Thursday, April 10, 2014

Writing a Garage Sale List

Twice a year, a master-planned community near my house has a neighborhood garage sale.

I like being able to go to several sales in a short period of time.

I make it a plan to take a list with me. I go to this semi-annual sale with my mom, so I take 3 copies of my list: one for me, one for her, and one to hand to the person having the sale. I don't always use the third one, but if someone asks if I'm looking for something in particular and they have several things for sale, I'll hand them that copy of the list. This has helped me several times. Once, a woman said, "Oh, I had one of those out at my last garage sale and forgot to put it out this time! I'll go get it!" which resulted in this:


A beautiful metal embroidery hoop, with a date on it of 1917. This is definitely my oldest embroidery hoop. I paid $1.50, and it was in a bag with several other vintage items for that price. It's my favorite hoop now (it's actually much smaller than you see here; I love the small size as it prevents my hand my cramping).

Another time a woman noticed I was looking for sidewalk chalk. She had a large coffee can full of it, which I most likely would not have seen has I not given her the list. When I asked how much, she said I could have it for free!

My list does a lot more for me than that, however. I use my list to specifically shop for clothes and gifts for my family.

I write down each person's name in the family, along with what clothing items they need, and the number of items that they need. For the children, I write down anything they need next year and the following year (the next two sizes up). If they still need anything for this year I will include that as well, but in general, I am shopping ahead for them. By shopping for the next two sizes, I am better prepared for sudden growth spurts. It also is important because sometimes it is difficult to find anything in the sizes I need; having two years to find something helps a lot.

For example, one person on my list might look like this:

Cyrus (age 10 1/2)

4 short-sleeved shirts size 14
6 long-sleeved shirts size 14
3 pairs shorts size 14
1 pair dress pants size 14
2 pairs jeans size 14
3 pairs long pants/corduroys size 14
1 tie

7 short-sleeved shirts size 16
6 long-sleeved shirts size 16

Etc., Etc.

By having a specific number of items, I can be certain not to overbuy. I purchase enough for a week's worth of clothing (including church clothes) for both hot weather and cold weather.

I aim to pay 50 cents to a dollar for clothing items. I will occasionally pay more ($4 for a coat, for example), or $2 for a new items with tags on it, but in general, most items I buy are in the $0.50 to $1 range. This means that, in the example above, for a year's worth of clothing in one size, I am out the same price as one brand-new shirt at Target.

(This does not not count socks, underwear, pajamas, or shoes--just other items of clothing. I purchase socks and underwear on back to school sales. I make pajamas, usually repurposing sheets for these. I look for sales on shoes).

Most of my boys' clothing is used, from garage sales as well as hand-me-downs from friends. I like preppy, vintage clothes, and for the boys, it is usually quite possible to find button-down shirts and polo shirts in like-new condition, as these items are worn less often than t-shirts.  I find it harder to buy my girls clothing that I like, but I do find things for them on occasion (especially cardigans and jeans). I love vintage-style dresses, so I tend to make those, but I have found several jumpers and occasionally a few dresses.

Besides clothing, I have other items on the list.

I have listed both types of books as well as certain books that we are wanting. I have often found specific books that we wanted. I use these for the whole family or for individual children. If I plan on keeping it for a birthday gift or a Christmas gift, I put it up until that time. I pay .25 to $1 for most books. (I did buy a few last year for $2 each, that were hardcover books in like-new condition--and they were books on my list).  I will also pick up books in like-new condition for us to give as gifts to friends; these are often books that we already own and my children love, so I know their friends will like them as well. I put those in my gift box.

My list includes items that I know the children would like for birthdays and Christmas. Sometimes I find those items and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I find items that I know they will love that aren't on my list; that's okay, too, of course! (A couple of weeks ago a neighbor on my street was having a garage sale that included several like-new games, all marked $1 each. One was Harry Potter Uno. I've seen that on Amazon--for $53! I bought it and put it aside for Cyrus' 11th birthday later this year).

This vintage Ball jar was a garage sale purchase.

If there is anything I need in the kitchen, I'll put that on my list. Right now, for example, I'm looking for a metal pie server. I have one, but I would like another one for when we have several kinds of pie at once. I have an idea of the style I would like. I'm not in a hurry, but it's an item I would like to have, so I'll look for it.

Any other needs I have are also on there. This year, I am looking for a few bicycle helmets.

