I started developing a love for yard sales when I was 5! Yup, you got it, 5 years of age. I have sweet memories of all six of us (at the time) piling into our old station wagon clutching our fistful of coins for our weekend adventure! My momma always made yard sale shopping so much fun and she started teaching us early that God could and would answer our prayers for needs and wants. I remember the first thing I purchased at a yard sale---a pretty pink little purse and I bartered the lady down to 10 cents! It was such an accomplishment and instilled in me a desire to be frugal with my money and get quality things in return. I was always called “banana eyes” because I would spot yard sale signs seemingly miles ahead! Alas, the memories are endless. I have been yard sale shopping for 25 years!
First “secret” to yard saling---START now! You ask, “Why?”…
I love to shop yard sales because I HATE spending lots of money on one thing! I have never been a mall shopper, but I know that that is the case because of yard sales from a young age. I realize I can get the name brand items, gorgeous furniture, and in date and in style clothing and décor for pennies in comparison to the mall or other department stores. That does not mean I never hit the mall or buy brand new, but it is VERY seldom! I think one of the biggest reasons I continue is looking at all God has provided through yard sales. It is fun to look through my home and point out just about everything and say, “Wow, I found that for a quarter at a yard sale, or that's from Goodwill.” You can furnish your home beautifully by shopping from other people's junk! I promise! Take a look back at yesterdays post and see some of the prices on some of my furniture Thrifting Benefits in my Home.
Second “secret” is how to find yard sales. I look everywhere & I have my littles looking too.
Honestly, I love to just jump in the van and drive around looking for signs. I guess that’s the little girl in me, because my momma used to play a game with us. Twenty five years ago there weren’t long list of yard sales in the papers, on craigslist or other computer listings. You just drove around and spotted the bright huge signs with fun balloons floating high. Now, signs are puny and I rarely see a balloon. Seriously, I’ve begun to wonder if they really want me to come to their sale with all the pathetic signs. However, this day in age, I often sit down and type in local communities into Craigslist or the city papers looking for any jackpot classifieds for yard sales. Often if something is listed for a few weeks out and it has something listed that I am specifically looking for I calendar it, so I don't forget. Church yard sales are big on that list! They tend to have tons of stuff and for reasonable prices!
The “secret” to getting the best stuff is when you go. This can change depending on where you live, but this is how it works for me. When I lived up north Thursdays were the best day to go and the best day to have a yard sale! So, if you are a Northerner venture out on Thursdays! However, I have had to change my ways quite a bit since moving down South! People do yard sales weird around here. Typically it is just from 7 until noon every Saturday morning. I couldn't believe it and it took some getting used to for sure! Up North I could go out at 6 am and yard sale until 6 at night! So, adapting your yard sale plans may be needed to get the best stuff. Here in the sunny South, I find it profitable to go either early or around 11 am. I like to get out early just to find the best stuff, but sometimes people want rid of things faster right before closing up. I am a HUGE bargainer so I typically don't let wee morning hours scare me in the bargaining department.
And, the “secret” you mommas have been waiting for…What do I do with my kids?
Most of the times, I take them with me, and they look forward to it. When this action occurs there are a few things I like to have ready first. The night before we usually set their clothes out and they are able to count out a few dollars of coins from their piggy banks. I often set the limit to $2-3 just so they aren't spending a huge amount each time. Plus, I have found that they do better with what they have if they do not have tons to spend. They each put their name on a ziploc bag and they are ready to go the next morning.
Help them write a list. This may seem insignificant to some, but I have found that helping them look around and narrow down their wants or needs and jotting them on paper will help them look better and not waste their pennies on something they really didn't want or need. Things we have prayed for are a big must on the list. Just last week we were all praying for shoes for each child. We found 3 pair for Ella for $.50 a pair just last Friday. The best part is that Maddie right away recognized that Jesus had answered our prayer for Ella.
Pack snacks and drinks!!! You don't want to spend a ton of your yard sale money halfway through your adventure at a convenience store or fast food to appease starving little ones. I typically grab them their big water bottles, a few random snacks and a sweet treat for a reward half way through! Sometimes we enjoy packing a cooler with a picnic lunch and hit the park after our yard sale adventures.
Take turns getting out! I know, in some situations this is not practical, but you have to decide what works and is best for you. We like to allow one child to go in at each yard sale. Unless mommy notices it is a jackpot of toys or other things on multiple children's lists. I am a fast shopper! I hate looking at everything at a yard sale and typically run in and run out! Spending too much time at one is losing time at another and may end up costing me some great finds. So, instead of hoisting 4 little ones out of the van every time, they take turns. This way too they are keeping their eyes peeled for signs and are super excited when it is their turn. Sometimes you have to change it up a bit due to dud yard sales etc. One might ask, “what do you do with the other kids?” Leave them in the van! If the yard sale allows to pull into the driveway it is best, but I am careful no matter what! Keep the windows open, music on, etc. And, remember, if you are a forever looker than this tip is NOT an option for you. If I am going to look through piles of baby clothes, the kids all get out with me. You don't want them to get too hot, you get arrested for being negligent, etc. But, typically when I leave them in I am in an out of that sale before you can say “Bob's your uncle!”
Pray with your kids!! Help them realize that our needs and wants can be answered specifically by an Almighty God. I LOVE it when my son looks at me after-wards and says, “Mommy, I prayed that God would help me find that! Look, He answered!” That is what it is about! It is crucial to praise the Lord together after-wards on His provision too even if He didn't allow you to find everything you wanted!
I am so thankful for a mommy who made yard sales an adventure and a day of fun for us when we were kids. My little ones LOVE to yard sale and look forward to it! I hope you can develop some fun things that contribute to your children loving it too.
Another “secret” is to have lots of quarters and $1 bills! You can always bargain better if you do not have 5's and 10's.
Make sure if you have a specific list to bring it with you to yard sales and thrift stores. This will also help eliminate just spending your hard earned pennies on things that are not truly needed. It will help in your organizational issues too that we will discuss in coming days. Pssst…if you have no room for it, don’t buy it!!!
My top 3 “Secrets” or tips for thrifting…
1. Don't be scared to barter! Don't be rude, but know what you want and what you will pay for something! (my momma taught me this one and it has come in handy everywhere!)
2. Be patient! Remember that shopping at yard sales requires patience and prayer! You won't walk away with something from every yard sale or even every time you go, but remember the money you are saving and think what you could have bought at the mall with that quarter---gum from gumball machine!
3. Ask for their phone number! If there are tons of things at a particular yard sale and you don't have the money, time, or info to purchase it then, take their number and then call them later! I have gotten many treasures this way and for really cheap.You can read about one here Little Blessings sent from above