Many antique hounds believe you can't find anything worthwhile at garage sales anymore. And I'll admit it, I've fallen into that rut a time or two myself. But just when I think I'll never find another old or collectible item at a bargain price, something pops up to change my mind.
Whether I'm looking for a trash to treasure makeover project or something to sell so I can keep on shopping, persistence pays off. Read about a few of my own garage sale finds and then check out some useful tips for garage sale shopping below.
A Day in the Life – Examples of Success
Shopping a series of sales just miles from my home one Saturday morning, I found a brand new designer snakeskin purse from the ‘70s for $1 and a shiny 1950s aluminum two-piece cake carrier with a black plastic handle in excellent condition for $3. Those both went home with me.
Another garage sale just blocks away yielded a set of six small Fostoria American oyster cocktail goblets, and another set of eight tulip shaped fountain glasses with the Jeanette Glass Company mark on the base for just $2 per set. These normally sell for about $5-15 per piece, so they were excellent finds.
Last but not least, I found a really cute 1960s ceramic Santa Claus planter for $1.50. After spending a couple of fun hours browsing secondhand wares and spending less than $10, I came home feeling really good about the way I spent my morning.
Tips for Antique Hunting at Garage Sales:
- Remember, the early bird gets the best bargains, but swinging back by late in a sale may get you a better discount on an item that was priced way too high to begin with.
- To make the most of your shopping time, consider frequenting neighborhood garage sales where a number of homes are having sales at the same time. This way, you can park at the end of a block and walk from house to house.
- When you see something you even THINK you might want, pick it up and hold it. You can always put it back if you change your mind.
- Carry books on your favorite collectibles in your car. If you need to look something up, ask the sale's proprietor to hold the item while you "go get your wallet." If the item is not what you thought it was, you can always tell the seller you've changed your mind.
- Don’t be afraid to haggle and ask for a discount, but be realistic. No one wants to go half price on an item during the first few hours of a sale. Anger the seller and you may end up with no discount at all.