Yard Sale Tips for Shoppers

April 3, 2024

Looking to score some sweet deals for your home? Check out these 14 Yard Sale Tips for Shoppers to help you spend those dollars wisely and find the best treasures!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Making a purchase through one of these links helps support this blog.

Close up of 1940's cedar hope chest refinished and set in room with large art hanging over it.

Happy April!  Not only are we getting closer to legit summer gardening, but it’s also the start of yard sale season!  If you follow me on Instagram, then you got to witness my yard sale addiction last summer.  But let’s back it up because the addiction had to start somewhere.  And it started with our 1940’s hope chest.

A few years ago, my husband and I passed a yard sale on the way to the store.  I immediately eyed up the hope chest sitting front and center on the lawn.  It was still there on the way home, so I made my husband stop.  A little haggling later and the chest was ours!  We spent the week refinishing it and it’s become one of my favorite pieces in our home.

Vintage inspired lily pad table lamp.

Flat lay photo of vintage banjo clock with decorative floral detail.

Last year, I decided to embrace vintage everything to add more charm and individuality to our 1950’s home.  Last summer alone, I added several new-to-me pieces to our home and mostly everything was $5 or under!  I even rescued quite a few things from the curb and refinished them.  All they needed was a little love and elbow grease!

Tiffany inspired PartyLite stained glass tealight lamp set on mirrored tray.

Yard Sale Tips for Shoppers

If you want to start hitting up yard sales this year, you might want to take notes!  I’m going to share a bunch of tips I picked up doing weekend yard sale shopping last summer – and trust me when I say I went yard sale shopping just about every weekend to see what treasures I could find!

  1. Make a list of what you want.  I started last yard sale season with a pretty decent list of things I wanted for our home.  I think I managed to get almost everything on my list!  Having a list made me zero in on certain yard sales and find exactly what I was looking for.
  2. Follow your local community Facebook pages.  This is how I find out about a lot of yard sales in our neighborhood and surrounding areas.  Some posts even include photos of the sale so you can browse online and see if the sale is worth visiting.  This is how I found one of my vintage ceramic Christmas trees last year!
  3. Check out yard sale finder websites.  Pop in your location and a list of sales – including estate sales – will be there for you to choose from.  They’ll include dates, times, locations, and sometimes photos.
  4. Make sure your phone is charged.  I only say this if you’re spending an afternoon hitting up sale after sale.  Your phone’s GPS will come in handy when you’re driving all over the place.
  5. Grab cash!  Keep in mind that probably 99.9% of sales are cash only.
  6. Bring reusable totes.  Take one or two with you so you can easily carry all of your finds back to the car.
  7. Have someone go with you for bigger purchases.  If you’re shopping for bigger items – like our hope chest or the antique cabinet that I found on the curb – have someone go with you to help with the heavy lifting.  When I found the antique cabinet, luckily the owner was outside at the time and helped me load it in the car.  Otherwise I’d be SOL!
  8. Do a loop around before shopping.  I like to take a quick walk around the sale before I start shopping.  This gives me a feel for the sale and gives me a pretty good clue about the types of items being sold.
  9. Do not hesitate to buy.  If you see something you really, really, really like, grab it!  It probably won’t be there if you wait too long and decide to go back for it later.  Yard sales tend to see a lot of traffic throughout the day.  Especially if they’re on a main road.
  10. Visit yard sales early.  I like to go to yard sales early, but don’t go too early when they’re just setting up!  Visit within the first hour of the sale before everything has been picked over.
  11. Take a close look at items you’re interested in.  If something has a plug, see if you can test the plug beforehand to make sure the item works.  If something has damage, decide whether or not it’s worth buying and fixing.
  12. Haggle within reason.  I usually see an item and already have a price in mind that I want to pay.  If the seller hits the nail on the head, I won’t haggle.  But part of the fun of a yard sale is haggling.  So if you see an item you like, but the condition is less than perfect, see if they’ll knock off a few dollars.
  13. Be courteous and respectful!  This should be a given, but just to remind you, these are families allowing you onto their property to shop their own personal items.  Respect their homes and be nice!
  14. Have fun!  Lastly, don’t take it too seriously.  You might be on the hunt for a specific piece, but it’s also fun to stop and shop at a random sale.  You never know what you might find!

Town wide yard sales tend to happen right before a big trash day.  If you want to take the risk, you can wait until trash day (or even the day before) and see if certain items made it to the curb.

There’s no shame in my trash picking game!  Along with our antique cabinet, I also found our entryway shelf, spice rack, plant stands, flower pots, stool, and outdoor bistro table and chairs.  Happy hunting!

If you like this post, you might enjoy these as well: