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How to Shop at Garage Sales to Make Money!
Most of the time people think of garage sales as a place to shop where they can find things for cheap, or as a way to sell things they don’t need anymore after decluttering or before a move.
But I like to think of a garage sale as a place to go to actually make money.
I kind of fell into this garage-sale-money-making-side-gig on accident. I love to shop garage sales, especially for kid’s items – it’s a great way to save money on things kids need and outgrow quickly. You can find high quality, used items for pennies on the dollar of what they would cost new. We have saved thousands of dollars by buying things at garage sales that our boys need.
But, not only can you SAVE tons of money by shopping at garage sales, you can actually MAKE tons of money by shopping at garage sales and turning around and selling popular items for a profit – sometimes a hefty profit.
And because I was at garage sales frequently, I started to learn what was a good buy, what was an okay buy, and what was a GREAT buy. Since my boys are young, most of the things we buy at garage or yard sales are clothes and toys, but you could also use these tips with baby items, antiques, kitchen appliances, furniture, etc.
As I learned the value of items and compared the garage sale price to what an item would cost new, I found myself buying toys and other kid’s items that I knew would sell easily when my boys were done playing with it – and often I could sell it for much more than I had paid for it.
With places like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and resale sites, selling used items has never been easier, and you can use this to your advantage!
Here’s how I shopped garage sales and made over $2,500 in one summer- not a bad side job for a stay at home mom!
- Watch selling platforms (Craigslist, Facebook, etc) for what sells quickly – áStartákeeping an eye on áresale sites/stores to see what items sell quickly. In my area, things like wagons, kid’s picnic tables, high chairs, pack ‘n play travel cribs, dressers, Little People toys and Imaginext toys all sell like hotcakes. Other fast sellers are bikes, outdoor playhouses for kids and almost any solid wood furniture. Usually things that are more expensive when purchased new will sell very well used, if it’s in good condition (and sometimes even if it’s not in good condition, as long as it’s priced right!)
- Learn how much items sell for – As you start watching which items sell quickly, pay attention to the amount those things are selling for. A good rule of thumb is that most items will sell for about half of what they would cost new. If an item is in excellent condition or is in high demand it will sell for a little more. If it’s something that has missing parts, is dirty or broken, it will sell for a little less – but don’t discount these things, as they still can hold value!
- Watch for great garage sales – Keep an eye on Craigslist, Facebook and your local newspaper to find the best garage sales in your area each week. Make a list of the garage sales you want to shop, and plan to be there as soon as they open for the best selection.
- Start selling! – Once you have all of your garage sale items home, clean them up if you need to, take some great pictures of them, and start posting to your favorite resale sites. As you see what sells best, you can keep an eye out for those things at future garage sales. Keep safety in mind when you set a time and place to meet someone for a sale – meet in a public, well lit place.
It might take a few weeks to get the hang of how making money by shopping garage sales will work best for you, but once you do, the sky’s the limit and it’s so much fun! There’s little risk, and you can buy and sell as much or as little as you want.
One summer I bought a wagon for $5 and sold it for $50, a pack-n-play for $5 that sold for $45, and paid $35 for an outdoor play structure that sold for over $100.
If you have a little spare time and a few extra dollars this summer, buying items at garage sales and turning around and selling them for profit is a fast and easy way to make some extra money to put toward monthly bills or to save for something fun!
A few more garage sale money making tips I’ve learned along the way:
- If you have extra storage space, you can stock up on garage sale items to sell throughout the year to make some extra cash when you need it.
- If storage space is an issue, challenge yourself to sell all of your garage sale items from the previous week before the next week of garage sales comes around.
- Don’t be afraid to buy ahead on hot items – here’s what I mean…I have found that Fisher Price Little People play sets are great resale items, but they don’t always come with all of the original pieces. And once in a while I will find a bag full of Little People accessories at a garage sale, but no play set to go with it. So I buy it all and hang onto them so when I come across a play set without accessories I can use some of the ‘spares’ I have on hand to make a complete set to up its resale value.
- Get your kids in on the fun! My boys love keeping an eye out for things they might be able to make a few dollars on, and clean it up to sell. It’s been a great way to teach them the value of a dollar, and it’s a simple way they can begin to earn some money for themselves.
When it comes to garage sales, one man’s junk really is another man’s (or mom’s!) treasure!áThere’s no right or wrong way to do it – you get to see how it works best for you and go with it!