I have a few items on my list that I would like for sewing; I am looking for some specific shades of velvet and wool. Often these two items can be repurposed clothing items, so I look for pieces in good enough shape to cut up for those projects (a velvet skirt can offer plenty of fabric to make a girl's dress bodice). I aim to pay $1 for these. Garage sales are also a great place to look for sheets (to use for sewing) and blankets (to use as-is).



The white quilt on my bed was a garage sale find for $15. I have purchased blankets for the children at garage sales, too.

I usually take $35 to $45 with me. Most times, this is money that I've made from my own garage sale. I plan to go to this neighborhood sale in April and October; I might go to one other sale a year (this year I went to three already, as two were on my street and one was two streets over).

My list has also served another purpose for me for the past several years. A friend of my mother's (a woman whose children are long-grown) goes to Oregon and Washington each summer. She loves garage sale shopping while she is there, and she offered to look for things for me before if I would give her a list. She brings back several bags of clothing (usually including a few costumes), along with a list of what she paid for each item. She looks for items in the same price range as I do (most items she picks up for 50 cents each). I email my list to her.

I'll be going garage sale shopping at the community garage sale this Saturday. I'm looking forward to it!


Have you ever written a garage sale list? Do you use garage sales to buy the bulk of your family's clothing?





62 comments:

  1. Garage sales and thrift stores are where I get the majority of clothing for myself, my youngest son, and my grandson. I don't find things for my husband very often but I wait for the sales to buy his clothing. I don't write a list, but when I go I am usually looking for something specific and unless it is a really good buy, I don't usually deviate from it. I love vintage clothing, but I don't like paying a lot of money for it, so garage sales and thrift stores are the best way for me to buy what I love without paying a fortune for it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes im guilty i have a garage sale list, or carboot list , which is what we have in the UK , curtain sizes , wellingtons needed , quiche dishes and blue dinner plates . sheets for repurpose its endless . Heres my underwear horror story from a couple of weeks ago ... http://kayerunrig.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/big-pants.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. We don't have many community garage sales here in the UK but we do have Car Boot Sales when people take their unwanted stuff to an organised sale in their cars and pay about £6 to sell, folk going to look usually don't pay to get in. We only have them in our rural area from April to October, but I do make a list and we will be at our 2nd sale this year at the weekend

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, I keep a list too. I'm not looking for as much as you since my children are grown. At the beginning of each garage sale season, I list the items I am looking for on an index card and keep it in my purse. During the summer, I keep an eye open for these things. It really helps in my search. I can focus a bit better when I am looking at mounds of stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I do as much buying of stuff from yard sales as possible. I like the community ones too- though it can be hard to navigate them when they are so chock full of people!

    I sometimes buy brand-new or like new or name brand things in order to resell them at a local consignment shop. I don't care one iota about my own children wearing Ambercrombie but they earn me a nice chunk of change every year. I'll keep the cheap offbrand things for my own children. (Poor souls. HA!)

    I have not made a garage sale list except in my mind but that often doesn't work well. ;-) I'll certainly be trying it this year. I imagine it would also help with the temptation to buy cool things that you really don't need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely helps with temptation--as well as bringing along a small amount of cash.

      My children like Cherokee brand (from Target). They have been really happy with the fit of Cherokee. I know it shrinks like crazy, but when they get it, it has already shrunk :) They don't know name brands; they just know things that they like and don't like about clothes, and that makes it easy. Super soft shirts are always a hit with my boys and my girls. I look for everyone's favorite colors and styles (my boys love Hawaiian shirts).

      As far as the navigating--my mom has a little car and she know that neighborhood well, so she always drives. She manages to get in and out really well. There is plenty of parking in the neighborhoods there.

      Delete
  6. Hi i do this now after reading a post you did last year..i have 4 lists.
    1, for me
    2, for my mum
    3, for my daughter
    4, for my daughter..
    I re write them and hand them out..my 2 daughters also do lists and pass them out as well..so i look for mine and their's too..its nice to get a bargain for myself and them too..
    I have started to shop for clothes a year in advance too..it helps having 2 little girls who like the same stuff..and passing it down to them..
    thank you for the idea last year..
    sara

    ReplyDelete
  7. I haven't done that much garage sale-ing over the past few years because I found that sometimes, it led to purchases of things that we didn't really need. We have been blessed over the past few years with high-quality hand-me-down clothes from family members (my side of the family has lots of boys, and I have 3 boys), and I have been careful to take care of the clothes as well as possible to stretch them out over the three boys.

