Sunday, December 10, 2023
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Garage Sale Shopping

When I was a kid, my parents dragged me through town in order to admire the junk in our neighbor’s garages. I didn’t understand why–it wasn’t Halloween and I wasn’t even getting any candy (I did, however, get the occasional toy but that’s beside the point).

Garage sale shopping is a strange world to the initiated, but there are also a ton of reasons it’s a great hobby: you save money and you have the pleasure of going on a “treasure hunt” for items you need (or hey, even things you just plain want).

Garage saleing is pretty straightforward, but there are a few key things to keep in mind when embarking on your garage sale journey.

Tips for Shopping at Garage Sales

Plan your route

If you don’t have an efficient route planned, your garage sale trip could turn into one giant time and gas waste-a-thon. Scan craigslist and your local newspaper for garage sales in your area and map a route for the entire day.

Wake up early

Most garage sales start at around 8 or 9 a.m. and close anywhere from early afternoon to 5 p.m. or later.

It’s true what they say: the early bird has the best chance of snagging that antique armoire for a measly $50.

Carry cash

Keep in mind that ole’ Joe and Linda Cooper probably aren’t on par technology-wise with your local boutiques. Leave the credit and debit cards at home and try to carry small bills, like $1’s and $5’s for the small items you might find.

See the potential

A good garage sale shopper sees the potential in otherwise trash-worthy items. Will that old junky table look good as new if you fix the leg? Can you paint, wash, or stain-remove the item? Consider every possibility and you may get a great deal.

Haggle Your Head Off

Not literally. However, most people who have garage sales are happy to negotiate. If you think something is overpriced, ask if they’re willing to settle for less. Be polite and you might get an even better deal than you anticipated!

Stay tuned for the next article in the series, “Having a Garage Sale.”



  1. Garage sales are an Aussie tradition – but we generally open at 6am! :shock: Gernerally by 12pm most things are gone…lol. It is common to get 5am snoopers too, or even a group of people standing out front waiting for you to open shop. These people are usually from 2nd hand stores looking for that antique with a $1 sticker – and they can haggle like crazy too.

    Here in Norway it is expected that all your earnings go to a charity – so most people just donate all their stuff to school market days. ‘Junk sale’ season here is in spring.


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