Finding low cost, high quality items

10 Tips to Getting the Best Yardsale Deals

by Christina Heiska

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Yard sales, garage sales, estate sales, rummage sales, tag sales - Different parts of the country call them different things. Whatever they are called, I love them! If you haven't been to a yardsale lately, it may be time to give them another chance. Yes, there is plenty of junk to be found at yardsales but also there are many high quality items. Why pay $40 or so for Liz Taylor's White Diamonds Perfume when its possible to pay $1 for a brand new bottle of it at a yardsale? As they say, one person's trash is another person's treasure. Or perhaps it's time for you to start cleaning house and holding your first yardsale. Below are my tips for going to yardsales.

  1. Read the classified ads in your local newspaper to find where the yardsales will be. Get a detailed map of your area and plan your route so you don't waste a lot of time and gasoline getting lost.

  2. Where I live, prices are generally better at church or other fundraising type yardsales rather than yardsales at people's houses. But because those types of yardsales mostly have donated items only, the quality sometimes may not be as good as a yardsaling at individual houses. I go to both.

  3. This is probably commonsense, but I've found that the yardsales in better neighborhoods generally have the nicer stuff (but usually higher prices too).

  4. It's good to bring a lot of small bills and change especially if you plan on making small purchases. Don't be afraid to haggle a price down if you feel it is too high. The worst that the seller can say is no. I think it's in very bad taste to haggle a price down from $1.00 to .50 only to whip out a $20 bill to pay for it. Believe me, it happens. If I think the price of an item is fair or if its a fundraising yardsale, I don't bother haggling.

  5. When I am going yardsaling, I wear a fanny pack and don't carry a purse. It saves time when I jump out of my car and rush over to a great find. It also keeps your hands free to look over an item.

  6. I like to arrive early at yardsales. But I don't believe in being an "early bird." An early bird is someone who shows up an hour or more before an advertised yardsale is supposed to begin. I've found that most people giving yardsales are not organized well enough to handle early birds. Other people believe that arriving late at a yardsale is good too, because the seller may be willing to give better deals just to get rid of the leftover items.

  7. When making a purchase, carefully look over an item before you buy it. Most items are sold "as is." If you get home and your purchase doesn't work or is missing a piece, you are probably out of luck. If it's an electrical appliance, ask to plug it in to test it beforehand.
  8. Clear your clutter the fast and easy way with Goodbye Clutter!

  9. Be creative when you browse yardsales, when you look at an item, not only look at it for its primary use, but look at it for its POTENTIAL use. I know a woman who buys all kinds of old broken down leather boots real cheap and uses them as rustic outdoor planters for her hens & chicks plants (and she also re- sells them for profit.)

  10. Be wary of items that may have been recalled by the manufacturer. (I would be particularly leery of baby car seats etc.) It's kind of tricky because it seems that everything imaginable has been recalled for some reason or another. If you are unsure about an item you've purchased, call the Consumer Product Safety Commission at 1-800-638-2772 or visit their website at

  11. Don't be afraid of NOT buying something at a yardsale. If there is nothing I need, I just say "sorry I don't see anything I need", and then I'm off to the next one. Otherwise you'll end up with so much stuff you'll have to have your own yardsale.

Christina can be found almost every Saturday cruising around Maryland looking for good deals at yardsales. She has given 6 yardsales in the past 7 years and gone to countless others. For more information and details on yardsales, visit her webpage at

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