    We also ask for clothes for birthday gifts, so between those two things we have done okay. I am starting to hit that stage, though, where my oldest is almost 7 and wearing through the pants that he gets, so he is not getting many hand-me-downs anymore and we have to do more purchasing for him. I tend to have a bit of a different take for us, at least in this season of life - I do purchase brand-new clothing because I know it will be used over several boys if possible, but buy high-quality casual clothes since we homeschool, and wait for really good sales. I usually do not buy shirts or pants unless they are about $5 each, and try to have about a week's worth or so - I don't buy all of this - again, my family members often are looking for ideas for the boys since we have a decent collection of high-quality toys that are being passed down to each child, so I give them a list too of what we need.

    With a 4th child on the way (and this time a girl!) it has been tempting to visit garage sales, but I'm waiting a little because already our family is giving us things. I also have friends who have girls just ahead of me who are wanting to sell their used clothing, so I will probably do that at some point. With a girl, I am much more motivated to make things like little dresses/rompers, etc. I did pop in at one garage sale though recently and was surprised by how affordable the baby clothes were - at $.50 each, some newborn outfits were just a fraction of the cost you would find them in the stores, and many were barely used because babies grow so quickly.

    If we had a big community garage sale that was in one location like yours, I think I would be inclined to do more shopping there. I don't like the idea of having to travel all over the place multiple weekends to find things, and some people's garage sales around here are really junky. I will try to visit a big "nice neighborhood" sale that usually happens every year this year, though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We garage sale almost everything we need for our home and kids. I look around and see that only a handful of items did we buy new. I love artwork. My husband knows to look for signed prints. I have several of these on my walls and they are beautiful, but also an investment. The prices of these gems are worth many more times what we paid for them.

    Last week, we went to one large habitat for humanity garage sale in a large church. My husband needed a new coffee pot or coffee maker to replace the one he broke. A new carafe was $15.00! He bought a new Mr. Coffee coffee maker that is programmable for $7.00. I found a commercial metal juicer for $25.00 with a citrus juicer attachment. The new price is $250.00! Now, both my daughter and I have a juicer that will do all hard veggies.

    If we need craft supplies, I go to the senior center in our town. They have a very small shop with home made items, collectibles and lots and lots of craft supplies and fabric. Stuff is so very cheap there. Yards of fabric for $2.00, .25 for yarn, craft hoops for .25. The other great thing is it's so much closer than the craft store. They also sell quilts and quilt tops that are hand made. Sometimes, it's by raffle.

    I can't wait until Saturdays! My husband is even more excited than me. He knows the value of the dollar at a garage sale and is the best negotiator. If we need it, he will find it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I don't do a lot of yard sales because my husband works on Saturday mornings, and I don't want to drag my two toddlers with me! I haven't made a good enough list when I've gone to consignment sales; I seem to wind up with too much or not enough. I also have trouble with sizing--some 2T pants are too wide but just right in length for my young son, and some are too tight in the waist already but still too long! This year I'm trying to build smaller but better wardrobes. Luckily, my grandmother gave the boys gift cards to Kohl's for Christmas, so I can finish off there.

    ReplyDelete
  10. We don't do a lot of yard sale shopping, in our area many people sell on Facebook groups. I thought about having a yard sale but we don't have many things to sell. We just donate things to our local St. Vincent de Paul Store. Also I trade for things with friends. I was able to get my bread machine completely free this way. I too keep a list of our needs/wants for when I am close to a good thrift store or I spot a good yard sale.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I find garage sales to be hit or miss for clothing. I certainly don't want any more clothes, and my kids' school has a dress code, so many items are not appropriate, and they don't need any more casual clothes, since those were all that they were wearing before entering the school with the dress code! I find that the time and gas spent driving around to the garage sales can be considerable. I do have a list of things to look for, which makes the time spent when I do go a little more focused. Larger and multi-family sales are better options, but they are not as often. I look at resale shops too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I carry a short garage sale/thrift store list in my purse. I watch for things for the grandchildren at garage sales, when my daughter lets me know the items & size.

    Like lifefromtheroof, I found myself buying things we did not really need, so now I carry a list, but I am always on the look out for more canning jars & for more cheese/cake domes to use as cloches in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brandy, at the thrift store, cloches are $2-6, depending on the size. At yard sales, they are 50 cents -$1. Now that I have "some", I can be very, very patient as I acquire more.

