Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What I Learned This Week: How to Shop a Yard Sale

It all started with this post.

In an effort to "spruce up" my front porch entryway, I went on a mission to find some wicker seating.

But, I'm cheap.

So, inspired by the likes of her and her, I started looking for front porch wicker in other places, which eventually led me to a yard sale.

Now, I'd never really been to a yard sale. I always figured it was someone else's junk -- why would I want to buy that? But, turns out that a wicker settee was being advertised as part of a local upcoming sale.

I went. I bought the settee for $15 (which I've since repainted and re-cushioned -- it looks awesome). And my eyes were opened.

You can uncover quite a few "treasures" at yard sales.

I'm in the process of re-doing the shelves in my great room. I needed some decorative accessories, and I've found a handful for literally pennies. It's kind of like a big ol' treasure hunt.

And, it's kind of addictive.

Even though I'm a yard sale neophyte, I have learned a thing or two over the past few weeks that might be helpful for the yard sale beginner.

1. Don't drive around looking for signs. Unless you want to waste a lot of time. The best way to find out about yard sales in your area is to check out the classified section of your local paper and also Craig's list.

2. The early bird gets the worm. The old adage holds true. While it doesn't leave you a lot of room for price negotiation, it does guarantee the best selection.

3. Yard sale shopping is NOT like mall shopping. When you see something at the mall that you're not completely sure you're going to buy, you can walk away and think about it. I learned the hard way that that is not the approach you want to take at a yard sale.
I saw two beautiful decorative wall accessories, but I wasn't sure where I would put them. I walked away to "think about it." And, you guessed it. When I came back five minutes later they were gone. Since then, I've thought of, oh, 50 million places I could have hung those.

If you see an item that you may be interested in, pick it up and hold onto it until you make your final decision.

4. Bring small bills. Particularly if you're into price negotiation (which, honestly, I'm not). But, if you're going to negotiate someone down from $10 to $6, don't go ahead and pay the $6 with a $10 bill. That's just tacky.

I'm sure there are some more experienced yard sale shoppers out there. What are your best tips?

And, to find out what other people have learned this week, be sure to head over to Musings of a Housewife!


Jane said...

Are you going to post pictures of the wicker settee? I would love to see it.

Wendy said...

Oh, how I love a good yard sale! Even the haggling is fun for me. Isn't it amazing what you can find out there?

Sarah said...

Oh how true your last tip is. Tacky to haggle down and then pay with a big bill.

Hillcrest Cottage said...

Cool that you learned about yard sales...live off of the excess of others

Lori said...

These are great tips, especially since I'm not much of a garage-saler. And I'd love to see an "after" pic of the settee too! Take care!

Hairline Fracture said...

I agree with your tips. I only go to garage sales a few times a year, at neighborhood sales, but I've found that you're right not to wait. I can't negotiate either--too embarrassed. I either take it or leave it!

fortyb4forty said...

Good tips. I am having a yard sale in a few weeks and pretty much I just need to get rid of stuff to declutter the house. I think I better avoid shopping yard sales for awhile since I am trying to declutter.

Musings of a Housewife said...

Those are some good tips. Now where is the picture of your front porch? :-)