Shop till you drop: It’s yard sale season!
By: Lexi Smith
I just bought a house and now I have lots of rooms to fill and less money to spend. To stay budget conscious while decorating, I’m engaging my creative genius and going green with consignment stores – and my new favorite past time – the yard sale. And, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks to pass along in my quest to find the best stuff for the least amount of money.
First, I need to make a disclaimer. You need to like to shop or this kind of experience will seem like torture. Seriously, you need to make a commitment to getting up early and going all day. You need to be willing to dig through other people’s junk to find their hidden treasures. And, you need to be quick to negotiate for the deals. If you are ready to do that – then keep reading.
I start my plan of action on Thursday for my shopping extravaganza on Saturday. Usually people who put ads in the paper for a weekend garage sale will run it on Thursday. Craig’s List is also a great tool to use for identifying sales in your targeted areas. Then I go to work identifying the most desirable neighborhoods. I eliminate sales from any neighborhood in which I wouldn’t buy a house or raise a kid. That’s just common sense and good time management. I also eliminate sales that started on a Friday and go through the weekend. I work on Fridays – and find that two day sales are really a waste of time the second day. The good stuff is already gone.
Next, I plan my route and make sure I know generally where I’m going. I also try to pull up directions and type in addresses into my GPS in order of my planned destinations. Also, I pack my car with newspapers, boxes, and bags to hold any treasures I might find. It’s also helpful to have a tape measure (and the measurements of what you might need – i.e. a dresser). Additionally, I make a quick trip to the bank for cash – and get plenty of ones and fives. Cash is a must!
I set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. and on Saturday morning I pull on my yoga gear, tennis shoes, ball cap; swipe on some mascara and lip gloss (I don’t want to scare people). I’m usually out the door in 30 minutes – with to-go cup of coffee and breakfast bar in hand.
A little bit of Yard Sale etiquette – don’t get to your destination too early. People don’t appreciate being rushed to set up and if you make a bad impression – negotiating on a price will be impossible.
If you find something you want – and it’s too big to carry around – indicate your interest to the seller and ask if he or she can hold it while you shop around.
As for haggling prices – if you are concerned about doing this just ask the seller if he or she can offer you their best price. If the price is still more than you want to pay – just say, “Thanks. That’s more than I want to pay.” Likely, they will ask you for a price that is more agreeable. They want to get rid of this stuff.
Do not feel obligated to buy anything. It’s OK if you find nothing, or the seller cannot meet your price expectations, to say, “Thanks so much. Have a great day!” And, move on to your next destination.
Lexi Smith is a lifestyle guru for the woman seeking positive change. She is owner and creative director of Being Fabulous!, a consultation and personal shopping service designed to help clients achieve a higher quality of life by finding their own signature style.