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Have you ever wondered how people find amazing stuff at yard sales? Sometimes it seems like we aimlessly meander from sale to sale, not sure what we’ll find, but hoping to discover a true treasure. Yet, we find ourselves sifting through people’s old junk, finding everything worthless, including old kitchen sinks! I don’t know about you, but I hate spinning my wheels! After much trial and error, I have figured out the perfect way to make the most of summer yard sales; whether your goal is to find personal items, or items to flip. So schedule a weekend this summer to get out and make the most of your local yard sales!

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1. Research family, group, estate and neighborhood yard sales

Before you go, the best thing to do is find out what yard sales are being held within driving distance. Many times, group, neighborhood or family yard sales are advertised on Facebook groups, Craigslist, Nextdoor or even with local signs. Search where these larger yard sales are going on. It means that you may only have to go to one location, one weekend, to find everything you’re looking for. Estate sales are especially great for furniture, while family and group sales give you lots of household options. Neighborhood sales are the best because they offer pretty much everything.

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2. Search for yard sales in affluent neighborhoods

Just like my, Tips and Tricks for Successful Thrifting, if you find yard sales in affluent neighborhoods, they are usually going to have better stuff in better condition (because they get rid of things more often to make room for new stuff). Take advantage of this and make an effort to go to affluent neighborhoods, even if it’s a drive for you. It’s a double bonus if you can find neighborhood or estate sales in affluent neighborhoods. There’s a good chance that’s where you’ll find amazing items for a steal!

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3. Write down what you are looking for

I am a list person. I used to be able to keep it all in my head, then I had children. If I write down exactly what I’m looking for, then I can keep focused while I make my rounds at the local yard sales. It doesn’t mean I won’t consider other items, but it keeps me from buying things I don’t really need or becoming overwhelmed by all the stuff! I can focus on those items I really want or need instead of aimlessly walking about hoping something will pop out at me.

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4. Research price points for your items

Once you know what items you’re looking for, think about how much you are willing to spend and also how much they are actually worth. Usually things at yard sales are priced really low. But, sometimes, people mark their items up because they think something is antique, or they saw something similar for sale on eBay at a much higher price point. If you really want a deal, then the last thing you want to do is overpay. On the flip side, if it is something you are dying to have, then consider how much you are willing to pay. Also, once you arrive, consider the condition of the item. The price you found online may be for something in mint condition. If you find your item all banged up, then try and figure out what it would actually be worth.

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5. Plan out your route

Once you have figured out where you want to go, what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to pay, it’s smart to make the most of your weekend. Try and plan out which yard sales you want to go to and if there is a smart way to get there. I like to make the most of my day, so I try and plan out yard sale routes that make sense. I usually start at the yard sale that starts earliest or the one I think I will find the best stuff at, then I plan around what sales will be closest from there. I try and stay in one general area because trying to hit every yard sale or two separate sales across town from each other is stressful. I still want to make the whole thing fun.

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6. Be the first to arrive

I think this one is kind of a no brainer. If you arrive on scene first, then you get first pick of all the great stuff! This is especially important if you’re pretty confident something you want will be there (i.e. It was advertised on Facebook or Craigslist.) As they say, the early bird gets the worm.

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7. Bring your smart phone

I know, I know, you already have your smart phone with you, but I think it needs to be said. Bringing your smart phone along means you can look up similar items for price checks. How many times do you think you have all the information you need, and then you come across something you think is truly spectacular? A smart phone allows you to research items and determine their true value, and their potential resale value. You can also take pictures of items and return to the sale later if you think that item will still be there.

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8. Make sure to bring enough cash

One of the best parts about doing your research before you go, is that you should be able to estimate how much cash you’ll need to bring. The biggest bummer about yard saling is that you can’t pay with a card. I don’t really carry cash, so I have to go to the bank just to yard sale. But, with proper preparation, I usually have enough cash on hand. I also take out a bit more than what I think I’ll need, that way I’ll have enough money for unexpected treasures I find along the way!

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9. Bring the right car

If you’re looking for large pieces of furniture, it’s probably best to bring a truck, minivan or some kind of SUV that will allow you to carry such items. Obviously, if you don’t have access to a larger vehicle, you manage best you can, but coming prepared means you can take advantage of the deals you find. Very few yard sales hold stuff for people, so having what you need right then and there will give you the best bargaining tips and opportunities to score those great deals!

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10. Don’t be afraid to haggle

This is one that gets me. I really hate haggling because I feel like I’m taking advantage of the people selling. But, sometimes, items are overpriced and if you don’t haggle you either have to pay the large price tag, or walk away. I hate paying a lot for something I know is worth less, so if I don’t find the courage to haggle I walk away. If the item is something you really want, haggle! People are usually more interested in getting rid of stuff than trying to sell it for a large amount of money. Some people are great hagglers and haggle for every item! That’s not me, but for the right item I will definitely step up to the plate.

So get our there today and rock your summer yard sales! Remember to have fun and get the best bang for your buck!