Saturday, April 14, 2012
How to Yard Sale Like a Pro #1: Go, and Go Often!
I start to get a bit giddy this time of year as I anxiously anticipate the arrival of Yard Sale Season. I'm sure it's probably begun already in some areas, and things are just getting rolling here in my area. I know many of my longtime readers look forward to my weekly Yard Sale Reports on Saturdays throughout this time of year that holds a special place in the hearts of all frugalistas :)
I'm going to be trying something a little bit different this year just to shake things up a little. While I'll still be sharing all my yard sale finds, I will also be doing a series featuring my best tips and tricks on how to get the most out of yard sale shopping. I will be running these articles throughout the season, on weeks I come up empty-handed on my yard saling adventures. So, you should get a good yard sale fix nearly every Saturday until the end of the season; either through the documentation of my most recently procured treasures or some ideas on how to get the most out of your own excursions. Of course, those of you who are seasoned yard sale shoppers are welcome to jump in and add your own tips, too!
I've had a lot of people express amazement over the items I find at yard sales. They often say things to me like "I've gone to a few sales here or there, but they were all selling total junk." The key here is that they have only gone to a few sales. To be really successful at yard sale shopping, volume is crucial. On a typical Saturday during the yard sale season (late spring to early fall around here) I go to at least half a dozen sales, and on the busiest weeks I might hit a dozen or more. That means I hit well over a hundred sales each season (and some years it's probably been closer to 200).
You might be wondering if it's really worth it, if you have to go that often to find the good stuff. I definitely think it is - other than curbside finds and Freecycle, yard sales are just about the cheapest source of goods you're going to find. And when you go often, you find the GOOD stuff for really cheap - like all the items I used to pull together our front entranceway makeover or a great patio set. I usually don't spend more than a couple hours on most Saturdays on my yard sale rounds (and remember, I'm going by bike, too!). I do have an advantage in that I live in a very population-dense urban area, so I only have to travel a few kilometers each week to get to the sales I'm interested in. Also, I'm one of those people who really enjoys the "thrill of the hunt", so even on weeks I come home empty-handed, I've still had a good time!
Fellow yard sale shoppers: how often do YOU go to find the good stuff?