Can you smell it?
Can you taste it?
Can you feel it?
It's Springtime...yard sales are a-comin'!
Is anyone else as excited as I am? To make sure you get the most out of your yardsaling dollars, I thought I'd repost this "Yardsaling 101" post for you. Hope you enjoy!
On Monday I mentioned that I went yardsaling this weekend. I thought it was about time to show you, step by step, how I like to do it!
A few things to note:
- First of all, I say "yard sale" because it's quicker to type than garage sale. That's it :)
- Secondly, I'm going to call it "yardsaling" because...that's what I want to call it! It's technically not even a word...but that's not stopping me. Plus, one of my bucket-list items is to get a word of mine added to the dictionary, so start using it and spread the love! We will start a "yardsaling" revolution, I'm telling you! Look out dictionary, here I come.
- Everyone has different methods. I'm actually still pretty new to the whole yardsaling thing, so if YOU do it differently, tell me how! Leave a comment on this post or email me at funcheaporfree at gmail.com.
Ok, here goes!
How I go Yardsaling
- The night before (Friday night) I go online to KSL.com (which is our HUGE local classifieds site) and go through the yard sale announcements. (You would use craigslist or your local classifieds ad if you aren't in Utah.)
- I make a mental or physical list of the things I'm looking for, so I know what ads to look for. For me, I was looking for kids clothes, kid toys, lawn equipment, and some specific home decor items.
- Any sale that looks "good", I copy and paste the entire ad (be sure to copy the address too!), in no particular order, onto an email addressed to myself. (You could paste it onto a blank document if preferred, email is just faster for me. Plus, once I send the email to myself I can pull it up on my phone if needed.)
- Every time I copy and paste an add, I also add the address to Google Maps. I add my home address as my starting point (point A) and click "add destination", then add the address of the yard sale. Each time you add an address it assigns it a letter. Point A is home, your next destination is B, then C, and so on.
- After adding all the addresses in random order, I then click and drag the addresses so they are in order from closest to me, to farthest from me. I simply look at all the points on the map and say, "Ok so my starting point is A, and the next closest point to me is L, so I need L to become B." Then I simply drag the "L" address up to where "B" is. It replaces L with B and shifts all the other points accordingly. Google is so genius!
(black lines added to protect privacy)
P.S...this may sound confusing, so you just need to try it to see how it works.
- Once my map is completed (once I have all the addresses in order based on route), I go through my copy/pasted ads and put them in order according to the points on the map. I use Control+F on my Mac keyboard to use "word find" to find the address. It's waaaay faster.
- Then I cut/paste them in order so they line up with the map, like so:
- So now each point on the map coincides with an ad. That way I can see what time the yard sale starts, if I want to skip certain locations once I get going and start running low on time, so I can remember what they are selling, etc. This has been a lifesaver for me!
- The next morning I wake up early and head out! Basically (in Utah, anyway) the only good times to yard sale are between 8-10 (most sales start at 8). Once you hit 10 or 10:30am basically all the good stuff is gone, so it's probably not worth your time. Plus, I don't want to spend my entire day yardsaling (it's tiring and sucks your gas!) so I try to cut myself off early.
- I will say though, one benefit of late shopping is that at 10:30 people are wanting to just get rid of their stuff so you can negotiate WAY better. At the end of the yard sale often times people are willing to literally give things away. But really, I try to be done by about 10 and try to get the good stuff rather than get a good deal on the junky stuff.
8am on a Saturday is early, but hey...I have kids. That's every day for me!
This last weekend was a bit of a bummer; I didn't get much of what I was looking for because I made some mistakes.
Here's what I did wrong:
Here's what I did wrong:
- I didn't wake up early enough. We were up late the night before so I woke up naturally rather than setting an alarm, figuring my kids would wake me up early enough. I don't recommend this. I didn't get out the door until after 8, and my first cluster was 30 minutes away. That was dumb because I wasted the best yardsaling window. Not doing that again. If you're going to go, then get up and GO, and do it RIGHT!
