National Garage Day is this Saturday, August 14. My neighbor is hosting a sale and I plan to add some of the things I have been intending to part with for some time. While having your own garage sale is a lot of work it can be a great way to move unwanted items out of your home. Here’s an article on the 25 Reasons To Get Rid of Things and Ten Tips for a Success Yardsale. Visiting someone else’s garage sale can result in a can’t miss deal on something you might want. Lately, I have been enjoying visiting estate sales and antiquing for a few collectibles.

Here are some fun facts on garage and rummage sales (Martha Stewart uses the term “tag sale”) I found from Holidays Calendar:

  • Rummage sales began during the 16th century to allow ship captains to sell unclaimed cargo at ports.
  • During the 19th century, churches began to regularly hold rummage sales to raise money.
  • During the 1970s, the popularity of garage sales really began to rise.
  • Almost 100,000 garage sales are listed on Craig’s List every week.
  • On average, 700,000 people buy something at a garage sale each week.
  • The best time to begin a garage sale is 7 a.m.
  • The best day to hold a garage sale is on a Saturday.
  • The average price for a garage sale item is 90 cents.

If you are planning to venture out this weekend, here are my four best tips for garage or estate sale shopping:

One – Make a Plan

It’s always fun to pull over and spontaneously pop into a garage sale, but if you are going to make a day of shopping, it’s best to establish a plan. Plan your route to save time and gas and be strategic on what you are going to shop for. I get easily overwhelmed by people’s things, but I find if I focus on narrowing my search to just a few items I am much more productive and will be less likely to buy something on impulse that I don’t really need. For example, you might say, “this weekend I am only buying bundt pans.”

Two –  Pack a Garage Sale Kit Filled with Supplies

No one wants to be out somewhere unfamiliar and suddenly need a drink or get hangry. The night before your adventure, pack a small cooler with bottled water, and protein-fueled snacks like cheese sticks or a peanut butter sandwich with some sliced apples. Grab a small tote bag and add hand sanitizer to clean your hands after you leave each sale and before you eat, some plastic grocery store bags if the seller doesn’t have a bag for your purchases, and bug spray if mosquitoes are also at the sale. You also want a fully charged phone so you can look up items on eBay to make sure what you are thinking is a deal, actually is one. In that case, be sure you have a phone charger in your tote or car. Also, empty your car trunk. You never know you might find that long-searched for a bamboo coffee table but if you don’t have room for it, someone else will. Dress comfortably and during the hot summer – wear something cool.

Three – Take Cash

I know a lot of people use Square for estate sales, but I still think most garage sale people only use cash. Take small bills, too. Don’t make the homeowner break a $20 for a $1 item!  Take change, too. Lots of things are between 25-50 cents. I suggest you carry a crossbody with a small coin purse filled with change, and cash stuck inside a baggie. You don’t want to be getting out your wallet filled with credit cards especially if you negotiated for a lower price. The small purse also keeps you from bumping into people and things that might cause them to break. Remember – You break, you buy!

Four – Use your Imagination

Okay, so you’ve been searching for a porcelain Asian lamp. You find one, but the lampshade is horrid.  Don’t look at the lampshade – focus on the lamp base. Is it beautiful, in good condition, and once plugged in, works?  You can find a lampshade elsewhere. Get the lamp. The same goes for furniture that needs new fabric. If the bones of the chair or couch are good, you can change the fabric. I have rescued many a chair from the side of the road not caring a lick about the current fabric knowing I will make it my own once it’s mine.

I didn’t list negotiating with the seller on a price. I am not good at this. If you are and have done it with success, then by all means make a deal. I kind of feel like if it’s in a garage sale it’s already priced to sell.  One trick you could try is if you do find it cheaper on eBay show the seller and maybe they might be willing to price match. But, tread carefully. The person is selling things that at one time were meaningful to them. Don’t insult them with a very low-ball price. And certainly don’t make fun of their wares at the sale.

World’s Longest Yard Sale

Here’s one last fun thing to share that my friend Cathy shared with me – The World’s Longest Yard Sale is scheduled for August 4-7, 2022. Mike Walker, a Fentress County official, had an idea for the sale in 1987 as a way to draw visitors from interstates to the back roads. That year, county officials planned a route in KY and TN and compiled a list of nearby attractions for people to visit. The Fentress County Chamber of Commerce serves as the headquarters for the sale. Since then, the event is officially known as the 127 Sale, after its initial route has grown to cover 690 miles, from Gadsden, Ala. to Hudson, MI. The sale has been featured on HGTV and the Tonight Show, as well as in Southern Living, Country Living, USA Today, and Newsweek. Follow them on Instagram at 127YardSale for updates. Cathy and I have already saved the date on our calendars to go. Let me know if you’d like to “tag” along!