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Top 10 Yard Sale Bargains: What to Buy and How to Save!

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This must have list of top 10 yard sale bargains will save you thousands with all the tips you need on what to shop for at yard and garage sales, thrift stores and craigslist!

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Quick notes on the best things to buy at yard sales and how to save money:

  1. Furniture – make sure it’s solid or can be repurposed with paint or stain.
  2. Home Decor – one man’s trash is another one’s treasure!
  3. Electronics – ask to plug them in or make sure they function well.
  4. Baby items – furniture, clothes, supplies and anything else you might need.
  5. Toys – make sure all the parts are in working condition and age appropriate.
  6. Clothes – make sure buttons and zippers work with no stains or rips.
  7. Seasonal items – stock up on holiday items while they’re cheap!
  8. Books –  yard sales are perfect for adding to your collection, whether homeschooling or reading for fun.
  9. Kitchen products, bakeware and dishes – mix and match is in style so don’t be afraid to pick up a few inexpensive pieces.
  10. Gifts – often times you can find brand new, still in the box, presents for just pennies on the dollar. 

Create a soothing coastal bedroom retreat with these inexpensive DIY beach decor ideas including a plank wall and yard sale treasures!

Inexpensive DIY Beach Decor Ideas

Want to create a beautiful home but you’re short on money and time?

Maybe you think staying at home with the kids isn’t possible because there are too many bills and responsibilities. 

Probably you’re just looking to save a few bucks. 

Either way, I’m here to help!

I was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom for over 20 years, and although we sacrificed many things to make that happen I never felt cheated or like a second class citizen.

In fact, I looked at my job of saving money as crucial to the success of our family through the years. 

A kitchen with a table and chairs

Ranch Style Home Kitchen Remodel

I even used my competitive spirit and eye for bargains to have some fun along the way.

Back in the old days (you know, before COMPUTERS) I read books and magazines and learned all the tricks for squeezing every penny out of the dollar.

How can YOU find ways to have the home you want and still enjoy your life?

Today I want to show you my top 10 yard sale bargains, what to buy and how to save tons of money!

(And even though I’m a work from home business woman now I still go out almost every Saturday during yard sale season! I love a good deal!)

Sound good?

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Here’s my first freebie tip for you.

Stay local and save gas

I try to stay within 10 miles or less of my home to save on gas and group all the sales together as I plan.

Plus, if I find a great deal and need to drop it back by the house I’m close! (Make sure and clean out the car in advance to make room for your deals!)

A couple of lawn chairs sitting on top of a picnic table

I also plan out my route the night before. I use my local newspaper, Craigslist (under garage sales) and an app on my iPhone called Yard Sale Treasure Map and group according to location.

Time is money

I actually use a strange combination of speed shopping and rummaging. As soon as I park the car I’m out the door, scanning over the sale for large items before quickly rummaging through the boxes and tables.

Yardsaling for me is generally not a social activity (unless it means hanging out with my best gal pals.)

Top 10 Yard Sale Bargains - Marty's Musings

In the early years of homeschooling I considered it a learning experience for my kids,  but generally I’m a woman on a mission each Saturday! (Some cities have yard sales on Friday as well so check your ads each week.)

Here are my top 10 yard sale bargains and ways I’ve saved us thousands of dollars over the last 25 years by being a smart yard sale shopper! (These tips can also apply to Craigslist, Facebook marketplace and thrift stores.)

Top 10 Yard Sale Bargains:

1. Furniture 

Make sure that your selection is well made or able to be painted, (chalk painting is the creative, inexpensive answer!), distressed or upcycled. Think outside the box.

This DIY  garden cart (decorated for Christmas) was a $15 changing table. Now it’s an accent piece for our front deck.

A chair sitting in front of a building

2. Home Decor 

Garage and yard sales contain priceless treasures. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure!

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I love buying lamps, pictures, frames, candle holders and knick knacks at a fraction of the cost new. (This post shows how I decorated my home for practically nothing!)

