Handy Hints

Mr.CBB’s Garage Sale Tips For Buying and Selling Stuff!

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Garage Sale, Yard Sale,Rummage Sale, Church Sale,Trunk Sale or Car Boot Sale as we call it in the UK  all of which essentially mean the same thing…. cheap prices for “stuff” people no longer need,want or have room for.  The Spring and Summer time are the high times for garage sales especially here in Canada. Warm weather and sun plant the Spring Cleaning bug and sends people into a selling frenzy.  For newlyweds, students,first time home buyers or anyone who wants a bargain now is the time of year to get out and get searching.
What’s it like driving Mrs. CBB to Garage Sales…. well, where do I start (I hope she doesn’t read this…
I remember when I first settled here in Ontario in 2007 I had never been to a garage sale at someone’s house in my life. I have to admit it can be a bit draining with the wife raging with excitment in my ear. Her hands waving in the air, hurry, I see the sign, look,look,look at all the people, pull over,she jumps outs, nods up and down, side to side, she jumps back in, go,go,go,… oh yes this  does my head in, but I’m used to it now.  If you’re a man and are the driver I’m sure 100% you can relate…you are smiling and nodding as you just read that I bet. If so, +1 for you now go grab a pint, you deserve it!
Always plan your routes to save time and money in the gas tank. No sense saving a buck in the budget when you are blowing it on petrol.
Stadhampton car boot sale
Stadhampton car boot sale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When my wife was visiting the UK she said the same of the “car boot sale” me mum and dad brought her to as I was selling off my life to move to my new life here in Canada. You’ll find garage sales at people’s homes like here in Canada but more in fields or council land. Sometimes you will pay a small fee to enter like 1 pound or $1.60 CDN to get in (was $2.35 CDN to the pound back then but sadly that’s a whole other post). There will be other sellers with their vehicles open or trunks filled with items to sell. It can be quite the party actually with lots of food and drink, fun for the entire family!
I did manage to sell almost everything I owned through the car boot sales and am happy for the most part. Mind you I am kicking myself for selling a few items one in particular was my galvanized steel watering can for the garden. I miss that can and have struggled to find them here for the past 3 years. Low and behold I come across one at Wal-Mart the other day for $12.99 and I stopped at nothing to pick it up.
Garage Sales have been amazing here in Canada as it has helped us pick up some great second-hand must-haves for our home and garden at a fraction of the retail price. Just today our community was having a Garage Sale extravaganza all over the neighbourhood. The neighbours come out from hiding and we get to check out each others “junk” (the seller for the most part believes it’s junk) and make new friends. You know the old saying “Someone’s junk is another person’s treasure.”
Garage sale
Garage sale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Before the big day today the Mrs. had me prepare with her some items to bring along as apparently there is a strategy. Below are some tips that I’ve learned that helped me prepare for the go,go,go of the morning. I’m thrilled and saddened to say that I found a steel watering can today and I paid under $1.00 for it.. far stretch from the $12.99 above.  We picked up everything in this picture today for the grand total of $6.00. I know amazing I bet you are thinking… well that’s the power of negotiation and neighbours who want to get rid of stuff.
Garage Sale Buying Tips In No Particular order
  1. Source out all the garage sales in your city
  2. Map out the sales in order of vicinity to each other so you are not wasting gas driving back and forth around town
  3. Mark off the garage sales you’ve been to
  4. Always bring a baggie or purse with mixed small coin $0.05.$0.10.$0.25 and $1.00 and $2.00 coins. (this helps the transaction go faster as well as aids in negotiating for smaller items)
  5. Never pull out your money until after you negotiate a deal
  6. Keep bills in small denominations in one pocket and coin in the other
  7. Always negotiate unless the price is already “bargain basement” (very low price)
  8. If you want it you better grab it or the man or woman behind you will
  9. Get up early in the morning, don’t be late or you will miss out and don’t be an early bird. Most sellers like to set up their sale in peace before the crowds start rushing in.
  10. Don’t try to get something for nothing, appreciate the already low prices, understand garage sale pricing.
  11. Bring shopping bags with you if you are walking so you are not lugging multiple items around
  12. If you are buying electronics ask to see them work
  13. Do ask if an electronic can be returned if it does not work
  14. Don’t be rude and push or shout out to the sellers it’s not auction hunters… YEP!(ok lame I know haha.. I tried)
  15. Thank the sellers for the sale… and enjoy your new-found toys

Yard sale on Green Street in .

