I started going to yard sales many years ago, before Hurricane Hugo blew through South Carolina. For years afterwards, very few people had yard sales because many families lost everything or had extensive water and wind damage to attics and other areas used to store no-longer-needed items.
My family lost all our possessions (and our renter’s insurance wouldn’t pay for anything!) and the experience made me realize that the important things in life are definitely not material items. However, since I was a stay-at-home mom at the time, when the yard sales began reappearing, it was an ideal way to buy clothes and toys for my young son and to replace some of the clothes and household furnishings we’d lost — at a very affordable price.
Going to yard sales is the ultimate treasure hunt. You never know what goodies you’ll find til you get up on Saturday mornings and take a look at other people’s no-longer-wanted items!
It’s worth getting up early for the thrill of the hunt and the opportunity to score great bargains at low prices (often 10 percent of the value of the item, or less).
In my experience, people who hold yard sales/garage sales are generally nice, friendly folks. So you can have some pleasant conversations while shopping, especially if you can tell they have the same hobbies or interests you do and you start a conversation about it.
Sometimes the same group of people go to yard sales in the area every week, and they’re also nice, friendly individuals who’ll share tips about where the day’s best yard sales are located. I was looking for an old-fashioned push mower once at someone’s yard sale and started talking about them to another shopper; he said he had an extra one and would be glad to give it to me at no cost! Although I was a little afraid he’d turn out to be a serial killer, I got his address, took someone with me and picked it up at his house. (His wife was there and it turned out there were just a mild-mannered, older couple.)
You can get the inside scoop and learn a lot about people’s lives from what they’re selling. For example, they may have books about their career field, their religion, about raising difficult children or coping with divorce. You may discover that a woman once sold scrapbooking products for a side job but has given it up and is releasing her remaining stock (always good news for a scrapbooker like me).
In addition to being fun — and a very inexpensive way to buy useful items — yard sales are the ultimate means of recycling. One person uses something, sells it to another who uses it, and they, in turn, sell it to someone else.
If you’ve never gone to a yard sale, give it a try. It can be addictive! (And if you buy some things that turn out to be mistakes, no problem; you can always hold your own yard sale and pass them along to other people who can use them, making a few bucks at the same time.)
I’ve saved thousands of dollars on items bought at yard sales over the years – and many purchases are some of my favorite possessions. See the blog post about the 20 best bargains of my life — and other great deals I’ve gotten from thrift stores, too.
And feel free to leave a comment describing the best yard sale bargains you’ve ever gotten; we all love a story about a good bargain!
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