Hi there–I hope you’ve had a great week! Any plans for the weekend? I expect to hit a few garage sales today (woo woo for garage sale season) and will run out to my antique booth for restocking. We have an out-of-town wedding on Saturday, so just one day of vintage shopping for this girl.
Today I thought I’d talk about how to rock your garage sale season by walking you through the steps that I take when I’m planning a day of garage sales. It’s not rocket science, but I take for granted that everyone knows all of the ins and outs of optimizing their experience, but it just doesn’t come naturally to everyone.
I have a freebie at the end of the post, two actually, to help you get the most out of your day of garage sales. One freebie contains a check list of all the things you need to bring with you, along with all of the tasks you need to accomplish in order to make your day successful. The second freebie helps you plan out the route you’ll be taking to hit all of those fabulous sales.
THE DAY BEFORE
I can’t tell you how many times, early on in my garage saling career, I woke up early, readied myself quickly–with time to hit a great looking garage sale a few minutes early–only to discover that my car was full of junk. Not an auspicious beginning to the day. Empty your car the night before guys! You want to have plenty of room for all the amazing vintage stuff you’re going to buy.
Along the same lines, have you ever gotten into your car, just raring to get to that first sale, only to see that your tank is on empty? Yeah, me too. Fill your tank the night before so you don’t have to waste time at the gas station. And on the subject of cars, throw in a couple of cardboard boxes or plastic bins and some old newspaper for containing and protecting your finds. Now your car is really ready to go!
There’s nothing worse than arriving at a sale, finding a 50¢ item you’d like to buy, and realizing your smallest bill is a twenty. That seller sure isn’t going to be happy with you. Load up on ones, fives, and quarters before you leave the house.
I highly recommend putting your money inside something, other than just your pocket. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve lost that way. I have a change purse that I use now that works great. I carry it in my pocket, so my hands are free, but it will not fall out like loose bills will.
Charge your phone the night before (unless you have a phone charger in your car, then don’t worry about it).
Plan Your Route
The night before is the best time to sit down at your computer and start checking out the sales. I look on Craigslist, estatesales.net, yardsales.net, and my local newspaper online. At the height of the season, I know the towns/areas I want to focus on, so that’s how I’ll track the sales.
One of the freebies I have for you let’s you organize by town/area. I also like to know the type of sale and its hours of operation, so there are places to keep track of that on the form as well.
I’ve provided a second page in case one page is not enough.
THE MORNING OF
Dress for the Weather
I basically dress in layers and bring a few extras with me in case it grows very warm or very cold. If I’m concerned about the cold, I might grab a sweater, scarf, and gloves. In case of heat, I’ve been known to throw a pair of shorts in the car , and then, if necessary, change into them quickly as we’re driving along. When it comes to garage sales, I have NO SHAME.
Bring some food and water. You need to stay energized and hydrated. You don’t want to have to stop for water or snacks–you’ve got a job to do and you need to keep at it. No time to slow down for things you should have brought with you.[BTW, go to the bathroom before you leave the house. There’s no time for bathroom breaks when you garage sale with me!]
Optional But Recommended
If you’re eyes are sensitive to the sun, like mine, then make sure you have your sunglasses. Additionally, you may want to carry a small measuring tape in your pocket, particularly if you are looking for items to fit a certain space in your home.
Wet wipes are good to have on hand because you’ll be touching a lot of stuff that has been touched by who knows who. You’ll also probably be pawing through some dirty stuff like tools and things that have been gathering dust in the basement. You’ll at least want to wipe before eating your snack.
I’m a firm believer in being as friendly as you can be while attending garage sales. Mostly because life is just so much nicer, not just for you, but for the people you’re interacting with. Yep, I’m on a mission and attending garage sales is actually a job for me, but I’m going to be true to myself and be friendly and even engaging along the way.
Eventually, you’ll notice the law of reaping and sowing kicking in, and you’ll have some amazing interactions with sellers, as well as other buyers. A seller is much more likely to respond positively to your offer if you’ve smiled and been friendly. Don’t do it for that reason alone, but it’s a lovely blessing flowing from good behavior.
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