How to Shop at a Garage Sale

Have you ever been in a situation where you've been driving along and some kind of sudden sale is happening on someone's front lawn? Most of the time you probably drive by and continue on your way. But once in a while something catches your eye and you pull over. Often after the first initial purchase you browse through and find many "treasures". Here is how to shop successfully at a garage sale.


  1. Image titled Shop at a Garage Sale Step 1
    As you slow your car down (or turn around to go back to the garage sale), look for a place to park. Some places you park right in the person's driveway, other times such as at bigger garage sales, people are parked alongside the road. Try to park in a convenient spot. A good spot will be a very short walk from the first tables or garage of stuff. This way any heavy items will be easier to transport to your car, and multiple trips will take less time so you can be on your way.
  2. Image titled Shop at a Garage Sale Step 2
    If a certain item caught your eye, immediately go to it. Examine it and determine if it is something you want. If not, slowly browse through the rest of the garage sale in an orderly fashion examining all items carefully, but at the same time quickly. Anything that strikes your interest inspect it, look it over and check the price. At a good garage sale you should find a number of things of interest to you. It is recommended that you bring a bag. Go orderly through all the tables and piles of merchandise. Paw through some boxes, get an overall idea of what's there.
  3. Image titled Shop at a Garage Sale Step 3
    After going through the garage sale and finding items you wish to purchase, (if nothing just skip to last step) go through one more time in a quicker manner, and see if there's anything you missed. A box of stuff that you didn't see before, new items put out, a separate area of the garage sale, etc, etc.
  4. Image titled Shop at a Garage Sale Step 4
    After selecting the things you wish to purchase, go to where the person handling the money is. (they are usually pretty obvious, most sit in the garage or on the lawn at a table in chairs, and have a sort of money box)
  5. Image titled Shop at a Garage Sale Step 5
    Ask any questions about items (i.e., - What is this?, How old is it?, Is there anything wrong with it?, Is it missing any parts?, Does it work?) Some things they may not know anything about but try to get an idea of what you are buying. Nothing is worse then shelling out $30.00 and finding out it's missing required parts, or plain just doesn't work.
  6. Image titled Shop at a Garage Sale Step 6
    If you think a price is too high, try to bargain with them. Many people are happy to get rid of the stuff they are selling, so try to get a lower price, (this is known as dickering) many are happy to settle for less. Or even a best offer or a possible trade. Reach an agreement you both can be happy with. However some people will remain firm about the price they put on it, "no 'if's, 'and's, or 'but's". Do not be discouraged or upset if they are stubborn with the price (you were intending to buy it in the first place weren't you?) If you don't like it simply put it back. Sometimes then they may agree to a price.
  7. Image titled Shop at a Garage Sale Step 7
    After paying for everything (or nothing if it was free or you didn't get anything) load it into your car. Look back across the sale one last time from where you are standing. If there is nothing, get into your car and slowly pull into the main road and on to your next destination.


  • Watch for great deals! Some antique they are selling at a rock bottom price could be sold by you for a higher profit to you. Comic books, antiques, tools, and items you may not want but could gain a higher profit off of can be great deals, earning you more money, or possible new items in a collection of yours
  • Garage sale can be addicting, make sure you have the space for your purchase! And if you really get pulled in, follow the simple rules. Do you really want it? Is it worth the price? Is it a good deal? Is everything with it? Does the overall garage sale look good? And last but not least, Do you have the space? Or in that matter, the need?
  • Watch for scammers, or people selling things at ridiculously high prices, if everything is like this, leave. They are no good, they will try to pinch every cent they can from you and can easily pull you into paying more money than the item is worth, making the garage sale a bad deal for you. Only pay a price as such if you absolutely want it or it is of your highest desire. Even then it is recommended that you leave.


  • Watch for bad prices, "bargains", or "deals.
  • Look out for broken things that is often why some people are getting rid of them.
  • Watch your spending, a good garage sale will satisfy many of your interests and it is easy to "nickel and dime" or spend a little here, a little there, remember, it all adds up
  • At larger sales be wary of other shoppers, people often rush for deals and once in a while a small skirmish over an item can develop ! Do not get involved, just maybe ask if you can have it, or if they pass it over examine it.

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Categories: Garage and Yard Sales