Although I have not personally held a garage sale in Canada the same still stands in the UK plus what I’ve seen here in Ontario.
Garage Sale Selling Tips In No Particular Order
  1. Always be ready the night before if you can. Know your items and price your items according to what makes you happy.
  2. Have a garage sale pricing list if that makes it easier
  3. If you have stuff you want to give away “Free” make a free garage sale sign for it ahead of time
  4. List your garage sale on Kijiji,Craigslist or the local paper with time, date, address and other pertinent information.
  5. Post garage sale signs in the neighbourhood on mailboxes or even make ground signs with an arrow directing traffic. You can buy signs or if you are wondering how to make your own garage sale signs you can design a garage sale template in power-point and simply print them. You will find garage sale sign ideas on-line  here or use your own creativity, be unique.
  6. If you are selling electronics make it convenient for the potential buyer to test it out or if you have a stereo for sale plug it in and have the tunes going! Might as well party up the early morning folk!!
  7. Be polite to all potential buyers, greet them and tell them you are available if they have any questions.
  8. Be flexible on price of things may not sell
  9. Join up with other neighbours to bulk out your garage sale. You have all seen the drive-bys. I’ve done it, and so will others.. bulk it out and give people a reason to stop. The more the merrier and it makes for an interesting day with others around.
  10. Put all the big-ticket items up front where they will be eye-catching to the people who simply drive up to take a quick peak. Most people will decide with-in seconds whether they want to stop in or not simply by what they see. So don’t hide great items in the back, bring them to the front and market them like a pro would!
  11. Always have change ready for buyers so stock up on small bills and coin and keep it on you. We’ve heard of seller’s money going missing because they get distracted. Borrow or if you have one of those pouches you can tie around your waist as your cash drawer!
  12. Don’t turn anyone away early birds even if they are pushing the etiquette envelope..  money is money, a sale is a sale.
  13. Track what you are selling so you know how much you made for each item in the end and the total of all sales
  14. All sales are final unless specified!
  15. If people ask why you are having a sale, tell them the truth, if you want to get rid of stuff, tell it like it is and you might be surprised how fast it will sell.
  16. Treat a garage sale like a business, think like an owner, play like a customer and you will sell everything you want to get rid of! Marketing and a friendly attitude are the keys to success!
Last week I asked our Awesome Facebook Fans:
What are your tips for people who are about to embark on garage sales whether it be having one or going out to them.. what advice would you give them? What was your best Garage Sale score?
Photo Source
  • Debbie Perkins-hammonds- If you are having a garage sale price stuff to sell. I’d you are buying at one and think stuff is too high and they won’t mark it down don’t buy it.
  • Theressa Hill- My best garage sale buy was a collector’s item cookie jar, creamer set and spoon rest that I picked up for $5 and is worth about $300.
  • Becky Turner-Deslaurier My best find was at a dance studio garage sale where I picked up 1 pair of tap shoes, 4 pair of jazz shoes, 2 neck ties (for my hubby) 2 strands of snowflake decorations, and a large area rug all for free! It was the end of the day, but we felt guilty and gave them $15.
  • Jen Peacock-Remember it is a garage sale, not a second-hand store or eBay. Be organized and lay things out on tables. Things don’t get noticed if they are in boxes on the ground or under tables. Saturday is the best time for a garage sale. Sunday is for sleeping in or church for most people.
So always remember that before you buy new ask yourself if  you think you can pick it up cheaper at a Garage Sale this spring or summer!

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  1. Great ideas of inspiration Mr.CBB, thanks! The prep for garage sales is overwhelming, but I think I’ll give it a shot this summer using your tips. Cheers! 🙂

    1. Hi Lynda,
      Glad to hear you enjoyed my post on garage sales and might use some of the tips. It’s the one time of year where everyone scales down and you may pick up a bargain basement price! Cheers and thanks for your comment. Mr.CBB

  2. Love garage sales…esp when I take the grandkids along..amazing how a 25cent toy can keep them happy for the rest of the day:) Once bought a glass cream and sugar set for $2 ended up finding out it was antique, sold on ebay for over 50 dollars 🙂 thanks for all the great hints!!

