Sunday, April 11, 2010

Garage Saling begins! Thoughts and Tips =)

Through the winter, I try hard not to shop in stores for toys and extras for the kids. I try to remind myself that garage saling season will come again in the spring. Sometimes I'm good at staying out of stores and other times I'm not. Christmas and birthdays have traditionally been the one time we've bought new toys for the kids and bought them used toys the rest of the year at garage sales, for the most part. It's been a little different with Eli, because he's a boy. My husband has a very soft spot for buying him trucks and cars--because he loves them too and because he loved Matchbox cars as a kid.

Eli's birthday is in 2 weeks. It's hard to believe he will be turning 2! We've been in a lot of stores lately because my husband hasn't felt like he has enough "boy" toys. Most of the toys we have were bought for the girls. Although, once I discovered we were having a boy, I did try and start collecting the "boy" little people toys like the trucks and construction set. Still, my girls have loved My Little Pony and are now getting into dolls and Barbie (in a very limited way).

I was so excited for the beginning of Garage Sale Season here yesterday. Only one neighborhood was having a sale, but I knew a group of moms that were having one as well. So, we headed out--my garage saling partner, the kids, and me. The first neighborhood only had a few, but we stopped by one that didn't look promising. It turned out to be the first treasure of the day. =)

10 Thomas the train take along trains for $3 and 3 Thomas DVDs for $4.

Next, we went to one around the corner and found the exact Tonka playset I had wanted for Eli at Target the night before (that my husband wasn't sold on) for $2. It was $23 at the store. I was so thankful--and Eli's been playing with it ever since.

Finally, we went to the one where a group of moms were. I found a Little Tikes outdoor picnic table fore the kids for $5 and several Hot Wheels City Sets so Eli can have roads to drive his Matchbox cars on (or should I say so my husband can drive them with him =) ) for $3. I found several other small treasures, but each of these treasures have been a blessing to us. My kids and husband have enjoyed them. I am very thankful that the Lord used these folks at the Garage Sales to bless us =) with fun toys we could afford.

I am so glad Garage Saling season has begun.

My Garage Saling tips:
These are a few things that I've found to be helpful...

What I usually aim for price wise is about 10% of the retail cost when I am buying toys or household goods. I've found that it is a pretty good estimate of what I'm willing to pay and what seems reasonable.

Clothes: If they smell like smoke, wash them with oxiclean and your regular detergent. The smoke smell will come out. I try to stay away from other things that smell like smoke, though.

I choose to first go to neighborhoods or larger garage sales to make wise use of my gas.

If I offer a price and the seller isn't willing to haggle or thinks my price is way too low, I kindly tell them good luck and that I hope they have a nice day--rather than being offended if they are snobby or snippy about my offer.

Price for clothes. There are so many little kids clothes. Many people feel that clothes are worth more if they are Baby Gap or Gymboree. But, the clearance clothes at Target are brand new and often cost the same as some people ask for clothes at garage sales if they are worth a lot to them. I feel that it is wiser for people who want a lot of money for their clothes to take them to a consignment sale or a consignment store. Garage sales don't generally charge as much for clothes. I try to take into consideration whether or not I really need an item. Last week, I paid $4 for a winter coat for Autumn for next winter because it was something I really need for her. Normally, I won't pay more than 50 cents for a pair of shorts, shirt, or pants. If it's a coat, I'll offer between $1 and $5. I try to pick out several things at one time and make a bulk offer. If someone wants a lot of money for their clothes, though I don't generally look. I don't want to offend them and I don't want to be offended. It seems the wise thing to do.

Toys and plastic items: Baking soda is my best friend when it comes to these items--a damp rag and some baking soda will rub off just about anything. It also is a natural and safe disinfectant for children's toys.

Some baby items: I wouldn't buy a car seat from a garage sale unless you knew the person and it hadn't been in an accident and was less than 5 years old. The infant seats I've seen are usually about $20 for a Graco and $5 for an extra base--if they're in great shape. Otherwise, $10 if the cover on the car seat needs a lot of washing. This is one of those items though that I don't think I would buy used. There are strict regulations about them now and Thrift Stores aren't legally allowed to resell them anymore.

But, back to the 10% rule. $10 or $15 is a great price for a high chair in good shape. $20 is a good price for a baby swing that retails for $100 and is in good shape. I've bought them for $10 or $15, but I've seen them as high as $35 (way too high).

Consignment stores sell things at 50% of the retail price. I think that's usually the rule of thumb. I'm not sure what the rule of thumb is for the new wave of consignment sales. Does anyone know what the recommended pricing is? I do keep this in mind when I'm shopping because when someone asks for $3 for a Thomas DVD that costs $5 new, that's too high a price to me.

The price does depend on how old something is. If it's an older pack 'n play--I'd pay $5 at the most. But, if it's a new one with all the bells an whistles $10 is a good price, I think.

I'm sure there's a lot more that I could write, but I'm afraid I've begun to ramble!


  1. Probably a dumb question, but how do you find out where the yard sales are located?

  2. Not a dumb question at all--the Aegis. =) The weekender doesn't list most of them. It's the actual Weds and Fri. papers. I'm sorry I haven't told you that sooner! If you want me to, I can email you each week on Friday and let you know what communities are listed for that weekend.

  3. Thank you. That would tremendously helpful. BUT, only if/when you have time. I really am going to get a subscription soon. :)