      I used to think that more than $2 was "too much", until I looked up the prices of actual glass garden cloches - they start at $42!

      The cake domes are the easiest for me to use when I am overwintering plants, I think because they are a little thicker glass, & the handle reaches above the snow, which brings in more light/heat for the plants.

      Delete
    2. Wow, I never thought about using cake domes in the garden. Fabulous idea! Thanks!

      Delete
  13. I love garage sales. I have never made a list, but I have one this year because you have mentioned this idea in prior posts and I thought… gee that is smart and frugal. My daughter is 7 and I am going to shop for summer clothes for her this year and school/summer clothes for the next two sizes. I wear plus size clothing and those are hard to find at garage sales. Last spring, I found a sale where two sisters and their mother had plus size clothing for sale. Items were $1 to $2 and some were brand new… I stocked up!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always nice when you find a sale that has things in your size. My mom found a sale last year that had a lot of things in her size; she bought a whole lot of items for $1 each. They were in really good shape and were all really expensive brands.

      Delete
  14. When my kids were still at home I yard saled for their clothes - name brands and in the styles they liked. Underwear, socks and shoes were purchased new but on sale.
    Now that it's just my husband and I we rarely yard sale but do shop at a local thrift store where all clothes are $1. I buy all but underwear there and name brands too.
    Lately we've stopped at a few yard sales looking for large garden pots but have found that the prices are only a dollar or two less than new. Clothing prices seem to start at $5 and go up from there. Paperback books seem to be $1 and hardcover $5, kids books that have been well used, even crayon marked, are usually marked at $1.
    My neighbor, who used to yard sale every weekend, has also commented on the high prices and neither of us can understand why. I'm sticking with the thrift store - profits go to the local Center for Abuse and Rape Emergency , a very worthwhile group.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We see garage sale prices like that a lot here; I saw a woman who wanted $25 a pair for her used shoes! When people start saying that they want such a high price and say, "I know what I paid for it"--we walk. My mom's friend sees those sales, too.

      We only buy at the places where prices are low. For the same reason, when I have a sale, my prices are those same prices. At those prices, I can make a good amount of money, because I have more buyers.

      By contrast, the thrift store is $4-$7 an item here. Your thrift store has great prices!

      Delete
    2. I went to a yard sale once which advertised lots of baby stuff. They wanted $120 for a used high chair. Yeah, that's not going to happen.

      Delete
    3. That is so true. I think some people just don't have a clue as to how garage sale items should be priced. However, they do see that their stuff just sits there when priced too high. On the other hand, there are some who price things super low because they don't have a clue either! In both cases, I don't think the sellers have actually been to many garage sales themselves.

      Delete
    4. Isabella, I think that's exactly the situation. The people pricing that high don't shop garage sales and know the going price. I went to a sale this morning and the clothes were $3 to $5.50 each. One of the people there remarked that they had only sold one thing all day (we were there about 11:30 am) and that item was $1.

      She had nice things and could have sold them all that morning had she had lower prices.

      I think a lot of people think their items are worth more because they paid more when they were new, but (as my mom said after we left there) people are looking for a deal when they go to garage sales. If it's not a deal, they'll walk.

      We saw a few sales like that today (one person was asking $10 for pants) and we walked. We saw other sales with items for .50 and $1. We shopped at those sales.

      The point of having a sale is to make money off your items. My mom says, "You're going to get rid of it anyway. You can either make something off it or you can make nothing and donate the item. You might as well make money from the item."

      The funny thing is, you can make several hundred dollars if you price items at $.50 to $1 each and have enough of them. At that price, people will buy lots of things, especially if you have clothes in their size and they like your style.

      Delete
  15. Yard sales (as they're usually called here in MA) often don't have clothing at all; I mostly see kitchen things, kids' sports equipment, and furniture.For clothing, I've started exclusively shopping at Savers (also called Value Village), which is a large resale shop that donates some of its profits to local charities. They have 50% off sales a few times a year, and if you catch one, you can get clothing items for $1-$2; I've bought an entire season's worth of clothing there for my toddler boy for $20. I also buy clothes for myself there; I've found designer jeans and other great buys for $3-$7.

