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Tips on how to score great finds at yard sales

To benefit the most from yard sale shopping, you need to have some know-how and strategies up your sleeve. We’ll teach you how to shop yard sales like a pro.

Yard Sale

With warm weather comes yard sales. They can be a fantastic way to score some great deals, but to get those bargains, you have to be prepared. Here are some tips on how to plan your shopping. Follow them, and you’ll soon be that girl with the covet-worthy collection of finds everyone marvels over.

Make a rough itinerary

Check signs in the neighbourhood, local newspapers and sites such as Craigslist and Kijiji for yard sales, and make a list of the ones you want to hit up. Group them based on a route that makes sense so you’re not backtracking and wasting time and energy. Plan to start your day when the sales begin or even earlier — hardcore yard sale shoppers show up well in advance of the start of the sale so they can get first dibs, and that’s what you need to do as well.

Carry cash on you

Be sure to pick up cash (ideally in a mix of bills) so it’s easy to pay the exact price for the item you want. The seller might not have a lot of change, so this will save you both time. Mind you, sometimes if the seller doesn’t have change, you could use that as a tactic to get them to sell the item to you at a lower price (“I only have a $5-bill. Will you take $5 for this?”).

Make a wish list

So you don’t end up with a bunch of items you’ve bought on a whim (which’ll just clutter up your home and leave you needing to hold your own yard sale), make a shopping list of the items you hope to find. There’s nothing wrong with buying something spontaneously, but be critical; if you’re only buying it because it costs a quarter but don’t really need it, skip it.

If you plan to buy furniture, bring measurements

Keep a tape measure in your handbag as well as notes in your cell phone or a notebook with the measurements of the room you’re looking to fill. This way you’ll know if that fantastic loveseat you spot at a sale will work or not in your living room. It’s also helpful to have a plan B for getting a large item home if it won’t fit in your car; keep the number of a local moving guy handy — or that friend who has a minivan on speed dial.

Bring snacks and water with you

You may be so excited to get to the sales that you run out the door without eating breakfast. Before you know it, all that shopping will tucker you out. Bring snacks and water with you so you are well fuelled for a potentially long day of standing and walking in the sunshine.

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