7 Tips For Getting The Best Stuff at Garage Sales

Tips for getting the best stuff at garage sales

If there is one topic I’m comfortable and confident giving advice in, it would be that of: How to get the best stuff at garage sales.

My apartment is filled with awesome garage sale finds, from antique furniture and home decor items to pretty dishes and kitchen gadgets.

Besides being a hobby, garage sale-ing is also a way for me to get practical goods for cheap.

Tips for getting the best stuff at yard sales

Cooking Items You’re Sure To Find At Garage Sales

You may be wondering how garage sale tips apply to cheap recipes. Quite well, actually.

I often buy dishes, kitchen appliances, cloth napkins, kitchen tools, food photography props, and other gadgets at garage sales. As someone who hits hundreds of  yard sales each year (for real), I feel confident saying that these are some items you a pretty much guaranteed to find:

  • Plates
  • Silverware
  • Cups and mugs
  • Cake pans
  • Blenders
  • Plastic mixing bowls
  • Plastic storage containers

Tips for getting great stuff at rummage sales

Tips For Getting the Best Stuff at Yard Sales

So here they are, Seven tips for scoring the best deals and items at garage sales:

  • Go early: This is absolutely critical. Unlike retail stores, garage sales don’t stock multiples of items. Once an item is gone, it’s gone. The best stuff goes early, so be ready to shop when the sale starts.
  • Go on the first day: If I see a sign for a garage sale on Saturday that started the day before, I don’t go. Most of the time, the selection is pretty bad after day one. Your time will be better spent looking for a new sale.
  • Hit neighborhood or city-wide sales: But keep in mind, there are going to be more people competing for the items, so start early.
  • Search for garage sales online or in newspapers: I always check Craigslist for local yard sales. The classified section is another place to find yard sale listings.
  • Bring small bills and change: Not all sales have change for larger bills.
  • Bring your own bag: Bring a large bag with you to carry your items. In neighborhood-wide sales, you can avoid multiple trips to the car to unload your items – saving time and allowing you to hit more sales early on.
  • Know when to negotiate: Negotiating is somewhat expected at yard sales. While it’s not always necessary to barter at a garage sale if prices are low, don’t be afraid to ask for a lower price.

7 Tips for getting the best stuff at garage sales!Further reading:

My Garage Sale Finds

Recent garage sale finds

Recent garage sale finds: Immersion blender, brand new bathroom mat, brand new pillow, vintage tray, brand new body scrub, cake stand, recipe box, and two new cookbooks


Garage sale finds

Solid wood bowls, various food photo props, Aveda lotion, and a pretty printed shirt: All for less than $10


Garage sale finds from Cheap Recipe Blog

White lamp, outdoor bug light, two new candles, microwaveable rice bag, brand new scarf, a shirt, some jewelry and a Southwestern-printed napkin’


Recent garage sale finds from Cheap Recipe Blog

A serving tray, two cookbooks, a cloth napkin, condiment dishes, light switch cover, belt, and jewelry.


Garage sale finds, 2014

A vintage ad framed picture, a vintage Italian map (to use as a photo prop), an indoor grill, and a summer dress

Garage sale finds, June 2014

A cardigan, a sleeveless top, two ramekins, two pairs of winter boots

Garage sale finds from June, 2014

A cookbook, paper straws, tea tree oil, hair styling oil, highlighter, four scarves

Garage sale finds from May 2014

Two vintage Yellowstone pennants, glass ramekins, a vintage-style serving tray, a blanket to keep in my car’s trunk

Garage sale finds, 2018. Click through for more!

Two shirts, a scarf, a pair of earrings, random Aveda products, a wall hanging, Moroccan-style lantern, potato masher

7 Responses to “7 Tips For Getting The Best Stuff at Garage Sales”

  1. 1

    Denise — June 21, 2012 @ 1:10 am

    I am also a fan of garage sales because it’s where I can find beautiful and cheap items. Thanks for all these tips.

  2. 2

    Karen Harris — April 23, 2013 @ 1:27 am

    I am so glad the nice weather is around the corner. Here in Snowville we are forced to go to the charity shops for 9 months out of the year, so I am ready for some fresh garage sale air! I’ve got a wad of ones that are burning a hole in my pocket. Thanks for the tips!

    • Haley replied: — April 23rd, 2013 @ 11:17 pm

      Unfortunately, garage sale season is getting a late start this year with all the snow and cold.

  3. 3

    Leslie MacKenzie — April 23, 2013 @ 3:29 pm

    I’m planning to hit garage sales and estate sales this summer looking for non-electric kitchen tools as we continue to wean our household off fossil fuels. Luckily, those things don’t sell fast so I can go right before the end of the sale and pick it up for cheap.

    • Haley replied: — April 23rd, 2013 @ 11:15 pm

      Love the idea!

  4. 4

    liz | carpe season — April 23, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

    Hooray for the return of garage sale season, snow or not 🙂
    Good tips!

  5. 5

    Greta — September 13, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

    Every time I read this (and it’s definitely been more than once or twice…) I get all excited to go out and “shop” (a la garage sale). I try my hardest to never buy anything new- it just doesn’t make sense- bad for the environment and spendy so between garage sales and thrift stores I’m a happy consumer… It’s our town garage sale weekend this week and I’m out of town so bemoaning the fact that I’m going to miss it, so vicariously living it out through your post.

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