    ReplyDelete
  16. When my kids were young I bought many of their clothes and toys at yard sales. Between hand-me-downs from friends and family, gifts and yard sales, I rarely ever had to buy anything new. Now that they are older and having been married almost thirty years and having pretty much everything I need, I just shop yard sales for fun. I often find books, kitchen items, wall-art, and sewing items. Now that I have grandchildren I pick up toys and picks for them too. So no list these days, just depends on what I see that looks interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I haven't been able to go to Garage sales for the last few years. I am super excited to go this year! I have to make my list of needed items soon. My husband already went to one and bought some useful and very inexpensive items for us.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You go, Brandy!
    I hope you find everything on your list!

    I have to wait another 6 weeks before real garage sale season begins. This time of year, too many households decide to wait until drier weather. But I'm making my list. I shop much like you do (only I've never made a copy for the seller -- brilliant!). My daughters take one side of the street, with my list, and I take the other. I am hoping the lady with all the vintage costume jewelry will have her table out. I only had a small amount of money to spend last year, and couldn't buy all that I wanted.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Until a few weeks ago I had never been to a yard sale. I live in the country and nearest yard sale would be 15 miles away, not something I want to get up early for on a Sat. morning. I was in Jackson MS house sitting for a friend and went to yard sale in sorta empty shoppy center that the local Jr League and a Speech School were having next to one another. It was tons of fun, didn't buy many clothes but a lot of jewelry and toys and Christmas decorations. Some stuff was brand new. You can get great stuff for really cheap at Jr League resale shops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes it just depends where you are!

      I know when I'm in an area I'm not normally in on a Saturday morning and there is a sale nearby, I will stop if I have the time.

      Delete
  20. We have yard/garage sales here pretty much year around. I go out checking sales most every Saturday morning. I have a child care business. I need toys. The children in my care can be HARD on toys. If that toy was cheap from a garage sale it does not upset me to see a broken toy. A toy that I have paid full price for makes me kind of sad to see it broken in a week's time. I try to buy good brand toys. I make sure all toys are safe and clean.
    My children are grown, but I do have 4 grandchildren. I do not buy much clothing for them at the garage sales. I find better deals and better clothes at the local Salvation Army thrift store.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was very hot today; sales here tend to be the most abundant in spring and fall, but especially in spring. Come next month it will be too hot for sales. Even today was pretty hot; I know these are summer temperatures in other places.

      Delete
  21. This isn't a garage sale story but I always think it's funny and your readers might enjoy it. In Australia most local governments have a "hard rubbish day" where you leave your furniture etc. out on the sidewalk and the council comes along and collects it for the dump. My husband's best friend immigrated to Australia as a child, and their entire home was furnished with hard rubbish day cast-offs. His father always goes on and on about what a great country it is, that you can just get everything you need off the street for free!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I spend a lot of time at friend's condo in college town. The weeks when school let's out each semester is great for thrift store shopping and now what I know to be called hard rubbish free shopping. Thoses college kids leave tons of great stuff sitting by dumpsters. I see some folks with pickups full going from one apt complex to another picking up stuff

      Delete
    2. I think that is hilarious!

      I think I would be out looking on that day, though! If they're just going to destroy the item, it might as well get another use it if is good!

      I have put out big items like that before with a "free" sign on them on trash day and they were picked up within the hour.

      There are people here who drive around in the morning here on trash days and pick up furniture items and put them in the back of their truck.

      When I was a child my father got a child's rocking chair for me that way. It was broken. He fixed it and painted it. He had it for years. We sold it at the garage sale last year.

      Delete
    3. I'm certainly not above taking freebies off the street - I've just never had much luck!

      I remember a funny story I heard on the radio a few years ago - This woman and her family were moving into a new home. As I recall due to parking restrictions they had to park the van across the street. They would unload several items from their moving van, and then take a few loads to get them in the house. During this process their dining room table was taken. They were furious - How could someone be so rude as to just nick off with their dining room table in the middle of moving?

      Several months later she was visiting with her next door neighbour, who recounted the story of how she'd found this gorgeous dining room table, just sitting on the curb, and was so excited to bring it into her home and claim it as her own. She couldn't understand why anyone would get rid of such a lovely piece of furniture!

      Yep. One and the same. The dining room table was returned to its rightful owner and there was much embarassment from the (unintentionally) thieving party.

      Delete
    4. We have done that as well...put large items out on the tree-lawn with a free sign on it. Gotten rid of an old exercise bike, an old push mower and my son's old bike that way.

