This year my sister, cousin and I had the opportunity to go; and I learned several lessons about how to make the most of our yard sale experience.
At first glance, I'm sure this seems like nothing to do with crafting; but I love searching garage and yard sales for items to alter and upcycle. My greatest crafting find this year is a humongous bolt of twill-like ribbon that has hundreds of yards of ribbon!
So without further ado:
Rules for Garage Sales
- The bigger the vehicle the better - especially when attempting to travel away from home where you don't have the option to unload daily...or hourly.
- Be selective about your garage sale friends - never garage sale with someone the same size as you, with children the same ages as yours or with similar interests. If this is not possible, see #3.
- If you have to take turns driving, always volunteer to drive the long stretches. Doing so will mean someone else has to drive when you hit a patch of sales which makes #4 possible.
- When you spot an especially good sale, be ready to bolt. The driver is always the last one out of the vehicle due to having to put it in park, unbuckle, remove the keys, etc... Being the first one out of the vehicle means being the first one to the bargins! Also, see #2.
- While it's good to check seams and zippers, exercise extreme caution when blindly sticking your hand in pockets...especially diaper bag pockets. Don't ask - you don't want to know.
- Travel with hand sanitizer - see #5.
- If you see something you think you might have any interest in at all, grab it. You can always put it back later.
- If you waited too long to grab something and decide you now want it but someone else is looking at it, plant yourself uncomfortably close to that person and just keep looking at the item. Chances are they'll put it down and move away quickly. (Please note, this doesn't work as well when that person is one of the people you're garage sale-ing with.)
- While it's important to stay hydrated, drink as little as possible. Frequent bathroom breaks mean less time hitting the sales.
- Remember sunscreen! If you forget, you'll most likely have an unpleasant reminder later...and then you'll wish for the next several days you had remembered in the first place.
- If you're looking at DVDs or CDs, always check the case! Even though you're getting a deal, it's not such a good deal if you discover later that the item you thought you bought is missing from the case.
- Dress for comfort - garage sale days are not the time to show off your fashion sense.
- Ignoring #12 makes it more difficult to dicker. I don't know why...it just does.
- It's ok to drive by a sale without stopping - especially if you're far from home. Yes, it annoys the people running the sale (especially when they really do have good items for sale), but you need to be selective to get the most out of your garage sale time.
- If you're hitting the sales with a person who repeatedly asks to stop at sales that turn out to be duds, it's perfectly fine to start ignoring that person's requests.
SheThat person won't know what she'sthey are missing if you just keep on driving.
- You need to develop a thick skin when going to garage sales with friends. Especially if you are the dud-picker :)
- If you're not sure you want/need an item, offer less. Better yet, ask if the seller will take less for the item. Chances are they will take less than what you were going to offer; and if they don't, you've just saved yourself valuable space in the vehicle!
- If you offer less for an item and your offer is rejected but you still can't decide if you should buy the item, buy it! There's nothing worse than getting 20 miles away and realizing you wanted the item after all. Except maybe convincing the driver to turn around, go back to the sale and watching someone else get into their vehicle with "your" item.
- If you get to a sale and nothing has prices, leave. If you have to ask the price, it's probably too high. On the other hand, if you do happen to ask the price of an item and it is reasonable, it's okay to stay. Feel free to ask the price on absolutely everything you see that seems even remotely interesting to you. This serves 2 purposes - you can find some really good buys, and it may just encourage the seller to mark their items for the next sale.
- Finally, if you're garage sale-ing with children (especially cute children) and an item you're interested in is not marked with a price, have the child ask how much it is. With an adorable smile. I guarantee that the child will get a better price than an adult. Exercise caution, however, when using this technique. The seller usually catches on after 2-3 items.