn’t mind coming along and reading in the car while the other two teens and I jump out at the sales.  The teen that stays in the car, also keeps the little ones safe and sound. 

Now here’s the real tip you’ve been waiting for…being sneaky.  Garage sales are a great place to find gifts.  Without apology, I give gifts that I’ve hardly spent any money on.  So many times we can find brand new things at garage sales for pennies on the dollar.  I don’t have to tell anyone that it came from a garage sale, unless it might free them up to do the same, give gifts from garage sales that is.  Now what about when I have the people with me that I want to buy the gifts for?  There’s a few things I do.  For one, having them wait in the car is one way to get around them seeing what I’m buying, but still they sometime see, especially when I’m loading up the trunk. 

  • Bring big totes and keep them in the back of your car to hide gifts in.
  • Ask the seller to help you be sneaky.  They can hide the item under the table or bag it up while you are still looking around.  If you mention you are trying to save it as a surprise, they will usually go out of their way to help you be sneaky.
  • Get your children distracted with the free box or the box of little quarter toys while you look around.  If you find something gift worthy, snatch it quick and take it to the check out, telling them it’s a surprise and asking them to be sneaky.
  • If it’s a big item like a plastic slide, come back and get it when your hubby is home.  We did this with a rocking horse once, it was a steal at $5.00 and worth the second trip. 
  • If it’s a big item like a Littlest Pet Shop play set and your child does see it.  Tell them, no…then take the price sticker off, sneaky like (so somebody else doesn’t by it) and take that sticker up to the check out and tell her your intentions.  Then stick your kids in the car, and run up there with your tote and have her stick it in there.  Just tell your children you forgot something.  Which is totally true!  lol 
  • If you can’t avoid your children seeing the treasure, just tell them they can’t play with it yet, you are saving it.  When you get home hide it.  If they ask, just keep telling them that you are saving it.  It doesn’t matter what for, you are the MOM!  They will forget about it eventually, I promise.  Then when the holiday comes around they will be so surprised and happy and so will you because you saved so much money!

These are all my sneaky tips and do use them often.  Smile

When I get home from garage saling, all the stuff can be a little overwhelming.  I try to deal with it right away.  After I take pictures of my treasures for my Garage Sale Treasures post, I get all the clothes down to the laundry room to be sorted and washed, soft toys get washed too.  Any kitchen goods go next to the sink to be washed and everything else gets put away. 

Bringing home loads of stuff each week also motivates me to clean stuff out each week.  As stuff comes in, stuff goes out.  Currently I have an amazing pile of stuff to give to a thrift store charity that gives all the proceeds to an orphanage in Honduras:  cloths, toys, games, books, household items.  The same kind of stuff I just bought at a garage sale. It’s an exchange--the stuff I don’t need for the stuff I do need, and needs are always changing so my stuff does too!

Please share your tips!  We garage sale people need to encourage each other!


Mrs. Taffy


  1. So that's how you do it! I have wondered! sneaky!

  2. I think you have mentioned this before...
    1. I say a little prayer.
    2. I always make sure to head out early. I try not to stop at a sale before the time on the ad (which annoys most of the people who are hosting the sale), but if it's a "drive by" and they "look open" and it's still pretty early, I will ask a friendly "Are you ready?"
    3. It's a hard rule, but I try to follow it, I stop and look at every sale. I've found some of my best items at sales that don't look hopeful.
    4. Be thankful for what you have found. :)

  3. I love that you save stuff for gifts, I have done that for years though a bit hard seeing that i always have littles with me and now the oldest are 10 and 8 they dont forget or not see anything lol so now i carry a non see through bag with me and also this year we are starting the tradition where santa only brings one gift per child since there are so many in the world lol and the rest are from parents and siblings so they dont have to say santa shops at the same garage sells as we do lol gotta love them.-norma

  4. I will be taking a tote! I need to do a post of my tips, I was holding out for a weekend I couldnt go yard sailing, but maybe I'll do it sooner then later. You have great tips! Thanks for sharing!!

  5. Thanks for sharing your tips Chantelle! Love them! I especially need to remember the one about stopping at every garage sale...I pass by a lot of them, who knows what I've missed out on! The stroller I got came from a sale like that!

  6. Too funny! I am a hard core yard saler, too. I have a route. And the only exception to my route is if there is a rummage or church sale that is not on my route. I leave my house at 7 (or 6:45 when the sun i the brightest) and am usually home by 9:30.

    One thing i do - and it is hard- i force myself to offer less at each sale (unless their prices are crazy low!). Either on a particular item or once we have totalled up, I just round down to the dollar amount and offer that.

    I also save my change and dollar bills all week to use at sales and ask for half dollars at the bank to pay with stuff at yards sales- both kids and adults like getting those.


Your comments make me happy! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!!