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It’s that time again…the beginning of spring and of yard sales!  I get giddy just thinking about waking up early on a Saturday morning, putting hot, strong coffee in a take along mug, and heading out in my van, extra seats removed, to the nice neighborhoods north of me.  Here, on sunny weekends, I can always find several good yard sales.

Why go “yard saling”?  Well, first of all, it’s the frugal way to decorate your home!  I obtain many needed or wanted items for my home at yard sales…all purchased at rock-bottom prices and in decent condition, simply because someone wanted to get rid of them.

Here are some of what I call my “golden finds”:Our kitchen table and chairs, purchased for 100.00 total.  What a blessing to find a set that matched my existing décor, and finally be rid of the used, 80’s formica table and chairs I’d had for 4 years!   (No, it does not look like the picture all of the time.  It usually has several used glasses and some schoolbooks strewn across it!)

My Kirby vacuum, with all attachments, manual, and full bottle of carpet shampoo.  The price was $100, I asked “How low will you go on this?”  and got it for 85.

My Hoover vacuum…so I would have an extra one for upstairs, purchased for 1.00.  The man also gave me several extra vacuum bags with it.  It is old and not made to last as long as a Kirby.  But for 1.00, I will use it upstairs as long as it lasts, then guiltlessly toss it as the cost per use is practically nothing!  I have had this for two or three years already.

My Homedics sound machine…I love to sleep with the sound of crickets or the ocean, but would never pay full price for one of those.  But for $3.00?  Certainly!

Jeans for my husband…in his size, Levi’s, with the tags still on, for $2.00.  I almost wanted to offer her more!  This, of course, was a one-in-a-million find, but we are always on the lookout for those!

My daughter’s pretty bedspread and shams that perfectly matched her room…the lady was asking $27.00.  I offered her 20, and she said, “Well, I paid over $100 for this set…could you at least give me $22?”  I gladly obliged, and saved $5.00 just by asking!

My living room chairs were found at a large, neighborhood yard sale my husband and I attend yearly.  We drive into the large neighborhood right at 8:00, when the sale starts.  On this particular day, I saw them…the chairs that would match my living room perfectly, and balance it out.  They were $100 for the pair.  We drove by, because we had a budget for this sale, and the price would put us over.  Several times throughout the morning we passed that driveway where they chairs sat with their sign.  Just as we were about to leave the neighborhood, I saw it!  The sign had a large, red slash through it and “50% off!”  I screamed, a scream of joy, and asked my husband to stop the van.  I knew we had enough for the chairs, and soon after, they were sitting in our living room.

Some other neat things I have found at yard sales are Tupperware items I needed, super soaker water guns for the kids for summer play, a large bike rack for our garage, candlesticks, wall art, gift bags, designer couch pillows (for $1.00!), and many other big or little things I needed!  Purchasing these things at 1/3 to 1/10 the cost, or less, has helped our family budget while allowing us to have a colorful, decorated home, supplies we need, and sometimes, clothes and toys.

Some tips to remember when “yard saling”:

1)  Ask yourself, “If I buy this, will it end up at MY yard sale in a year?”  If so, don’t buy it.

2)  Look up areas having many yard sales the day before.  Try yardsalesearch.com or craigslist.com.

3)  Remember the proverb, “The early bird gets the worm.”  That’s true of yard sales, too.

4)  Carry small bills.  There’s nothing as embarrassing as holding up an item marked $10.00, saying, “Would you take $5.00 for this?” and then handing them a $20.

5)  Learn to haggle.  Hold up the item, look the seller in the eye, and offer your own price (usually ½ to ¾ of what they are asking).  If they say no, and you still feel the item is worth the price they’re asking, you can purchase it.  If it’s not worth it to you, say, “Ok, thanks!” then smile, and politely set the item down.

6)  Accept minor flaws.  My 85.00 Kirby vacuum has some scratches and dents.  My chairs had stains.  So I cleaned them.  Other items, I have painted (a can of spray paint is a yard sale decorator’s best friend!).

7)  If you like high end decor items, purchase from estate sales, not yard sales.  Expect to pay more.

8)  Go to yard sales in well-maintained, reputable neighborhoods.  My favorite yard sales are in neighborhoods nicer than my own.  I usually find that in these types of neighborhoods, the items are very clean and well-maintained.  Let those people pay full price for the items, get tired of them, then sell them to me.  It’s like buying a used car.

9)  Be patient.  It has taken me years to decorate my home with yard sale finds, and I’m still working on it!  But with regular hunting, you really will find many things you have said you needed but couldn’t afford.  Happy Hunting!

Added bonus:  Take your husband along for an inexpensive “date morning.”  Or spend quality time “yard saling” with one of your teenagers.

Wife and homeschooling mother of three, Kim enjoys reading, writing, and watching old movies.  A self-proclaimed chocoholic, she also loves to cook and bake.  You can find more of her musings (and recipes) at thedaisymuse.com.