Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Why I Find Better Deals At Garage Sales Than You Do

Everyone has experienced the slow drive by... Whether you were hosting a sale and watching someone examine your wares from the road, or you've done it yourself, everyone sizes up a garage sale before they decide to get out of the car. I have certain things that get me excited when I see them from the road and, surprisingly, it doesn't match up with what the majority of people are looking for! I did a survey of a wide variety of people and found out why they aren't finding the same kind of deals that I am! Most people decide the quality of a garage sale very differently than I do!
So what is the difference between you and I?

Honestly, there are two types of garage sales:

1. The one that they have been planning for months. They have been researching their items, renting tables, organizing clothes by size, pricing everything individually, and wiping the dust off the knick knacks. They wake up at 5:00 am to set their wares out in nice, organized sections. They put up bright, creative signs and bought balloons for their mailbox. They have a free bin and bottles of water for $1. These people were PREPARED...

2. The one they threw together at the last minute because they were sick of looking at the junk that has been piling up in their garage for the last 20 years. They decided one Saturday morning that they had had enough of looking at their great-grandma's old junk that has been in their house. So they start lugging it out of their garage around 8:00...and they keep lugging things out all day. They say, "Come back in a few hours and we'll have everything unloaded." The stuff hasn't seen daylight for years and is covered in dust. Nothing gets priced. Signs are messy and there aren't enough of them. Things are rusty and piled up on the ground. They probably were too disinterested to even drag the big things out of the garage. By all accounts...this stuff is JUNK.

The huge difference between these two garage sales is how much these people value their stuff and how willing they are to get rid of it. The first person says, "I've spent hours pricing, organizing, and putting out signs, so I expect to get my money out of the work I've put in. I know how much all of these things are worth, so I won't take any less than my high price!" The second person says," This stuff has got to go today. Half of it belongs to someone who's long gone, and I don't want to look at it anymore. I will practically pay someone to get it out of my garage!" These people are going to have very different items and have very different expectations for price.

But, reading my survey showed that a MAJORITY of people will drive right past the second garage sale. Why? People are simply not willing to look past the dirt and disorganization. Most people look for labels and neat stacks, but fail to realize that they are shopping at the most pricey garage sales! The hosts of the first garage sale usually throw away things as they gather dust, so there won't be anything antique or vintage. Instead, it'll be stacks of decorations from Target that their daughter used for that one semester in college and toys that their toddler only played with for an hour on Christmas morning. If that's what you're looking for...great. You're in the right place.

I want your great-grandmother's antique sewing machine. I want your grandfather's World War I military trunk. I don't care how many layers of dirt I have to scrap off if you're only going to charge me $10. You won't tempt me with your baby toys and piles of James Patterson novels. So when I see piles of rusty junk being unloaded from the back of a trailer, I see dollar signs. When I see dirt and dust, I look beneath it and see antique pieces. When I have to crawl over piles, I know I'm going to come out with valuable trinkets. When I have to sit on the ground to dig through bins, I'm going to find that one 1800's original printing I've been looking for.

When I see junk, I see treasure. 

It's that simple! So next time you see a 1970's ranch home with rusty junk piling out of the garage, stop. Dig. Root around. Get dirty. Leave with amazing, valuable stuff. And be glad you did!

* Obviously, this isn't always true. Sometimes, their junk is just junk. Sometimes their well-organized stuff is cheap and valuable. But in my expert (lol) opinion, I have found the above facts to be generally true! So don't judge a garage sale by its dirt :) But for real, if it smells like smoke or cat pee...just leave.


  1. I've never thought about that. I don't go to garage sales as much as I should but I definitely wouldn't stop at the junky ones. Good call! - Stephanie |

  2. Very interesting. I'd be the person driving past the unorganized mess but now I will rethink it! I'd love to see some of your favorite finds from this kind of sale:)

    1. I have a whole page devoted to some of my finds! Enjoy :)

  3. This is great! I generally find yard sales overwhelming, but thanks for reframing this for me! Pinned!

  4. This is so interesting and I never thought about this before! Definitely going to have to stop at every garage sale now, haha. :) Thanks for sharing!

  5. I love garage sales and I would absolutely be the girl choosing garage sale two as well. I go for the low prices the boxes to dig through. I have 8 kids so we live for garage sales! I love to go the last day when they don't want to box it all back up and are willing to part for a much lower price. Thanks for sharing! Great tips

  6. I grew up attending garage sales and also hosting them with my family.. it's not only a fond memory but I still love searching for 'buried' treasure today! And it's SO true about the two types of garage sale hosts. Thanks for the nostalgia!


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