Spring is around the corner and soon the yard sale signs will start blooming. You can find some great bargains but some things should be avoided. Follow a few simple yard sale rules and you’ll save money and find some wonderful items.
Rule 1 – Never buy anything at a yard sale you’re not entirely sure you need or will actually use. Yard sales are held because people are trying to get rid of things that they don’t want. Don’t fall into the trap of buying things simply because the price is so low you can’t resist.
Rule 2 – Never buy these items at a yard sale:
- Mattresses are a bad buy because you may be getting more than you pay for when you bring a yard sale mattress home. Bed bugs have become a real problem recently and many people would rather just sell an infested mattress than go through the trouble of cleaning it.
- Cribs are another item it’s best to avoid buying at a yard sale. The crib could be missing critical hardware that makes it unsafe. It may have been recalled and the owners didn’t take the necessary steps to ensure it is safe. If it’s an older crib the bars may be too far apart or the slats may not safely hold the mattress. With your baby’s safety at risk yard sale cribs aren’t a bargain.
- Car seats are a bad buy for the same reason cribs shouldn’t be bought at a yard sale. There is too great a safety risk. Even a low speed accident could compromise the safety of a car seat and damage may not be visible. Both cribs and car seats should be purchased from a reputable store.
- Painted toys are great for collectors but not for kids. Some old painted toys are painted with lead based paints. The same goes for foreign made painted toys. While old toys can be a bargain don’t purchase painted toys. And with the non-painted toys be sure they work, don’t have parts that can choke a child, and that there are no jagged edges or other safety hazards.
- Electronics are expensive purchased retail but yard sale televisions, computers, and DVD or Blue Ray players aren’t always a bargain at yard sales. Even if you’re allowed to test them by turning them on there may be issues that only appear when the device has been on for several minutes.
Rule 3 – Consider buying these items but only if they meet the Rule 1 criteria.
- Clothing can be a great buy. I’ve found brand name clothing, some with the tags still attached, for pennies on the dollar. Baby clothes and kids clothes are usually a steal. Just be aware that with these items you may have to deal with or simply accept some stains. Don’t buy clothing for anyone who is done growing in a size that can’t be worn right then. Spending money because you hope to gain or lose weight can turn out to be a waste.
- Kitchen Items can be expensive at a retail store. Look for the things you want at yard sales. You can often pick up serving bowls and sets of glasses for a dollar or two. Small appliances are also a good buy if you can test them to ensure they are in working order. Sometimes people buy gadgets they never use and are more than happy to get rid of for a really low price just to make room in their drawers and cupboards.
- Decorative things like vases, Christmas decorations, and paintings at yard sale prices make it possible to change your décor seasonally. I found a set of three marble top plant stands at a yard sale for $7.00.
- Craft supplies, often unopened, are common yard sale items. I like to have craft supplies around for my grandkids’ visit each summer.
- Furniture is something that I search for at yard sales. I’ve purchased chests of drawers and simply painted them to match the rest of the room’s furniture. Upholstered furniture is a little trickier. You want to ensure that the furniture looks clean and well-cared for and you may have to compromise on style. But with two dogs who think the sofa is just another dog bed I’m always on the lookout for good furniture at yard sales.
When you’re going to hit the yard sales be sure to carry cash mostly in $1 and $5 bills and have plenty of change, too. You may be able to combine purchases for a better price if you can offer the seller exact change. Many sellers find themselves running out of small bills and change so your offer may save them a run to the bank.
Dress comfortably. Going to yard sales means you’ll be in and out of the car frequently and doing plenty of walking at the sales. Restrictive clothing or shoes that make your feet hurt will ruin the fun.
Be ready to dicker. Most people having a yard sale are willing to negotiate on price if the item isn’t already at rock bottom. It’s not worth it to offer a dime for a .15¢ item but offering $10 for a $15 item may save you $5.00.