10 Ways to Choose the Yard Sale Right for You
This time of year there are actually almost too many yard sales, estate sales and other possible treasure troves to chose from, and only so many stops that make sense. Often I’m asked how do I decide where and when to go – and why. So I decided to share some of my answers here for finding the yard sale or estate sale most likely to yield finds you’ll treasure.
- Read the ads carefully, especially if you are looking for items in specific categories. Shopping for unique, unusual items for your home? Start with looking for “home décor”, “home furnishings”, but add in “mid-century” (if that’s a fave), “vintage”, “antique”, and maybe “eclectic” as well. No categories specified? Then the sale may turn out to be a hodge podge of items.
- An ad may also clearly state “no early birds”, but you better still be in line first thing if you don’t want to miss out. That’s especially true if the sale is in a premier location (such as a well-known estate) or is at the home of a celebrity or semi-celebrity.
- Also look at the ad (most often found in local papers, but sometimes online as well) for other word clues. For example, does it say the owner is a “world traveler”? Then expect to find some rare items. Other key words or phrases include “decorative art”, “for the discerning shopper”, or “dealers welcome”, for just three examples. Good copy also shows that this sale is important to the buyer. Accurate advertising is kay, and you’ll learn to recognize the “fakes”.
- Once you look at the ads for the upcoming weekend’s sales (and really it’s well worth it to take a close look), make sure to map out your itinerary. This can be crucial in hitting the “best” sales at the right times
- This may seem obvious but perhaps bears repeating. If a sale is Saturday and Sunday for the best items get there on Saturday. However, looking to negotiate? Then you may want to take your chances on Sunday
- Recognize that the best categories for “finds” vary by season. Looking for fine furniture and similar items such as higher-end artwork? This isn’t the season for you since generally sellers do not like to bring these items outside. In the Hamptons, these sales occur after the Summer season and tend to align with a house being sold. However the season is great for discovering home décor treasures, glassware and other tabletop items, antique tools, antique toys, and so on.
- If looking for items in a particular category, do your homework when it comes to brands. Name brands obviously add a lot of value to an item.
- Sometimes more is most definitely more. That applies to opportunities to buy already existing collections or to start gathering items to create your own.
- Cash is still king when it comes to yard and estate sales. Some do take credit cards but checks are usually not accepted.
- Remember, buying at these sales is meant to be a friendly transaction, so treat the seller with respect and changes are he/she will do the same.
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