    1. You’re welcome Linda I’m glad you liked the post. Oh don’t you like when you find out something you get is worth alot of $$$$… way to go on the cream and sugar set… Cheers and thanks for posting Linda, Mr.CBB

  3. My mom used to drag us “garage saling” all day on Saturdays during the summer. Now that I’m a dad, I think it was just a way to keep us out of trouble for a day. I still can’t pass a garage sale without saying “are we almost done yet?”

    1. Ha, so it wasn’t your thing but I hope it taught you a lesson or 2 about money and finances as a child that you have carried into adulthood. Don’t fear mate.. I don’t like to battle the crowds just like the next bloke, I’m just the driver! I do like what we get though, can’t beat the prices. Cheers Mate. Mr.CBB

  4. Getting ready for the giant garage sale the church where I attend has the Friday and Saturday of the long weekend in May. The proceeds go to send children from the community to camp. It is a very big undertaking, lots of great items to purchase and in the end the sale usually raises between 5000- 6000 dollars. I love going the night before to get some great deals. As church members you get to go in on the Thursday to buy any goodies you find.

    1. That sounds like fun. I’ve been to 1 garage sale in a church and it was huge. I didn’t know where to begin and I didn’t want to miss seeing everything so I took my time. Good for you I hope you snag some good deals this year. Thanks for your comment. Mr.CBB

  5. They are a great way to get rid of things and make a little extra cash. Growing up, we used to do one for the whole block – that drew a lot of people!

  6. lol I thought of my hubby and I when I started reading this! He drives around while I jump out and go to the sales! Great article! Lots of good points…a few I actually didn’t think of myself! lol My parents and I are having a garage sale in a few weeks so we’ll see how that goes!

  7. Great tips. Yes garage sales are great for saving money. At the same time, you have to make sure you are buying things you will really use, not wasting money on something that will just add clutter to your home because it was a good deal.

    1. That goes to say with anything you spend your money on. I do notice what you mean when people start to think oh it’s only .25 or .50.. it all adds up especially if you don’t use it. Thanks for your comment Joanna. Mr.CBB

  8. I think the biggest thing for those doing garage sales is to remember that it is your used stuff and even though you paid $100 for it 2 years ago it is not worth $50. “they” say that you should sell it for 30% of what you paid for it!

    1. A lady was selling her king comforter set she said she couldn’t use because she was allergic. She still had the $249 price tag on the front of the bag from home outfitters. She wanted $125 for the set… nope not going to happen! Good Point Nicola! Mr.CBB

  9. I really love garage sales! Being a single mom of three i get alot of great almost new clothing for cheap!! I have also redid alot of furniture and found it a new home!! Great tips…will be putting them to use!! Thank you!!

    1. Thanks Angela, it’s amazing what you see when you are out there. Sometimes I see stuff which we recently purchased and shake my head lol… Thanks for your comment, glad you liked the post. Cheers Mr.CBB

  10. I like yard sales…but my mother absolutely loves them! She came in my mind right away when you were talking about your wife getting all excited, and waving for you to stop at garage sales lol..too funny! But you can get some awesome deals, and great finds sometimes.
    Great tips!!!

    1. Hey Wendy,
      Yes the Mrs. tends to get excited when she sees stuff she likes. That’s why I say put the good stuff up front because women have deal radars on and can see even before we pull up to the house lol.. Cheers and thanks for your comment Wendy, Mr.CBB

  11. Great tips 🙂 I love garage sales! I picked up a wagon (a little tikes one) for $2!!!!!!! Oh and Mr. CBB I love “boot sales” I’ve been to a few with my aunt in the UK!!!!!

    1. Oh, I didn’t know you had relatives there although we have a huge Indian culture within. When I moved to Canada Chinese food is what people ordered for take out here. In the UK we order Indian food, chips and fish with curry sauce…still waiting for a recipe hint hint.. and back to garage sales, yes we love them you can’t go wrong and I think we will see more people than ever this summer out and about. Cheers Zayba and thanks for your comment!

  12. I love yard sales. Best buy for me was some stereo components that a guy was being forced to sell by his wife. I got 2 JVC receivers, 2 dual tape decks and a nice turntable for $20. Another few bucks at the local 2nd hand shop and I had a nice pair of Pioneer speakers and 2 setups for music and our Wii.

    1. Ya we find some amazing deals, you got an awesome deal on the setup… did you shake her hand hahaha… I don’t get out as much as I like but when I do it’s crazy!
      The wife goes more than I do, she loves it. Thanks for your post Brad.. Cheers Mate!

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