Today we are continuing our “How to shop yard sales series” We have already discussed these topics…
I know you are shopping yard sales to actually find something to buy and bring home, but there are a few things YOU should bring to a yard sale too.
Of course you need money to buy things but let’s get more specific – you need CASH, not checks or a debit card. And not only do you need cash, you need small bills and change. I would never take a check from someone at my yard sale – too much risk of it bouncing!
Let’s discuss a few reasons why you need small bills.
#1 reason: if everyone pays with a $20 bill for a $3 item the yard sale host is going to run out of change very fast. And if you are the 10th person trying to pay with a $20 and she doesn’t have change, you are either going to have to pay with a $20 for a $3 item (NOT a great deal!), or leave and go get to change. Don’t expect a yard sale owner to break your $100 bill or even a $20 bill on a $1-3 item. Exception: if you are shopping for larger items such as furniture, etc. you might want to carry some larger bills in the car or in another pocket so you don’t pay for a $25 dresser with all $1 bills
#2 reason: to be able to barter better! So you are at a yard sale and see something marked $5.00. You ask if they will take $3.00 for that item and they say yes. Then YOU pull a $5 bill out of your pocket and ask them to make change. I don’t know, that just seems a little rude to me. They originally wanted $5.00, I talked them down, and now I am expecting them to give me back change when I handed them the amount they originally wanted? Much better to pull $3.00 in $1 bills out of your pocket and walk away – not leaving them to regret making a deal for a less amount. Same thing with quarters – don’t ask someone if they will take their $1.00 item for 50¢ and then hand them a $1 bill to make change. Try to give exact change if possible.
#3 reason: bring a set amount of money with you when out shopping yard sales and when you have spent all your money, you are done shopping! This not only helps you stay on budget, but can also help you make better deals. Say you are at your last sale and only have $15 left in your pocket and see a large item you want but they are asking $20 or $25. You can say, “I only have $15 left, would you be willing to take $15 for that item?” NOW, I am not saying to use this all of the time, nor am I saying to LIE and say you only have that much left if you have more… (I have had people do this to me at a yard sale I was having before and I felt very cheated.) BUT it can be effective especially later in the day and when you are almost done shopping too. AND if you actually only have $15 left.
2. Shopping list
Nothing worse then being at a sale and you don’t remember what size desk you are looking for, how big your windows are for curtains or blinds, your current kid sizes or measurements.
Keep an updated list of sizes of clothes and shoes that you are looking for and even ideas such as “more winter pants for Susie in size 2T” or “summer clothes for Johnny in size 3T.”
I am currently looking for a desk but I want one that is smaller than our current one so I measured ours and know what size to look for now. I am also looking for faux wood blinds for my upstairs bedrooms, I see them all the time at thrift store and yard sales! But I haven’t had my measurements with me so have missed opportunities to buy them for cheap.
3. Measuring tape
If you are looking for specific measurements in furniture or even clothes then you are going to need some way to measure items. I carry this mini measuring tape in my purse at all times. And I use it ALL the time! Even this weekend at my yard sale that I had, someone needed to measure something and asked to borrow a tape measure. But if I was at my parking lot yard sale, the sellers probably won’t have a tape measure so I wouldn’t be able to borrow one. Goodwill normally won’t have a tape measure either.
4. Paint colors & fabric samples
I am currently working on organizing my paint colors/samples and fabric samples. I have seen and pinned quite a few ideas on Pinterest.
Paint a sample of your paint colors on popsicle sticks to carry in your purse. Don’t forget to include the paint brand, name, and paint # too.
Picture and idea from Natty By Design
Here’s another similar idea from Martha Stewart – paint your paint colors on a paint stick and add the name too.
Love 320 Sycamore’s Home inspiration notebook! This was pre-Pinterest days but you could still use the basic concept to compile paint colors, fabric samples, even pictures of furniture or rooms so you have them for reference when shopping.
Another home décor notebook idea from Country Living
5. Small bag or pouch
Now you need some way to carry all of this stuff. I really hate bringing my purse which is overflowing with junk to a yard sale. I just want something that I can have the basics in – cash, change, car keys, phone, list, and tape measure. (By the way, I carry my phone mainly so I can take pictures of something I see so I can text it to my husband or to someone who is looking for something specific or upload a picture to share with my readers on my facebook page!) I am looking for some sort of zippered wristlet type bag or maybe even a crossover bag to use.
This weekend many people shopping at my yard sale had a bag like the cosmetic bag above – just some type of zippered pouch that they had cash in.
So that is about it!
Except a smile – especially if you are bartering a lower price – put on a big smile!
Can you think of anything else that YOU need to bring to a yard sale?
What type of purse or bag do you carry to a yard sale?