I hear from friends all the time that they don’t find anything at garage sales so they have stopped going. REALLY? Here are a few of the finds I have made at garage sales over the last year.

Ornate side table

Giant Mirror

chalkboard frames

yellow chairs

Going to garage sales is a lot like fishing. You have to know what you are doing to be successful. Sure, there are people who have walked into a garage sale first time and scored a $20,000 painting for a buck. I see them on Antiques Roadshow too. There have also been cases of kids catching a shark on a cane pole with a hook and minnow, but that is the exception…not the rule.

Here are the basics of garage sale shopping.

Get on websites that let you know garage sales are happening.
http://gsalr.com/ is a great site.

Get the local paper and check the classified section. There is usually a garage sale section.

Get up early and go the first day of the sale. I do not waste my time on Saturday morning going to a Friday-Saturday garage sale. If I go early and the person is not willing to bargain, I may go back a couple of hours later to ask if the prices are still firm. More time than not, they are ready to sell.

Bring cash. Small bills and at least a dollar in quarters. Cash is all that most garage sales will take…smart folks.

My personal favorites are the days that a whole neighborhood holds a garage sale on one day.

At the sale, look  past the ugly paint job, the finish or even the dirt. Is the shape good? Is the item solid? Is it something you could work with?

This past Saturday morning I went “free styling” on my way into town up in the country. That means that I just stopped at any sign that said garage sale. It was 8:00 am and I had a little time to kill on the way to Huntsville, Texas. Even though I was just stopping as I found the sales, I had a list in my head.

Tall candlesticks, 2 night stands/side tables, shelf brackets, stuff for fall mantle, sewing machine cabinets, curio cabinet or fun shelving for milk glass.

When you stop, walk quickly around the whole thing. Does it look like there is anything you are interested in looking at? Does the place give you the creeps? (NEVER GO INSIDE A HOME IF YOU ARE SHOPPING ALONE AND THE ONLY SHOPPER THERE!)

If it seems like you might find treasures there, take time to look around. Things are not generally very organized, so be patient.

Ask questions. ” I am looking for sewing machine cabinets, you wouldn’t happen to have one would you.” You will be surprised from time to time. Look at these beauties I got for $25.00 each when I asked. They were under a tarp at the back of the garage. Not what I was looking for, but wow.

Make decisions quickly. If it is good it will be gone before you know it.

Don’t act too excited. You will not be able to bargain if the seller knows you are excited.

Be willing to walk away. I do all the time. If it is too much money or you are not sure about your ability to fix the piece…leave it.

Open drawers, look underneath, wiggle it. I get in trouble for skipping this step from time to time. (Two Dollar Chair)

Here is what I found this past Saturday:

Tall brass candlestick $1.50

brass candle stick
Two treadle sewing machines $50.00

treadle sewing machine

singer treadle sewing machine
Two pairs of binoculars-one set for the boat and a vintage set with a leather case for the top of the pie safe décor $3.00

vintage binoculars IMG_3354
1960’s faux bamboo small shelving unit- $1.00

ornate curio

IMG_3330
Plaque- here it is painted for the front guest room .50

painted wooden plaque
Two small plates that will go on either side of the single dinner plate in the large single frame on the wall in the front bedroom .20

IMG_3351
Four brown snuff jars $2.00, They are going to look great on the fall mantle.

snuff bottles

Not too bad a haul for a thirty minute run through three garage sales.

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