Adventures in Garage Saling

$76 dollars spent...on 78 items! Less than $1 per clothing item...can't find those kind of prices in a retail store!

Garage sale shopping is the only kind of  shopping I can sometimes enjoy.  But not always!  Garage sales are a very hit and miss sort of thing.  Find one where the prices are cheap and the clothes are plentiful and organized, and life is good.  It makes all the stops at over-priced, under-organized sales worthwhile.  I’ve also noticed over the years that some towns are much better than others.  In my neck of the woods, it seems that the smaller the town and the further away from a bigger town, the better the sales.

I was not a garage sale person before I had kids.  Knowing what I know now, though, I wish I had been!  I could have saved a lot of money on baby gear!!  The year after Russell was born was a really tough one financially on the farm, in other words, we were POOR!  I used cloth diapers and home made baby food to save money.  I decided I needed to check out garage sales.

Now, it’s not like I had anything against garage saling, it was really more of a personal issue I had with going through other people’s stuff.  I just felt weird going through people’s things and was afraid of offending them by not buying.  And I’ll admit, the first few times I went garage saling I was soooo timid about it.  Only half-looking at items, and buying just a few things.  And if the seller tried to talk to me, I was out of there!  But they couldn’t ignore me either, because that’s just rude!  I was way too self conscious about it.

As time went by, I started getting into it and combing the papers for city-wide listings.  I’d load up the stroller and get a lot of exercise and deals  in the surrounding towns.  I’ve learned that garage saling is all about the hunt and I’ve met some really nice people.  I’ve learned which ones to watch for and which ones are not worth it, and it’s not always the ones you would think.  And, most of all, I have saved a ton of money!

It just makes sense for my family to shop at garage sales.  The kids get like-new, name brand clothes for a fraction of new cost.  I’ve even found a few things for me and Justin.  I’d say the kids wear about 75% garage sale clothes.  And most of Justin’s chore clothes are garage sale finds.  Not to mention baby gear, furniture, and toys.  Here are a few of my more memorable deals:

Nordic Track Double Jogging Stroller for $40.00

Graco High Chair $15.00

Exersaucer $10.00

Toy kitchen & accessories FIVE DOLLARS!!

Reclining Loveseat and Matching Couch for $250

Another thing I have gained is a personal philosophy if I were to have a garage sale of my own:

Number 1,  I would be doing it to get rid of junk, not to make money. There has been a lot of times I’ve been to sales towards their end and they still have A TON of stuff out, I can’t help but feel sorry for them going to all the work of putting the stuff out and then having to pack it back up again.  There is no way I would go to the time and effort of pricing each individual item.  A flat price per clothing item for sure.

Number 2, if it didn’t sell, it would go to Goodwill. Not gonna pack it back into to the house.  No way!  If I can get people to take stuff I’m no longer using off my hands, and know they are going to put it to good use, that’s all I need. If there’s a little spending money that comes out of the process, that’s just an added benefit!  I love shopping at sales with this philosophy.

And Number 3, be organized! There is nothing more frustrating than digging though piles of clothes that are not organized by size, I do not spend much time at sales like this.  They don’t have to be laid out really fancy or anything, just make sure all the 2T clothes are in one pile with no other sizes mixed in!!

So, readers, what are your tips and tricks for garage sale shopping or selling??



6 responses to this post.

  1. I too think garage sales are the best thing since sliced bread for baby clothes and household items. In college we lived on garage sales to furnish our “summer houses” and my first apartment after getting my first teaching job.
    Garage sales are the best place to get baby/toddler clothes because they grow out of them so fast!
    Great post, great advice, and awesome finds!

  2. Posted by Laura on September 28, 2010 at 3:22 am

    I like your garage sale philosophy. One other useful tip is to put the sex and size of clothes in the add for the sale. That way the shoppers can save time by going to sales for clothes they can use. I like garage sales but hate to waste time on sales that have nothing I can use.

  3. Posted by Kelly Loontjer on September 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I read your first post and I don’t think I’ve been back since – not because I’m not interested, but because working full time with three kids three (and a half) and under is busy!!! I started reading today to find out what a hoop barn was from a post I saw on Facebook and I couldn’t stop reading! Your’e posts are entertaining, insightful and so much fun to read. I’ll be back often; great job!

    You’re suburban city dwelling family in Omaha, Nebraska 🙂

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