      Delete
  22. I don't buy much at yard sales, mostly because we are a use it up community, and we do see some of those high priced yard sales. I check occasionally and have gotten a few things. It is a race though and it takes a lot of driving. Our clothing mostly has come from hand me downs lately. Neighbors are generous to share their cast offs and then we save the extra we can wear (not modest/style extremes go). Of course having almost all girls helps out here. Now that we stay at home for school, our needs have diminished. I plan on using fabric from the stash to start making things we need. The new we have bought is generally on sale at target (classic pant/shirts) or Walmart for my boy, or crazy deals at Costco ($5 corduroy pants). If I buy new, I can generally get it through at least 4 girls before it is worn out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We hand down items too with 2 boys and 5 girls. I generally only need to buy items for the oldest boy and oldest girl, but occasionally something will wear out and I will need an item for a younger child. I often find more books for all of the children.

      Delete
  23. This is my first comment but I've been reading for a while! I love your blog!

    Something I do at garage sales to get a good deal on baby/toddler clothing is ask how much they want per box/bag of all 1 size- like all the 12-month clothes. They usually are glad to get rid of all the clothes and will say $10-15/box/bag. Between that and half-price day (usually on holidays) at the thrift store, I can get a ton of nice clothes in both seasons for less than $30 a size.

    I also search for toys, books, gifts, kitchen stuff, home decor, and sewing stuff at garage sales and thrift stores- love both!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Making an offer is always good. I had a man offer me $25 for all of the children's clothes I had left one year (about 10:30 am). My mom said to me, "Take it"--even though it was less than I had everything priced individually. Otherwise, I would be left with lots of clothes. She was right. Her opinions is to take all reasonable offers. At least that way you have sold it; it's not taking up space in your house anymore and you have made money off the item.

      Delete
  24. They call them rummage sales here. A lot of folks from Chuch are accomplished rummagers, I am not. I always made my girls dresses; now they sew for themselves. We have a twice yearly clothing exchange at church that I frequented more when the children were younger. We traded clothes a lot between cousins with my children as I did with my cousins growing up. I think I am at the point in life where not really adding things as I am blessed to have sufficient as is.

    ReplyDelete
  25. We also have frequent estate sales, in this area. They are wonderful fun to look at, and I have found many things I really like. I don't care to go to the fanciest houses in town, but the more ordinary, middle class houses often have really desirable items for very reasonable prices. I buy serving spoons, measuring cups, pie servers, and things like that simply because they are well designed or I just like them. If I had a pickup truck I could furnish houses right and left, but I really don't have too many furniture needs at this point in my life. A wonderful source for mixed bags of fabric, craft items, quilting supplies, etc. I bought a big box of fabric at one place and it had yards and yards of linen dish toweling. I sewed hems on two sides and gave a few to everyone I knew. I'm still using mine, and it has to be at least 12 years ago now. When you think of the cost of sewing notions in the stores, you can really make a killing by picking such finds up at sales. I'm sure I won't use all the fabric I now own in my lifetime, and my surviving daughter is not the one who liked to sew and cook.

    We are "use it up" people too--my husband just re-decorated a bird house which was "for show" and is now to be used by birds. It was in my Mom's house and she never used it. Dh and I have been married 52 years, and have never had a "new" bedroom set. We are still using two sets that belonged to his parents, and prior to that had one that my parents bought. We did have one set refinished---at the local sheltered workshop. They do a great job, but are quite slow. We were redecorating the room and could go without the set for 3-4 months without a problem. Now it's our lovely guest room. Many of our dishes and serving pieces belonged to his parents or grandparents!! I enjoy using them, and feel sad if something breaks, but it happens.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have never written a garage sale list, but it is a great idea. I walked past 2 or 3 today on my way to the farmer's market, and I just noticed that my 8 year old is growing out of his pants. He's small, so he's still in size 5.

    However, I have noticed, at his age, not a lot of clothing at garage sales. I see a LOT of girls clothing. Boys after the age of 4 seem to be SO hard on clothing that pants, in particular, don't survive. We did successfully get a bunch of hand me down t-shirts last year, but were unable to pass them on to others (who'd have thought that a 7/8 year old would chew on his shirts when getting his adult teeth??)

