May 18, 2012 Sara Keenan
Kansas City's Savvy Shopper
It’s Garage Sale Time!
This weekend is the annual neighborhood garage sale in my area (Armour Hills near Brookside). I love this time of year! I am not an avid garage saler…I don’t go out every weekend looking for deals. But one or two weekends each year I enjoy looking for a bargain among my neighbors cast-offs. Not only is it a good way to save money, but the kids love coming along to spend some of their allowance on toys that they wouldn’t be able to afford in the stores. Here are a few things I look for at garage sales…
- Toys! This is my number one garage sale category. Toys are so expensive and kids seem to tire of them quickly and want something new. I love being able to find a gently used toy for $1 that my kid will play with for a few months. I usually give my kids each a few dollars to spend while we walk around and they also enjoy picking out treasures.
- Books. A lot of people skip right over the book section at garage sales, but it is one of my favorite go-to spots. First I look for kids’ books. Like toys, they are SO expensive if you buy them in stores. But if you can happen upon a treasure trove of children’s literature at a garage sale you can usually walk away with a whole summer’s worth of reading for less than $10. I also look for books for myself…I got a book last year at a garage sale that I had sitting in my Amazon cart. It was going to be $20 to buy it on Amazon and I scored it for $1!
- Outdoor toys. Bikes, scooters, sandboxes, push toys…these things are all major scores if you can find them at a garage sale.
- Baby Gear. I don’t need baby gear anymore but back when I had babies I got up EARLY to scour the neighborhood for a jogging stroller one year and found a great deal! Since babies grow out of things so quickly you are likely to find things in great condition.
- Kids’ Clothes. This is my last category because I can usually find pretty great deals on kids clothing by shopping clearance sales in stores. BUT, I think when you walk up to a garage sale you can tell if the clothes are worth looking at. If you can find a house with the right size clothing for your kids and those clothes are in good condition, jackpot!
Things I don’t buy at garage sales as a rule are knick-knacks, appliances, adult clothing, DVDs (learned my lesson one year when I brought home a couple of scratched ones), and household items in general. It’s not that I have anything against buying these things at garage sales, but they just aren’t a priority for me either because we don’t need them or because the hassle of buying second hand isn’t worth it for me.
In general my advice is to make a list of a few things you are looking for and target those items at each sale. You may happen upon something fabulous that you weren’t looking for and by all means…snag that bargain! But things usually go much better if you have a plan in mind. Happy shopping!