Friday, June 29, 2007

Follow The Neon Signs

I have been doing my Bunz O' Steel exercises all winter long preparing for Summer time. Not because I want to look good in a swimsuit (for that I would have to do Body O' Steel) but because I want to look good while assuming the rummage-and-find position: Yes folks, it is summer, and summer means YARD SALES or GARAGE SALES. Oh how I loves me a good yard sale. I like to think that when I shop at yard sales I am contributing to the recycling process and keeping our landfills clean (ok, not really, I just love cheap junk). The best is when I find stuff new, or things I have been wanting to buy but couldn't afford. I'll never forget finding the leapfrog toy. As a new, and rather poor, mom I had been browsing a children's toy catalogue wishing I had the money to buy from it. Then I saw it. A Leap Frog Phonics Writing Desk. At the time it cost $30 and that was an impossible amount for me. I wanted Cookie to have it, though, and decided to save up for it. I clipped its picture from the catalogue and stuck it to my fridge as a reminder to count my pennies. It sat on that fridge for 3 months. One sunny Saturday I was out running errands and happened on a yard sale. I stopped to look around and while rummaging through a big box of toys I saw it. It looked brand new! The amazing toy that was going to make my daughter a child prodigy was just sitting there in someone's front yard. There was no price tag. I cringed. They would probably want more than I could afford. I calmed myself down and tried to remember all the yard saling tactics my mother had taught me as a child. I lifted it up and lazily called to the lady sitting in a lawn chair, "Hi, this one doesn't have a price tag. How much do you want for it?"
"Oh, how 'bout a buck?" I almost choked. Stay calm, stay calm.

"Ok, I think I'll take it then."
That $1 toy lasted through 3 children. And that, dear friends, is why I like to yard sale.

Tips for yard saling:

1. In the summer time plan all your errands for early mornings on Fri and Sat. That way you are already out and about and can get the most for your gas. Do grocery shopping at the very end.

2. Keep your eyes alert and slow down at all intersections. You never know when you'll see some neon or an arrow. Make sure the signs you follow look fresh and new. You don't want to drive around looking for last week's sale.

3. You can yard sale with kids. Mine are always willing to sit in the car because they know when I come back I will usually have a new little toy for them. (most yard sales have a little 10 cent toy bucket)

4. If you see something you really like but the price is too high just ask yourself, "At what price would I be willing to buy this?" Then offer them just a little bit less than that. That way you have a little wiggle room to go up. If they don't meet your price then just say, "hmmm, I'd love to buy it, but I just can't at that price. Thanks anyway" They will understand.

5. If there is an item that you REALLY want but they wouldn't come down on the price then get their phone number or give them yours and say "If you don't happen to sell it and you are willing to go down to my price later, please call and let me know"

6. When buying kids clothes I usually go through the stack and find what I want. Then I wait till there is no one else near and I quietly approach the salesperson and say, "Hi, I know that you want $1.00 a piece but I usually only pay 50 cents each for kids clothes. Would you be willing to sell to me at that price?" I am very fair about the prices I offer. And I set my offering prices based on what I see at other yard sales. If they say no I know I can wait and find things at that price elsewhere. I will pay more depending on the quality and newness.

7. Don't hesitate to rummage and dig. Often times people just toss a bunch of small stuff in a box (like my Leap Frog toy) and you never know when you will find a treasure underneath a bunch of junk.

8. Before you start yard saling think about the things you need or want. If you truly have a need say a prayer before you go. I know this may sound hokey but I have too often found things that I really needed in answer to prayers. I'll never forget my sister in law's lamps. She was pregnant, newly married, and very poor at the time and was trying to furnish a new apartment. We went out and at one sale she found a lovely green lamp for $3. 2 yard sales later she found its exact match for $2. They would have cost her at least $50 if she had bought them at Wal Mart and they would not have been as nice. She was so happy she almost cried. When I was expecting Cookie I was able to get everything I needed for her (crib, highchair, clothes, books, walker, strollers, etc) for $100 and all in one weekend.

9. When in doubt walk away. We can all use less junk in our lives, so if you are sitting there thinking, "I don't know.... should I buy it?" then the answer is probably, "NO".

Now get out there and find yourself some neon signs and follow those arrows till all your cheap junk dreams come true!


Misty said...

Yahd Friggin Sale!! That looks like where I;'m from....... BACK EAST BABY!!!

Sion said...

Ooh! Love these yard sale tips! =)

BTW, regarding your comment, the melamine plates and cups are in the upper right corner:

Montserrat said...

That's one thing I miss about wher we live now (30 minutes from the nearest town) is being able to Yard Sale.

Cellista said...

I haven't gone to yard sales in ages! I'm too busy trying to declutter junk we already have:) I don't have the patience to sort through more in the hopes I might get a spectacular deal. Of course I rarely have a free Saturday I could even go. It's like today, I'm stuck here with 3 kids and no car for awhile.

An Ordinary Mom said...

I need to start hitting more yard sales. Thanks for the reminder :) !!

Scribbit said...

We get bikes from garage sales--best place in the world for them.

This is the first time I've heard of buns o' steel helping out at garage sales :)

Inga said...

I love garage sales!!! I really liked your comment about praying before you go. I have never done that but I will from now on. Very cute blog.

LizzyP said...

Thanks for the tips! I love them. And I'll try them out. Wish me luck!

Jen said...

I'm not much of a yard saler myself, except for hosting the occasional one. I don't usually get out the door early enough. When I do go, I usually look for books, and I try to avoid bringing the kids with me, or else we end up with lots & lots of junk.