- I drove too far away. I try to find multiple appealing ads that are all in the same area, a "cluster" if you will. There were a TON of ads in my city (Draper) and the city next to mine (Sandy). However, at the last minute I decided to drive to my farthest point first. I did this because the ad said it was a big neighborhood yard sale, 20+ houses. That's normally a gold mine! However, the ad didn't have an exact address, it only listed the city and then directions from the freeway. Turns it out was SO FAR AWAY! It took me like, 45 minutes to get there. Once there the neighborhood sale was much smaller than the ad said, and was a big bust. I wasted all my good yardsaling time driving and didn't get much to show for it. Moral of the story?
- Even if the ad sounds appealing, if it's too far away don't bother unless there are tons of other great-sounding ads really close to it, and you wake up early enough to get there right when the sale starts.
- Look at the home values in the area. Higher = better. In my case there were plenty of other ads in that area, but after going to a few I realized that I didn't take into account the monetary value of the area. It was a middle to lower-income area so all the sales I went to were tiny, overpriced, and didn't have what I needed. If I had stuck with the ads in the higher-value areas up by me it would've been much more valuable to me.
- I believed the ads. In the lower-income area all the ads said, "Big, multi-family yard sale!" however, when I got there the sales were ALL tiny. I'm not sure how to advise you to avoid this problem, except to take into account the area you are going to. Look on a map. If they live in a cul de sac or a structured community, they very well could have multiple families on board. If it's just a street of normal houses, the chances are more unlikely. I wouldn't even bother unless there are lots of other great ads in that same area, and the area is a nice one.
Here are some overall yardsaling tips for you:
- Use Google maps, and zoom into street view to look at the house you are going to. I hate to say it, but if it's a junky, broken-down house, the stuff will probably be junky and broken down. It's nice to see what you're getting into before making the drive.
- Make a list of actual items needed so you can stay on-track. You must have a plan or you'll just come home with unnecessary things!
- Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate! If it comes down to a dollar or two, I will usually suck it up...but I'm working on not doing that! Every dollar counts, especially in yardsaling. $1 could buy you an entire children's picnic table, so value your dollar! Aim for about 40% less. If it says $10, offer $6. If it says $20, offer $12. You'll be surprised at what they will sell their stuff for. And if they don't accept your offer, they will almost ALWAYS come back with a counter offer that is less than their original price. RARELY do people hold fast to their price. Yard sales for people to get rid of their stuff, and hopefully make a buck while doing it. Most people would rather take something than nothing!
- Ignore outliers. If there is an awesome-sounding ad that is way far away, or is in an area with no other good ads, ignore it. Don't make my mistake.
- Don't believe the ads! Keep in mind that ads always sound better than they are. If they say "massive, huge, multi-family yard sale!" expect that it's probably a yard sale with a few items donated by a sister-in-law or something. They are almost NEVER as "huge" as they claim to be, unless it's a well organized neighborhood yard sale. Keep this in mind and don't get emotionally invested in a sale before you go.
- Look for potential. Don't get too nitpicky about an item being dusty, dirty, or chipped. If it's a solid item with good "bones", then take it home! Sand it, make a slip cover for it, paint it, wash it, wipe it down, polish it, refinish it, fix it, get creative and do whatever you need to do to make it shine again.
- Don't be afraid to buy for the future. If you see new-looking, great-priced 12 month baby clothes and your baby is only 4 months old, for heaven's sake...buy the clothes! Throw them in a box and stick it in a closet or under your bed. Buying off-season or buying for the future is a great way to save your family money! However...
- If you don't need it, don't buy it. Even if it's $1, if you don't have an actual need in mind, it's a wasted dollar.
- Out with the old, in with the new. As you buy new-to-you things, go through your old stuff and clear it out. Donate it or hold a yard sale of your own. No need for clutter!
- Just because it's used doesn't always make it a good price. Learn your prices! I keep a price notebook handy at all times. When I learn what a good price is for something, I write it down in my notebook. This works especially well for groceries. That way you really learn what things cost, and know a good price when you see it. I don't often buy baby clothes from thrift stores. Why? Because a baby dress can be $4, but I often times get them for as low as $0.99 brand new on clearance. If it's not a good deal, don't buy it.
So there you go! That's how I do it. Now get out there and do some shopping!
Check out my thrift store shopping tips HERE.
Check out our "Garage Sales 101" guest post from a while back HERE for more tips.
See even more tips HERE.