Finding Treasure in your Neighbors Garage

The temperatures are heating up and that means garage sale season is right around the corner. There is something incredibly satisfying about buying someone else’s unwanted stuff for next to nothing.  I can look around my house and see so many things I purchased at garage sales. Furniture, dishes, decorations, clothes, toys, so many great things. My favorite jeans that I paid $2 for or the mitten drying rack I got for a dollar. It’s like a scavenger hunt and clearance sale wrapped into one!

When my daughter was young, she would fill the backseat with toys and stuffed animals using her birthday money. She would spend less than $10, but haul home so many treasures. Now imagine what you can buy at Walmart in the toy section for $10. Sadly, it’s not very much. Now that she’s older, she doesn’t find nearly as many “must have” items, but she can appreciate getting nearly new clothes for a fraction of their original cost.

My best advice for being successful is to start on the first day of the sale. Getting there early insures that you have the best selection. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone carrying something back to their car that I would have bought had I been there 2 minutes earlier.  Don’t sweat the small stuff though….press on, there are many treasures left to find.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate. I’m not one of those people who haggles about every purchase, but sometimes I will come across something I really want and the price is more than I want to pay. I will ask if the seller would consider taking a lower amount. Sometimes they will and sometimes they won’t, but if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

Even though we may only be talking about 50 cents, you still need to ask yourself questions. Do I have a specific plan for this? Is this something I will actually use? If you are simply buying it because it’s cute, that’s not a good enough reason. It will end up adding to clutter that you worked so hard to clear. At this point in my life, I only have room for things I love and have a use for.  Although if you are 22 and trying to furnish a new apartment, there is a lot more wiggle room in the love department. I’ve hung things on my walls in the past that were just fillers because I hadn’t found my loves yet. That’s completely okay, but as you start finding those loves you can keep upgrading the fillers until you are surrounded by your loves.

My favorite part is at the end of the day, I unload the car and spread everything out and total up what I spent. It still amazes me when I look at everything I get and how I spent less than the price of one item at full price.  That is my happy place, basking in all of my bargain glory.

Kara Addington

About Kara Addington

I live in a small town in Northern Maine with my husband, daughter, and dog. I scour yard sales and thrift shops for clothing, furniture, and decor. I've been known to rescue items from the trash to repurpose into craft projects. I rarely pay full price for anything. When I come home from grocery shopping with something outside of our normal staples, I am faced with, "You had a coupon, didn't you?". Well, of course I did! I enjoy thinking outside of the box. I rarely do what everyone else does, I'm all about using my resources and I hate how disposable everything is. I am passionate about sharing my discoveries and lifestyle with others. I love to help people save money, live debt free and to recycle and repurpose unwanted items. Living well on less is my area of expertise.