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Home > Tips and Hints > Finding bargains at garage sales - a buyers guide

Finding bargains at garage sales - a buyers guide
By John Romaine
Thursday, 22 May 2008
Viewed : 15433 time(s)
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About the Author

John Romaine

John is the founder and creator of egaragesales. He takes care of everything, right through from developing the site, to writing articles, assisting members and sitting up til 3am sending out garage sale signs and answering emails. His interests include bodybuilding and e-commerce.

John Romaine has written 59 article(s) for egaragesales.

Practicing these tips at garage sales will help you become a better Bargain Hunter and help you to avoid making bad purchases.


1. Keep your eyes and ears open. To find out where the garage sales are, regularly check online and in your local newspapers. Always check for future clearance sales. Many people are now beginning to advertise on the internet as well as in the classifieds of the local newspaper.

2. Write a list and mark down dates on a calendar. Occasionally multiple households will hold a combined sale and advertise their phone number for you to inquire. This may be an opportunity for you to strike a bargain before anyone else.

Plan out a route for visiting multiple Garage Sales. Write down the addresses of each garage sale and locate each on your street directory and use the information to come up with a logical order to follow once on the road.

Go out early. Most garage sales start early. Be there when they open to find the best selections. You are competing with hundreds of other people for the same thing. Remember the saying - the early bird catches the worm.

Go frequently. If you rarely go to garage sales, you'll rarely find goodies. The more garage sales you attend the higher your chances are of finding something unique and interesting. Each week in op shops, new items arrive and you may never see the same thing twice again. If you are serious about finding good quality bargains you should go often, especially early in the week after people have donated items on the weekend.

Grab it and Keep it. Make sure you thoroughly shopped the garage sale before leaving. If you see an item that you may or may not want, pick it up anyhow and carry it around a bit, then decide. Because if you don't, by the time you decide that you want it, someone else will have bought it and you'll be kicking yourself the rest of the day.

Carry small change. It's good to bring a lot of small notes and change especially if you plan on making small purchases. Don't be afriad to haggle a price down if you feel it's too high. A lot of sellers price things so they can haggle. Buying things as a group or in boxes is a good way to buy and haggle the price. I think it's in very bad taste to haggle a price down from $1 to 50 cents only to whip out a $20 note to pay for it.

Check and Double check. When buying electrically powered items, ask to plug them in before buying. Make sure the item runs, lights up, plays music or otherwise fulfills its basic function. Open up board games and jigsaw puzzles and make sure all pieces are included. When buying something that is battery operated, open the battery compartment to make sure there aren't some old batteries in it that are corroded.

Broken or Incomplete items. Items that are broken are often purchased by people who repair them in their spare time and then resell them on EBay for a profit. You will be able to purchase these for next to nothing and in many cases they will be free because no one thinks they have any value. Incomplete items also sell well. People often break or lose parts and will still have the software, cords, adapters and the rest needed to make them work. They will purchase yours because it is much cheaper than purchasing a complete one.

10. Haggle.
Finally, don't be afraid to make an offer. If you see an item you would like (but is priced too high and the seller won't negotiate), give the seller your name and telephone number and tell them you are interested if it doesn't sell by the end of the day and they are willing to come down on the price.

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