This small coastal themed bedroom is filled with inexpensive DIY projects and secondhand treasures any can do! 

3. Electronics 

You can find some great deals in this area but know what you need and whether it’s compatible with newer computers and gaming systems.

This post gives good advice to always plug the electronics in and test them before you buy them. (My hubby ALWAYS tells me this!)

4. Baby Items 

This includes furniture, clothes, supplies and anything else you might need.

Sales and Garage sale

Price merchandise before you go so you will know if the item is a bargain or exactly what you’re looking for. It’s also possible to get new items to save for baby gifts as well. 

5. Toys 

It seems like almost every sale has a wide variety of toys. Just make sure all the parts are in working condition and age appropriate to the child you’re buying for.

Since I’m a nana now I keep a stash of yard sale toys at my house for my weekly playdates with Aiden and Henry. 

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6. Clothes 

Great deals can be found on clothing but keep a list of sizes, preferences and styles. Always check to see if buttons, zippers and elastic work and make sure the pieces are stain free.

You can also ask yourself (like the KonMari technique) if the clothing sparks joy. Don’t buy it just because it’s a good deal! (Preaching to the choir here!)    

7. Seasonal Items 

Yard sales are great places to stock up on Christmas and holiday decorations. Pick up just a few ornaments or luck up on an entire set of Christmas china. You’ll be amazed at what you can find!

 Yard and Sales

8. Books 

As a homeschooler I always bought a lot of used reading books, text books and games to supplement our curriculum each year.

I also love using vintage or castoff books in my home decor. You’ll spend just pennies compared to new ones.

9. Kitchen Products, Bakeware and Dishes 

Since mix and match is in style collect dishes of all kinds and combine vintage and new without hesitation!

This simple tablescape features a beautiful vintage tablecloth and china, all yard sale bargains picked up at different times. 

A piece of cake sitting on top of a picnic table

10. Gifts 

Are you in the season of life where you need lots of wedding, graduation or baby gifts? Often times you can find brand new, still in the box, presents for just pennies on the dollar. 

Just a few more tips:  It’s helpful to have an idea of the retail prices so you can know if what you’re paying for is really a bargain. Set your price limit ahead of time so you won’t be tempted to overspend.

Keep a wish list of items you’re interested in and even paint chips if you’re trying to match colors.

Now go shopping and save some money!

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What do you think of my list of top 10 yard sale bargains? Anything you would add?

Here are more tips to help you distinguish between trash and treasure!

Yard Sale Tips: Trash or Treasure? from Marty's Musings

Yard sale sign and pricing stickers

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  1. I love going to and having them!lol
    I’m an in and out gal. Scan for any furniture I maybe wanting, or can flip.
    Then straight to the jewellery, buy anything I think is gold or silver, or anything I can take apart and use in my jewellery making designs, mostly good beads.
    Next I look for button boxes and sewing notions and patterns, fabric, etc, even a sewing machine may be purchased, if I don’t already have it!lol
    Vintage anything I can flip!
    Then I look for things for the home!
    This can all be done in 5 minutes or less!
    When I lived in a city, I could do a couple hundred sales in about 4 hours, emptying the truck or van at least once!lol
    I work on smalls mostly now, so no need to unload, usually!!lol
    I live in Cottage country now so I’m looking for old rustic antiques and decor, still do the jewellery thing, as I usually cash in gold and silver every couple years for the cash scrap weight of it! There is money to be made, if you put your mind to it!lol
    Happy Sale’n

    1. Wow, Patricia. You are amazing! You definitely have yardsaling down to an art form. We recently sold my minivan and now I have a small jeep. I have to stick to what I can fit in there! Let me know if you find anything great in the coming weeks!

  2. Garage sales, resale shops, and everything in between. 99.1% of my clothes are garage sale finds. My wardrobe is awesome and I have shoes galore. Most of which are brand names and I bought at next to nothing. My house decor is also GS finds and I am very proud.

