First, yes, I’m still sick(ish) but garage sales only come once a week, and only for a few months of the year- so I drank myself some electrolytes, grabbed my cash stash, and made away without any kids. It was a good day. Again, wishing I had a camera- scratch that, I’m going to take a picture with my phone and email it to myself- just a sec…
Tah-Dah! Oh, isn’t technology marvelous!? What pieces of minutiae might we know of our ancestors if only… ah, well, it’s probably better. This way I can only dream of the horrors of giving birth in a Conestoga or washing diapers in a river in Wyoming.
Anyway, here is Abby, modelling with the wares of the day. I know it’s grainy- but come now, it’s a picture!~ I’m afraid what you can’t see is the table and stool all the stuff is piled upon. So underneath the hankies and dresser linens is a spool table and a vintage fold-out-step stool. Also, a tiger-oak singer sewing machine cover.
So the haul for the day:
- A basket of vintage handkerchiefs, seen to the right in the photo, more than 30 of them- $2
- Vintage fold out stool- $3
- Antique Singer sewing machine cover, tiger oak veneer- $2
- Spool table- $5
- Bag of wooden spools, about 50, with thread intact- $2
- gloves, 2 pair- $1
- Assorted notions in 4 plastic bags, including ric-rac and pom-pom trim, all vintage- 25 cents a bag- $1
- The faux-pearl tie (yes, tie!) Abby is modelling- 50 cents
- Various knitting needles, including two sets of DP needles- 10 cents each-$1.20
- Two antique photographs- 50 cents
- Embroidered dresser scarves, 3 different ones, $1.50
Total spent: $19.70
For me, that’s a lot. I wouldn’t usually buy furniture, and my $5 table and $3 stool really put a dent in my budget for next week- but they really are super cool, and I couldn’t pass them up.
Many of you have asked me how I do this. I dunno. But as I bounced around the neighborhood today, I tried to keep track of what I was doing. and here are a few of my thoughts:
- Carry cash. Have small bills and change with you- it makes bargaining easier, and is nicer to the people holding the sale.
- Learn your neighborhoods. Some neighborhoods are great, some I avoid. Generally, the older, less fancy neighborhoods have the better sales- but not always. Newer developments will typically have newer things, like candles and press-board furniture, kitchen appliances, and what-not. Older neighborhoods are usually where I find things I like, like linens, sewing notions, and vintage pieces. It’s not rocket science why.
- Be willing to dig. Some of the greatest stuff is in boxes.
- Be willing to walk away. If people are trying to get rich, telling me what they paid for it new, I’m not interested. It’s a garage sale. If I cared what it’s sold for at Target, I would be at Target. Most people are not like this, but I don’t even bother when they are.
- If people are asking fair prices, I do not bargain with them. I give what they are asking and thank them. If they are a little high, I might ask for a deal- as in the bag of spools- it was marked $5, but it was later in the afternoon, and I only had $2 in my wallet. I asked the guy, he said sure. Score. I would not have pouted if he had declined.
- Know your area. When I lived in California, sales were always Sat-Sun, but here in Washington, sales are almost exclusively Fri-Sat, with almost nothing on Sunday. I don’t think it’s anything to do with my church, since we are a minority around these parts, but I like it anyway. So for the best pickings, I go out Friday morning. For the best deals, I go out later on Saturday. By Saturday afternoon, many people are ready to be done, and are very willing to deal and dicker on their stuff.
- I almost never make a list, but some folks have success with Craigslist, where you can get links to current yard sales. I know my neighborhoods, and with very few exceptions, usually just rely on road-signs.
That’s about it. I wish you luck and have a good time!