Monday, August 22, 2011

Yard Sailing

One of the the things I love about summer is yard sailing. You don't need a boat or a life vest, yet it's just as exciting. It's always a new adventure, with new treasures to be found. End of summer seems to be a really good time of the season to grab up great deals, as our recent yard sailing treks have panned out quite well. It appears that as summer plants begin to die back, people are more likely to let go of their gardening items, which means big score for us! 
Here's some of the loot from just the last two weekends:
A groovy pair of red wellies with pink polk dots, previously worn but plenty of miles left. I couldn't pass them up because I only have one other pair of wellies, and they are just boring black. I am such a polka dot freak. Cost: $3.
Various medium sized clay pots. Still had a little potting soil in the bottom, and one had a spider in it, but you know how expensive these things can get. Cost: $1 each. Spider was free.
All leather rose pruning gloves. Great condition. No tears, no holes, no seams undone. Just a little mud stain on the palms, but I at the price I got them for, I can live with that. Cost: $2.
Now for the score of the summer. Compost bin. Used, but in perfect condition. No cracks, no broken parts. All good. The fella even threw in the metal turning fork. He said he just didn't want to have to drag it back into the garage. Brace yourself... Cost: $5!

I also picked up an armload of embroidery hoops for $3. I got a bag full of vintage aprons, embroidered tea towels & napkins, and a vintage sewing needle kit all for $3! Some wooden drawer organizers for $2. A cool vintage stationary set for $1. Two very nice cardigans for $4. Last, but not least, a vintage book on string games with the original string still in it: $1.

Now is a great time to go look for some bargains, so why not plan a sailing trip next weekend? Here's some tips to consider:

*Early birds don't always get the cheap worms. We don't feel we need anything bad enough to get up super early, especially on a Saturday morning when it's nice to sleep in. While we may miss some of the better stuff, we feel the deals we get later in the day are better worth waiting for. Most people who put on a yard sale don't want to drag their stuff back into the garage at the end of the day, so they are more willing to mark things down or haggle over the price as it gets closer to their closing time, just to get rid of stuff.

*You are more likely to get a better deal when you buy an armload of stuff, rather than a single item. Most people don't take the time to price each individual item from what I've seen. They just do a quick glance over what you have when you bring it up to them and rattle off a price.

*Haggling is not my forte, but it never hurts to ask for a better price if you are quoted a price that seems a little steep. Make an offer. For instance, if they say $5, ask if they would take $4. Be reasonable. Don't be rude and offer $1 when they ask for $5. Most of the time, if it's just small difference they won't argue. The worst that can happen is that they may say no, but you can always still buy the item at $5. 

*Craigslist is a good place to find yard sale listings. My mom gets all organized and writes down a list of addresses from Craigslist and then gets out her local map. I feel the best way to do it is just look for signs on main roads or highways, unless I find specific listings that give a sneak preview of what they are selling and see something I can't pass up. I do look for country sales on Craigslist though, because it's highly unlikely you might come by signs for these. Most of the time though, Lee and I just like to fly by the seat of our pants see where the signs lead. Last weekend in town it seemed we were playing a game of connect the dots. We'd find one yard sale and then right after that we would see a sign for another. This went on until we had found about 20 odd yard sales! We didn't even have to write down one address.

*Consider the neighborhood you are sailing in. We tend to stick mainly to the older, downtown areas and country sales because we figure those folks are more likely to have similar interests & tastes and sell stuff we actually want, rather than people who live in McMansions in the suburbs. Old people are going to have cool vintage stuff. Country folks are going to have gardening tools and other useful things. I'd say that over 75% of the time this is true, but sometimes on the rare occasion we may stop by a suburb yard sale and be pleasantly surprised to actually find something we can use. So don't judge too harshly.

Happy yard sailing!


  1. Great post! The compost bin is a great score, but even better is the bag of aprons and tea towels (well to me - love vintage fabric!). True on the armload - when we have a yard sale, our motto is, "the bigger the pile, the better the price!"..

  2. Same here! Usually we aren't trying to make a fortune when we have a yard sale, we just want to move. stuff. out.

  3. Great tips for yard sales. I love going but rarely ever haggle on the price. Lol. I probably should do that too. : )..