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Cabin fever took its toll on you this winter. You’ve spent enough time in the house to know that you can no longer stand the sight of that hideous green and orange lamp in the corner. You vow that as soon as you can afford to get a lamp to replace it, you will repeatedly run the old one over with the car. So do it! Do it this weekend! Because this weekend you are going to find that perfect lamp at none other than a neighborhood yard sale. You may call it yard saleing, garage saleing, or junkin’. No matter if you are on a tight budget or rolling in the dough, yard sales offer more than just a bargain, they offer us the opportunity to reuse (which is better for the environment), and we can find that one of a kind item that cannot be found anywhere else. Even if you are already a skilled huntress who possesses an eagle eye for handwritten neon signs while driving 60mph with a double macchiato in one hand, and a newspaper in the other, you may find some helpful new tips in the art of finding, and loving, all the junk you want to put in your trunk.
LISTS, NEWSPAPERS, AND MAPS
Preparation such as time management and organization is key in yard saleing. Here are some tips to help you score big: • At the start of your yard sale season, make a list of all the items you would like to find. Be sure to write the list on something you
will be able to keep in your purse, like a notepad, or make the list on your phone. If you don’t find everything on your list the first time out, you will need to refer back to it throughout the summer. • Check your local newspaper for sales, but don’t forget to check online too. Websites like www.craigslist.com or www.yardsalesearch.com are other ways people will post their ads. • Once you have determined which sales to hit (narrow this down by location, items being sold, and time of sale), it’s time to map out your route. Even if you have a GPS device, you will still want to map out your route the night before. This will help you figure out which yard sale you need to be at first and how much time you have to spend there before going on to the next. Also, it is helpful if you have the ability to preprogram the addresses into your GPS the night before.
YARD SALES, ESTATE SALES, AND MOVING SALES
Whenever possible, never pay asking price. After all, we’re talking about a yard sale, not Sax Fifth Avenue. However, here is some helpful information you should know when bargaining at a yard sale, estate sale, or moving sale. • Yard sales can be a little tricky sometimes when bargaining. Some people who have a yard sale may get money hungry. For example, say you find a cute lamp marked $30 which is similar to a $60 lamp you have been admiring at a local department store. Clearly this lamp is a few years old so you offer $20, the owner of the lamp may turn you down arguing that she paid $60. This is a good time to walk away from the purchase because you are more likely to be able to purchase the lamp new when the store offers a 50% off sale. • Estate sales are the cream of the crop because it’s an entire household for sale. Also, if you are into antiques, then estate sales are usually the mother lode for bargain antiques that will fetch a hefty price if you decide to resell it one day. However, many estate sales are managed by professionals who are hired by family members. Many of these estate sale management businesses are owned by someone who either has a resale shop or simply knows the value of the merchandise they are selling. Either case, there is not much room for bargaining here. These sales will ordinarily run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On the first day of the sale, everything will be full price, sometimes reducing items on Saturday to 25% off, then 50% off on Sunday for whatever remains. Still, it never hurts to ask. I have been to a few estate sales where I have made an offer and was surprised to walk away with my treasure. • Moving sales can be more lenient in bargaining. The majority of the items sold at these sales are because the person does not want to, or is unable to, take it with them wherever they are going. Also,
whatever they are not selling still needs to be packed or moved. The majority of these sales are over quickly because the owner just wants it out the door. So make an offer!
BARGAINING, ETIQUETTE, AND WHAT NOT TO BUY
One of the most important arsenals you have in your bargaining bag is your personality. Whenever possible, try and build a little rapport with the owner before making an offer. Such as complimenting their property or items they have for sale. • Showing the cash while making your offer almost always results in a sale. Even though you are talking, that green speaks louder when the seller can see it. • Remember, if the ad says “No Early Birds”, don’t show up half an hour before the sale time. As a rule the owners will be ok with 10 minutes till, but no earlier than that. • Finally, there are a few things you may not want to buy at a yard sale. Most of these things will be at your discretion such as clothing, linens, and pillows. However, some people may try to sell puppies or kittens at their sale. Stay clear even if they are giving the animals away. We may think we are getting a bargain on a pedigree pooch, but without knowing much about the owners or the living and health conditions of the animals, you may end up with more out of pocket expense in the end. Happy hunting and may you have plenty of junk in your trunk!
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