    I think this is a great idea though. My almost 2-year old's hand me downs are starting to dry up (he's catching up to the source in age/ size). Sadly, garage sales and thrift store prices are very expensive here in California. Along the lines of $3-7 an item.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I went to a church rummage sale and yard sale today. For $5.50 I got 2 pair of jeans and 6 tank tops for me. That is better than thrift store prices in my area. Other than underwear I have not bought new clothes in 2 years for me.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I had a wonderful day at the local Salvation Army thrift. I got 4 new, with label still on them Rubber Maid divided plates with lids. These make wonderful containers for my husband's lunch. The one we have now is a cheap Ziploc kind and is so warped it leaks. These new ones cost me $1.00 each. I also go several flannel baby blankets. I collect these when I find good one for the fabric. I like to make like weight quilts, (we live in Texas, we don't need heavy blankets) these blankest cost 30 cents each. I got all they had. All were like new. They are about 30" square so almost a yard of fabric for 30 cents. That is a good price. I also got a real leather wallet for myself. It was $1.00 too. What a fine day for deals.

    ReplyDelete
  29. It must be great to live in a place that has garage sales year round. In Canada, garage sale season is from the end of May until about the end of August. It is harder to find clothes as most people are told that clothing doesn't sell well, and so don't put it out. I usually end up at thrift stores or Old Navy for clothes for my son. My daughter loves vintage clothes, so thrift stores are usually where she shops. She refuses to wear name brand anything :) Love it!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. We have never been garage sale people. When we were working, those leisurely cozy Saturday mornings at home together were too precious to waste getting out of bed early to go to garage sales. We've never had a sale, either, partly for the same reason. We've never wanted a ton of strangers at our house at the crack dawn.

    We get rid of things a lot of times by donating them to a homeless rescue mission that uses proceeds from their own sales to buy part of what they need, and to help the working poor who live nearby them. Other times, we run a free bargain column ad in the newspaper for items worth no more than $100. That way, we just deal with one person coming at a time, at an agreed upon time. I HAVE bought a few things from other individuals through the bargain column. A while back I bought several still in the box bras that retail for at least $25 for $10 each. The woman who sold them found them when clearing out her late sister's house. Sometimes you can get an excellent piece of furniture this way.

    I can surely understand why people with rapidly growing children garage sale for clothing, but it just isn't for me. (I confess to something of a squeamish factor, too.) Most all our clothes are bought on very good sales. When you buy good quality classic style clothing and take care of it, it lasts for so many years that the cost per wearing is almost too low to calculate. Right now, my dress clothes are mostly career separates I bought when I was an office manager fourteen years ago. My every day clothes are mostly several years old. When I find things that are perfect for me, I buy in multiples, but that makes them last a lot longer than wearing the same ones over and over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Paula, I have done the same for clothing for myself (most of my clothes were bought 11 years ago and I bought in multiples, too) and I hand down clothes for children, but I do have to buy things for the oldest children (and occasionally a few items for younger children).

      Whether the time is spent shopping at a store, shopping online, or shopping at a garage sale, time is still spent shopping for needed items.

      I don't have sales myself all the time (usually one a year), but making several hundred dollars selling items I no longer need is worth the time to me. We do the sale on our driveway with the garage closed.

      Of course, I've also invited readers into my house and my backyard to see our garden, so I've definitely had strangers in my home!

      Delete
    2. Also, I have been able to buy quality clothing at garage sales, including Lands' End and Rothschild coats. Paying $4-$6 for these coats (the wool coats can be over $100 new) is also totally worth it to me.

      Delete
  31. I have my list, I also call my grown children and ask if they are in need of anything.

    One right now is out of work (company closed) and she can get things for the kids like clothes and stuff but no one thinks of dish towels, bath rowels, curtains etc for running her own.

    Mom and Pop used to haul away storage units that didn't sell at auction...tons of household and clothes in those.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My husband loves garage sales and our youngest daughter loves to go with him. Because we live so far out in the country, and we drive to get everywhere, he can often find sales on his way to wherever his is headed so there's no extra gas involved. He buys very few items. A few things he re-sells, but mostly he will get clothes for the kids if there are any that are inexpensive and fit. They just love doing it. I don't, so I leave it in their capable hands.

    The clothes I get for myself are almost all from gift cards my relatives give me for birthdays and Christmas. My aunt will occasionally give me some clothes she doesn't wear anymore. My husband wears a big and tall size that is very hard to find at yard sales. The Goodwill store is outrageous around here--$5 or more (way more) per item of clothing.

    We find that in the towns nearby, Friday is the better day for yard/garage sales. In one nearby town, Thursday is also becomming a good day. Like one friend commented to me, "Doesn't anyone work M-F anymore?" She was surprised because she sold more on Friday than Saturday at her sale she just finished yesterday. She made several hundred dollars. They plan to buy a play structure for their daughter who is getting a little older and needs a larger structure and they earned more than enough for that.