    1. Hi Juana, I need to see your shoe collection! I have a harder time finding shoes for some reason even though I’m a size 8. It seems to be hit or miss for me. I love the satisfaction of dressing well without spending hardly any money. I think it’s a blessing and a gift. Great job!

  3. When I down sized and needed to get rid of about 75% of my belongings…literally, at my first big garage sale u grouped things in boxes or big shopping bags. My ultimate goal.was not to make mone, but to get rid of stuff, and get some cash too. So in each box or bag I had 1 high quality thing and a few cheaper things. Ie: a lamp, a couple of books, deck of cards $5; in another, I had a high end neck massager, 2 pricks of good silk flowers, 3 tupperware $10; my whole box of misc resisting $7.50; etc….. Only one person complained “what if I just want a deck of cards?” I said go to Walgreens! 🙂 . Bit I got rid of Everything! And made a few hundred dollars!

  4. Love your tips, and I do use many of them already, too! I enjoy finding community or city-wide sales. Most times these are advertised in the local paper before the event. Military bases have them, usually twice a year, and military folks move a lot and buy new stuff with each move so you can find incredible newer furniture and ‘stuff’ for very cheap! I take a list of my kids (i have 6!) current sizes in shoes and clothing, and while I’m shopping I think ahead to the next season and can usually guess about what size they’ll be then. This is especially important to do in the fall, when sales are declining due to the outside temperatures. Thanks for your tips, hope mine was useful too!

    1. Hi, Tonya! Love your yard sale tips! You and I think a lot alike. I have 5 kids (youngest is 17) so I understand how important it is to know sizes and be organized. You’re doing a great job! Thanks for visiting and hope you’ll stick around for more of my thrifty finds and tips. Have a blessed day!

      1. I’m having my first yard sale next weekend. I enjoyed your post. Now I’ll know how to group items in my displays. I have 3 kids (5 years, 2 years and 1 year). We are overloaded in baby clothes. I have a good amount of boutique brands, some never worn with tags. Am I thinking realistically if I want at least $5 for those? should I price them for what I want or add a few dollars for hagglers? I look forward to hearing your opinion! Thank you!

  5. I am very disappointed with your site. I can’t see hardly anything with all the ads popping up and when I try to download a picture of the recipe it doesn’t work and when I copy the recipe I get 12 pages. So please remove me from your mailing list.

    1. Hi, Judy. I totally understand about the ads, but unfortunately, that’s one way I can provide my content free to all my readers. I spend countless hours at my full-time blogging job and ads provide part of the income necessary to even begin to pay the expenses associated with owning my piece of the internet. If you right click on any picture you then have the option to save the image and print from there. You shouldn’t have to copy the recipe because each recipe has a print feature that you should be able to use which would only be one or two pages depending on the length of the recipe. If you have any other questions about a particular recipe feel free to contact me again.

      As far as unsubscribing, at the bottom of every email you receive from me there is the option to unsubscribe and you can click from there. Thanks.

  6. Great ideas i am going to start yardsaling. I can sew and i want to quilt. I am sure i can find fabric even clothes to use. I need night tables i need to look for those. Chalk paint seems thebway to go. Nowbwe are both retired i want to work on my house.

    1. Hi, Dawna. I find fabric all the time at yard sale but I’m not a seamstress so I usually pass. But definitely clothes when you can find them dirt cheap! Good luck as you work on your house!

  7. I love the background wall with the assorted wood colors. What did you use? It looked to perfect to be pallet wood. Thanks you

  8. I bought an old mahogany dining room with claw feet table for 50 dollars and need ideas how to refinish it to match my perwinkle walls and white furniture. Any ideas?

  9. Great tips – I never even thought about using an app to map out garage sales! These days the house is full to the brim with stuff; I sure do miss the good ‘ol days of garage sale-ing!

  10. So many valuable tips. Thank you, Marty. I absolutely love going to thrift stores for a bargain. Sadly we don’t have yard sales here in South Africa anymore. It’s too dangerous. I miss them, especially when you can connect with the seller and find out a little more about the history or emotions behind whatever they’re selling

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