When it comes to yard sales shopping, there are a few unwritten rules that we all abide by. Most of us learn by going to yard sales and some of the rules are passed down from generation to generation. If you are new to yard sale shopping, you might want to check out the list of do’s and don’ts below to make sure that you know what you are getting into before shopping at local yard sales.

13 Do's & Don'ts of Garage Sale Shopping Click To Tweet

1. Do Get There Early

When it comes to yard sales, the early bird gets the worm. Getting to a yard sale early is the only way that you can ensure that you get first dibs at the good stuff. Valuable and rare items are usually the first to go, so you’ll want to get there early if you’re looking for a good deal. Remember, you’ll want to hit up the most promising sales first.

2. Don’t go alone

Going to a garage sale alone is like going to a wedding just don’t do it. Shopping with a friend is a lot more fun, plus you’ll have someone to help you carry that to-die-for mid-century-modern chair you just bought. Grab a couple of coffees and hop in the car with your yard sale-ing BFF and hit the road!

3. Do Plan Ahead

There are several websites and mobile apps that you can use to plan and route your yard sale-ing adventure. The Garage Sales by Map mobile app  displays all of the yard sales around you on a map & it provides directions to each sale. This way you can plan out your entire shopping trip ahead of time.

4. Don’t pass up community yard sales

Community & neighborhood yard sales should be at the top of your list. These sales usually have many homes participating making it a one stop shop for garage sales.


5. Do carry small bills

You’ll want to be sure to carry lots of small bills, ones & fives are perfect for yard sales. Bills of $20 and above can be hard for yard sale hosts to break, especially early in the day. Save the larger bills for when you intend to make a bigger purchase of furniture or lawn equipment.

6. Don’t be afraid to negotiate

Bartering is part of the fun of yard sales. As uncomfortable as it may be, it never hurts to ask if the seller can offer a better price. If you are purchasing several items, you can ask for a bundled price. The best time to negotiate with a seller is towards the end of the sale. They are much more willing to negotiate on price as the day draws to a close.

7. Do know what things cost

Getting a good deal is the name of the game when it comes to yard sale shopping. In order to determine if something is a good deal, It’s important to know what things cost.  You can check out our pricing guide for some general prices on common items.

8. Don’t be rude

Garage sales can be stressful for sellers. Do the seller a favor and be courteous and polite in your exchanges with them. Nobody likes a rude ralph. You never want to insult the seller by making negative comments about the items or harass them about pricing. The nicer you are, the more willing the seller may be to give you a deal.

9. Do check items for rips, tears, etc

One mistake that some garage sale shoppers tend to make is to forget to give the item a once over for rips, tears, or cracks. There’s nothing worse then getting home with your new items and finding out that there is a stain that you missed. Use this 8 point yard sale inspection checklist to make sure that the quality meets your standards.


10. Don’t buy items you won’t ever use just because it’s a good deal

It can be tempting to buy something *just* because it’s priced right. But if it’s something that you’ll never use and will just take up space in your home, then you are better off leaving it for someone else to purchase.

11. Do look for reselling opportunities

As a true yard sale addict, you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to resell a yard sale item. Sites like Craigslist, Ebay and Facebook buy/sell groups make it very easy for your to turn yard sale finds into a moneymaking opportunity.

12. Don’t put down something you want to buy

If you find something you like but aren’t sure you want to buy it, hang on to it! Do not put it down until you are absolutely certain that you will not be buying it…otherwise another shopper can come in and swoop it up while you make a decision.

13. Do visit multiple yard sales

You would be doing yourself a huge disservice by only visiting a single yard sale. It’s important to remember that yard sale shopping is an adventure that can take you to many cities and many miles. The more yard sales you visit, the more opportunities you have to find that one thing you’ve been searching for all of your life.


The 13 Do’s & Don’ts of Garage Sale Shopping