It’s garage sale season! Although my dad doesn’t share my enthusiasm (he calls them ‘garbage sales’) I love them. Call me crazy, but I just love the ‘thrill of the hunt’ and I am rewarded every year with oodles of clothes for my kids for pennies. If you’re new to the ‘Garage Sale Game’ don’t fear because Marie is here… to walk you through the basics!
Garage sales VS. Estate sales Vs. Moving sales: Knowing the difference between these three sales is going to help you target where you want to look for whatever it is you want to buy. For example, you probably won’t find baby clothes at an estate sale and if it’s furniture that you’re after anything you find at a garage sale will likely be ‘well loved’.
Garage sales are where people are selling things they no longer want or need. You will most likely find kid’s clothing, baby gear, booster seats, car seats, wagons, toys, bikes and scooters, board games, DVDs, books, stuffed animals, strollers/jogging strollers, and the like.
Moving sales are where people may be selling some prime, like new items. Items that, if they weren’t moving, they wouldn’t be selling. This is where you want to look for lawn mowers, patio furniture, couches, tables, chairs, bedroom sets, nursery furniture, and probably more holiday decorations than you will EVER need.
Estate sales are different from either garage or moving sales in that the person that owned the items being sold has passed away. These will most likely be excellent quality furniture, area rugs, or even antiques. You can find pretty much anything for the home here- fixtures, lamps, pool supplies, lawn care items, boats, cars, golf clubs, curtains, cabinets, grandfather clocks.
Where do I find these sales? This time of year, simply drive around in your car on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (rarely on the occasional Thursday) and you will see them scattered about everywhere- just look for the signs.
I like to look for big community garage sales so I can maximize my selection and minimize my gas cost and drive time. Unfortunately, most of the communities in my neck of the woods have already had their big garage sales, but I have included links to Batavia and St. Charles so you can check out next year’s schedule. Sales usually start popping up at the end of April and run through May. I’ve also included links for a garage sale finder and an estate sale finder where you can put in your zip code and find sales in your area.
https://www.stcharlesil.gov/events/festivals-and-special-events/2022/12310 (St. Charles community garage sale)
https://patch.com/illinois/batavia/more-150-houses-participating-batavia-city-wide-garage-sale (Batavia community garage sale)
https://garagesalefinder.com/(garage sale finder)
https://www.estatesales.net/ (estate sale finder)
Why not buy online? Buying online is very convenient. You can shop any hour of any day for any items you want, and they will arrive at your doorstep. You certainly save money on gas and save time on driving and looking. But do remember that you will most likely be paying shipping costs for this convenience. Also remember that prices tend to be higher online because the seller still wants to make a profit after the hosting site (Ebay https://www.ebay.com/, Mercari https://www.mercari.com/, Offerup) takes their cut. If you are in a time crunch or are looking for something very specific, I would definitely recommend buying online. If it’s something you don’t need right away I would wait and look for it at a garage sale.
You can use apps like Offerup https://offerup.com/ (formerly Letgo), Facebook Marketplace https://www.facebook.com/login/?next=%2Fmarketplace%2F, and the oldie, but goodie Craig’s List https://chicago.craigslist.org/ to find items online and then pick them up in person to avoid shipping costs. Just PLEASE be careful meeting random strangers to pick up items. Insist on meeting in highly public places, bring someone with you, or tell someone exactly where you are going. If an offer seems too good to be true (like a free car- just pick it up) it is! Don’t give out your phone number or address. For more information about buying online check out a previous blog post of mine- Have You Borrowed a Cup of Community Sharing From Your Neighbor Yet? (see link below)
Other garage sale tips: Bring cash and don’t be afraid to haggle (reasonably speaking). Don’t ‘low ball’ a person on purpose, but let’s say the total cost is thirteen dollars and you only have a ten. Most people are willing to let stuff go for a lower cost just to get rid of unwanted clutter.
For tips on how to evaluate if an item is worth buying aka if it’s actually a good deal or not check out another of my previous blog posts:
For tips on what NOT to buy check out my previous post- Tip 3: Consider Garage sales:
What about flea markets? I think I phrased it best in a previous blog post when I said to think of a flea market as a carnival meets farmers market meets antique store meets craft fair meets garage sale. For more information on what flea markets are and how to find them check out: A Flea What Now? (link below)
Now that you are a savvy garage sale shopper- go forth and find those deals! Happy Hunting!