Tips for Garage and Yard Sale Shopping

We're finally experiencing real summer weather here in Chicago, and garage sale season is in full swing. If you're a bargain hunter, garage and yard sales are a great way to spend a Saturday, particularly if you plan ahead...

    HOW TO PLAN
  • Check craigslist for garage sale dates/times/addresses and map out your path.
  • If you don't own a car, borrow one or book an I-Go or Zip car to haul large purchases.
  • Go early. The best deals are usually gone an hour into the sale.
  • Start the day understanding that many sales won't have anything you want. To increase your odds of finding treasure, plan to visit as many sales as you can manage.

    WHAT TO BRING
  • Bring a list of what you need: furniture, tools, etc. If it's not on the list, you probably don't need to buy it.
  • Include the measurements of furniture you're looking for and carry a tape measure with you.
  • Carry a Phillips head and flat head (or combo) screwdriver in case you need to take apart a piece of furniture to fit it into your car.
  • Bring along a stack of dollar bills, as well as a few larger bills for bigger purchases.

    HOW TO BARGAIN
  • Most people are willing to negotiate the cost of items. Be polite and tell them what you're willing to spend. They may offer a lower price, or they may not.
  • To learn the "going rate" for items, compare prices at various yard sales. This will give you more confidence when negotiating.
  • If you don't see what you're looking for, ask the homeowner. They may have something stored in the basement that they're willing to sell.

Do you have tips for garage sale shopping? Let us know in the comments below.

(Photo: Flickr member D'arcy Norman licensed via Creative Commons)

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