Thursday, March 29, 2012

Garage Sale Hunting for Vintage: Tricks and Tools of the Trade

 

Thrift Store prices continue to rise. We want the best vintage at the lowest prices, I've written about flea markets, but another favorite alternative is going to yard sales. Every item pictured above is from garage sales in my neighborhood! Spring is here, so let's get hunting!

In this post I've rounded up fun tips and free tools to help you find the best vintage at Garage Sales:

1.    Hunt in Historic Areas

I live in a Historic part of town and encounter vintage in neighborhood yard sales often. Best thing: it’s higher quality and cleaner than flea market finds because it came straight out of the house.

2.    Look for Sales in Retirement Communities

This should go without saying. Older people means the potential for sales featuring the old goodies we love.


3.    Get the Seller’s Information


If a seller has a lot of vintage out at the sale, they probably have even more they’re willing to part with somewhere in their house. Let the garage sale vendor know you buy vintage and exchange information with them. This is one of the best ways to yield lots of quality vintage!

4.    Use Yard Sale Hunting Tools

You can hunt for yard sales that carry the exact vintage items you desire! On the PC I like Yard Sale Treasure Map. For iphones and Droids I like the Mogasa Garage Sale Treasure Hunter.


The AP is completely free and downloadable for androids and iPhones, click the links if you'd like to try them out on your phone. The AP has over 47,000 National garage sale listings, allows you to create a map so you can drive from sale to sale with ease. I like the Indiana Jones vintage treasure hunter design, too!

Mogasa/Penny Saver USA also has Garage Sale Classifieds (go here to post an ad) for you to peruse.  

I use garage sale hunting tools because I can type in keywords like "estate sales", "vintage", "mod", "antiques" and "mid century modern", to find the antiques I crave.


5.    Don’t be Shy about Discounts

Ask for group deals and discounts. It never hurts to ask! Most people are in it to get rid of old junk and not make a profit, they love it when people ask to take more off their hands.

Speaking of Yard Sales: I'm participating in a massive group yard sale in front of Treasure House this Saturday, the 31st. Come down for amazing deals on vintage and more, we're all vintage resellers trying to unload stock. I'll tons free and cheap stuff available. :)

Question: What tools, tricks, and tips do you use when it comes to garage sale hunting! 'Tis the season.

Disclosure: The Mogasa Garage Sale iPhone/android ap is a sponsor. Contact me if you'd like to be a Thrift Core Sponsor.
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26 comments:

  1. I actually have lots more experience with holding yard sales than shopping at them. But my number one rule for getting the best deal out of me is, "Don't insult the merchandise." But if you bond with me over how much you love something (but just can't afford my price) I'll make sure you leave with it.

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    1. I feel the same way about not insulting the merch. Too many people do that! A "Bargain" environment isn't an excuse to be rude.

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    2. Totally agree as well. Treat the seller as you would a friend and you'll get a better deal.

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    3. What do you mean insult the merch? What do they say?

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  2. I live in the Midwest (Missouri) and I call them garage sales, most of the time. That is how they are listed in the classifieds. It would be called a yard sale around here if it was held outside. I use Garage Sale Rover for Android occasionally but most of the time I just look up the classifieds online.

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    1. We hear both garage sales and yard sales here, I can't tell which one is used more!

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  3. Small talk with the sellers! If you can establish a friendly rapport, you can usually get a "friend" price ;)

    And I always look for sales in neighborhoods of older homes with older people- hopefully you'll find that 80-yr old couple downsizing their entire household which they bought new in 1940. (I have done that several times, and wrote a whole post about it over at my blog: http://practiceintime.blogspot.com/2011/05/thrifted-thursday-hard-core-edition.html

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    1. Thank you for the great tip! Look forward to reading your blog.

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    2. Thanks for sharing all these helpful tips!

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  4. I bought something on craig's list. I was telling the guy everything I was going to cook with the item (it was a food smoker) and he could tell I was excited about getting it - so he lowered the agreed-upon price! It pays to be nice.

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    1. Quite right! That's awesome that you got a good deal like that from Craigslist.

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  5. Awesome! Good luck on your sale!

    My Fiance scored some sweet stuff at a sale one time: He got me a nice chair and found a couple of DS games. I believe in the saying: "One man's junk is another man's treasure". :P

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    1. Woah- Fiance now?! :) We need to catch up. I love yard sales, sometimes the prices can't be beat!

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  6. My main tool is estatesales.net. This week it made me sad though, reminding me of my city's loss, but I'll definitely be stopping by the sale of the estate of Bob Cassilly. Van, if you don't know about the City Museum here in St. Louis, here's a little gift to you: http://www.citymuseum.org/site/ <- no cooler man-made place on earth, and Mr. Cassilly was a superhero.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that link, if I'm in the area I'll definitely have to check it out!

      I didn't know about estatesales.net either. Gotta explore it!

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  7. Wow, the City Museum looks incredible! I'm sorry for your city's loss. You have many treasures to keep his memory alive.

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  8. I resell about 90% of what I buy at estate/yard sales and still haven't figured out how to answer people when they ask what I am going to do with the items. I don't feel comfortable telling them that I am going to resell the item but I don't want to answer them dishonestly either. Any suggestions?

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    1. I've thought about this, too. Some people get offended when you say you're a reseller or they may charge you more next time.

      Most people just want stuff gone and don't care if you'll resell it though. I know I don't when I host yard sales. I think we're fine saying we're "resellers" or "collectors"

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    2. Thanks Van. It's a fine line to toe I guess.

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    3. I never go to yard sales in my own town if I'm buying to resell - I'll go to another town to do that. During the winter season, 90% of my sales come from local people and we live in a small town. I just don't feel right about it.

      If they ask me what I am going to do with a piece, I just say that I'm buying it for someone else. That's usually enough of an answer and it's not giving too much information or opening the door to possible hard feelings. And it's not being dishonest.

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    4. I like that suggestion Lori. Usually at estate sales it's never a problem since I know most of the dealers hosting the sale in my town. It's when I'm buying at a family's once a year yard sale or even at the flea market (happened recently) where I just don't know what to say.

      Personally, whenever I am hosting a sale, I could care less who buys my things and what they're going to do with it. As long as I get the price I'm asking or we agree on a deal I'm happy with it.

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  9. Yup, everything you say is true. My advice would be- don't pass up the yard sale that looks small and boring, it might have great finds. I decided to stop by one such sale and found a set of sterling candle holders for $5.00 (made a decent profit) and picked up an original news paper printed the day that Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon fully equipped with big, cool black and white photos (framing it).

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    1. That's a good tip, too. Unassuming haunts can yield the best treasures. This is especially true with thrift stores, I find. The quirkier, the better.

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  10. When things warm up here {I'm in New England} It's yard sale time- defintely using the tips that you shared

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  11. I run estate sale for a living and I thought your advice was good. Be nice to the seller and you'll be more likely to get a good price. Also, I usually tell my customers that the more they buy, the better deal they will get. I'm never insulted when people try to honestly bargain with me, but I don't like when they offer a ridiculously low price. When they try that, I usually won't budge from my original price at all. And I'll also throw in another vote for estatesales.net. I advertize all my sales on there, along with craigslist and the local Pennysaver. However, whenever you're dealing with a professional estate sale company, ask to be put on their email list if they have one. Occasionally, I'll have a pre-sale showing open only to my list. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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