    We plan to have a sale in 2 weeks. It is worth it to us to pack our stuff in boxes and go to Rob's mom's house to sell the stuff. It's more work, but we get many more customers in town then we do out here in the country. At this point in life, after 31 years of marriage, we actually are trying to send more out the door than comes in. I keep reminding myself there aren't so many kids at home anymore (only 3) so I don't need as much stuff. When we price items, we also are of the mindset that we want to clear out the house. If we get lots of $, it's a really nice bonus, but we want it gone! So, we sell it for low prices. It is also a blessing to those who buy it when they can get things they need for low prices.

    The leftover things go to a local thrift store in town, or we save it for the 4-H garage sale. We make a pretty good chunk of change each year for our 4-H club having a sale (again in town), and use that money to make the club meetings better and for community service projects.

    ReplyDelete
  33. What an excellent article, Brandy! I have read your blog for a long time. You never cease to amaze me at your resourcefulness and wisdom. It's also great to learn from your readers. I don't do much garage sale shopping, but we have been blessed and don't really need much now by way of clothing or household items. This is a great article for future reference, though.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I don't take a list. But I also do not go to rummage sales terribly often. When I do, I never feel the need to purchase "something", which I have found my mother feels she should. If there's nothing I need or want, I just say "thank you" as I walk away. However, my kids are now 20 and 16, and it seems most sales I've found typically have baby and small childrens' items. As my son's grown up I have noticed that it's near impossible to find boys' clothes. Most of their clothing has come from clearance racks or end of season sales, sometimes bought new with great coupon codes combined with sales, such as at Kohl's site. But I do like to go and take a gander now and then, just in case someone's got something that I could use and never gave much thought to.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I don't live in a very affluent area as you do. My community is down-trodden, a victim of the poor economy, if you will, with many of our residents receiving government assistance for generations. So when I do see yard/garage sales, the clothes there aren't very well maintained and reek of cigarette smoke and stained. Needless to say, I rarely shop at yard sales in my community.

    The large yard sales in the well-to-do communities in my area are so well-attended that the 'good stuff' is usually picked over by the time I get there, too high priced. The sellers think that people are gonna pay $5 for a piece of used clothing at a yard sale! C'mon now!! Nowhere to park....so basically, it's not worth my time.

    I'm hard to fit. My son, even though he is almost 10, wears an adult man's size M shirt and an adult man's size 9 shoe! Clothing is one area where I don't need to be frugal. I also dislike shopping for clothes as I despise trying them on!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Kelly, sometimes garage sales have been "picked". I have a friend who has a sale once or twice a year and sells really nice things. There are two women who were regulars at her sales for a few years and then asked if they could have first chance at her sales the night before, which she allows.

    ReplyDelete
  37. By the way ,Brandy, I love your pink zinnias! Are those from this year already?

    ReplyDelete
  38. I do make a list each year of things I'm looking for during that year. Try to think of all occasions I will need things for. The oddest thing on my list right now is the bottom rectangle type tray of a butter dish! We use real butter, and keep two sticks out all the time. One of my butter dishes was mysteriously broken while sitting on the kitchen counter. I kept the lid, and just know one day I 'll find another bottom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I kept the glass cover to a Corning ware French white 2 qt casserole for 5 years after someone broke the bottom. Browsing the goodwill and found a replacement last year. HandP, hold out hope....it could happen.

      Delete
  39. I keep a running list of things we need--either clothing that has been outgrown or worn out and needs to be replaced or appliances that have broken--my Crockpot cracked several weeks ago and I'm dying to replace it but I don't want to pay full price. But, I've never created a garage sale list before, that's really a great idea. I usually stop when I see one but I'm never at one with a purpose.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I only keep a list of books that I need. I keep a spreadsheet in Excel of different series that my kids are reading - such as Magic Tree House or Encyclopedia Brown. The rows are the different series and the columns are the number in the series. I put an "X" in the cell that I already own. This way when I shop at thrift stores or yard sales I don't buy duplicates. I learned the hard way! But I donate the copies to friends or our school if I mess up.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I moderate comments manually, so please allow a few hours for your comment to be posted.

This blog is meant to be a source of encouragement to those who are struggling to put food on the table and make ends meet. Please keep your comments kind and uplifting.