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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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72 Comments

  1. Good tips, I love going around looking for garage sales during weekend I have found so much of Christmas decorations & lights at yard sales. They are much much cheaper than buying in store. I have also found lots of toys & craft stuff. Though I have bought lot of stuff at yard sales, I usually don’t like to buy clothes. I also found great plants from a good gardener, the tomato plants I bought were better than nursery plants!

    1. Hi, Nirmala. I do like buying clothes at yard sales because if they don’t fit it’s usually only $1 I’ve wasted! Congrats for finding plants! That’s amazing!

  2. I’ve gotten my 9 year old hooked! It’s our weekly summer outing. Last year when we found out I was expecting, we happened upon one on the way home during our weekly haul. It was the last day of the sale, about an hour left, and the woman was selling two buffet tables stacked and lined to the seams of baby clothes. After small chit chat, I asked her how much she wanted for all clothes. $20 later, packed up Explorer with baby clothes through age 4T, doll beds, and some Rubbermaid bins. I will never go on first day. The last day, people are just wanting to get rid of items so they don’t have to store, or take time to go and donate!

    1. I love that story, Lorelei! You are definitely right that people “usually” want to get rid of it bargain cheap at the end, but sometimes they’ll be stubborn and rather give it away than take less. You can save so much money and I also enjoy the thrill of the hunt! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you, Gael. Generosity is such a great quality and I hope the things we donate are able to be used for great ministry purposes. Thanks for visiting!

  7. Garage sales can be such a huge help for keeping the budget down… if self control is used. 🙂 It’s like a big treasure hunt… but it is also work. They are a big blessing.

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  10. When I go thrifting, garage saling, or to a swap meet, I always go with a list of things I REALLY need. Specific articles of clothing – who they’re for (son, daughter, hubby) & size (I usually like to have some of the next size up laying in wait for my kids for when they start to outgrow what is in their closet & drawers so there isn’t quite so much pressure to redo an entire wardrobe in one feld swoop post growth spurt). But if I need some patio furniture, or another piece of furniture for a specific purpose, it helps me to have written it on a list before I leave so that I can focus better when I’m out and about. This might be just me as I am easily distracted by cool stuff that I wouldn’t ever be able to make use of otherwise…

  11. i agree – would much rather visit a yard sale then have my own. that changing table is lovely, can’t wait to see what you transformed it into! When you share that post, if you remember, stop by and link to our creative challenge upcycle party – it’s month long and posts every friday! Thanks for partying with us at Snickerdoodle Sunday!

  12. I love garage sales and these are some great tips! I really love buying baby items because we use many of them for such a short time that I just hate to pay full price!
    Thanks so much for sharing at Share The Wealth Sunday!
    xoxo
    Lisa

    1. Thanks, Lisa. I never ever paid full price for baby things and my daughter doesn’t either unless she absolutely has to. There’s just no need! Have a great weekend!

  13. I love yard sales! You never know what you might find. Most of mine in my area are in May, but a church in town always has a huge one. I am looking forward to going. Thanks for sharing on Small Victories Sunday Link Up!

  14. Great post! Pinned and tweeted. Thank you so much for bringing such a masterpiece to our party. I hope to see you tonight at 7 pm. We can’t wait to party with you! Lou Lou Girls

  15. I love yard sales, the ones near me are usually multi family which are awesome. If I am looking for toys or electronics I generally bring four of each size batteries with me just to test out the product to see if they really do work. I have had problems in the past with taking people at word that certain things work so I try to be prepared. I’ve told my friends this and they have also found this helpful.

    1. Hi, Nicole. That is such a great idea to take batteries with you. My husband always makes me plug things in or have the seller show me it works. If it’s a $1 or so I really don’t worry about it but your idea is a great one!

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