Garage Sale Buying Tips

Last month we devoted a column to garage sale and yard sale tips for sellers. This time, the (slightly used) shoe is on the other foot. As the weather warms up, you can expect to see plenty of families and organizations looking for opportunities recycle some of their possessions and convert them into cash. You can find plenty of bargains at garage sales, especially if you use tried and true methods. Here are a few.

Plan ahead by taking advantage of online information and yard sale – garage sale websites. Take time in advance to plot your trip. You’ll be much more efficient by routing your stops in a logical geographic path and focusing on the sales that look most promising. Give specific thought to the types of items you’re looking for. Resist the temptation to buy something just because it’s priced low. There’s a very good chance that this type of bargain will eventually become your clutter. Instead know what you’re looking for in advance.

If you’re thinking about purchasing large items, bring along a measuring tape to be sure it’ll fit in your space. Pack screwdrivers and pliers, in case you need to disassemble something to fit in your vehicle. Also, remember the primary ground rule of garage sales. Go early if you want selection; go late if you want bargains. Particularly in the case of non-profits, churches or neighborhood sales, your chances of getting a great value increase dramatically near the end of the day, when the motivation to unload as much merchandise as possible is greatest. Finally, if you’re pressed for time, concentrate your efforts on sales where items are organized and priced. You’re more likely to find what you need quickly and be in position to purchase from an experienced seller.