Tips for Shopping at Garage Sales


One of my favorite things to do in the whole world is to go to yard sales. I actually feel the presence of God, so much so that it gives me chills – good chills. I always pray before going, committing to God my needs or wants. I asked for a boy jacket with a hood, with a zipper that worked, that was warm enough for snow, in size 8. Lo and behold, the only jacket at the yard sale fit my description exactly. This has happened so many times, and it never ceases to amaze me how God provides for me primarily through this method. I have found so many homeschooling supplies, costumes, toys that look new, craft supplies, and many other bigger items. Sometimes the very thing I wanted to buy for my child for his birthday, I find brand new at a yard sale. Like the time I found a $35 set of magic tricks still in its original plastic for $1. It just makes me want to cry for joy. It’s better than Disneyland because God is with me. Chills, I tell you. There is no other way to explain it.

Tips for Shopping at Garage Sales

  1. The number one thing to remember is to pray. Don’t skip this. This is my best secret.
  2. Go early in the morning. Between 8 and 10 am the best stuff is out. After about 12 noon, it’s not worth going because everything has been picked over, and there’s usually nothing good left.
  3. Church rummage sales (for large churches that have a variety of ages attending) or school yard sales are usually better because the owner is not pricing it. Also, because people are donating to a good cause, like missions or new gym equipment for the school, people sometimes part with nicer stuff. Prices are usually way lower. Also, you can go through more stuff in a shorter amount of time. It’s like going to eight yard sales at once. It’s time efficient.
  4. Drive to a part of town that has richer people. Rich-people yard sales have nicer stuff than ordinary-people yard sales. Name brand clothing for children that has hardly been used has been found by me at such yard sales.
  5. Don’t be afraid to give a lower offer, especially if you are buying multiple items. If I have a huge pile of stuff that added up to $12.75, I might ask to pay $10 and smile sweetly. (Smiling sweetly helps, especially if the person receiving the money is a man.) Also, on one big item, you can usually knock off $5 without hurting anybody’s feelings. Sometimes you can knock off even more. One time I prayed for a slide projector for $20. When I saw a gorgeous slide projector that same day for $30, I kindly asked whether she would take $20. She said yes.

These are just the top five tips that make the greatest difference when yard saling. I sometimes go out with only a bag of coins and nothing else. Don’t buy anything unless it’s perfect for your family. Don’t buy stuff just because it’s cheap. I know people who have lots of yard sale items they bought that they never use, that just clutter up their house. If you set yourself the rule, “Buy absolutely nothing unless it fits perfectly what I need or want,” you are less likely to have a pile of useless stuff. My mother is always amazed when she comes over to my house a few days after yard saling with me, and I’m using everything.

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2 Responses to “Tips for Shopping at Garage Sales”

  1. That’s great! I gave up on garage sales and thrift stores, years ago, when it was too hard to take my littles out shopping with me.

    • Susan says:

      I feel that way about grocery shopping, but not about yard sales. The kids have usually been fine when they are outside in the sunshine.

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