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Yard Sales R Us

From the time I was small, my mother took me with her to garage/tag/yard sales, thrift stores, and auctions.  She was an antique dealer, and that was where she made some of her best finds.  For me there was never any stigma whatsoever to garage sale finds. As a mom, I’ve purchased the majority of my childrens clothes at garage sales.  The money I’ve saved has allowed us to live a lavish lifestyle that includes GROCERIES, ELECTRICITY, AND GAS FOR OUR CARS.

Last weekend we celebrated the warmer weather by getting out and hitting a few community sales.  Those are the best.  Fiddledaddy drives through the neighborhood at the speed of smell, while I peruse the junk not so carefully laid out on blue tarps.  If I spot something that I’m searching for, he slows to a near stop and I deftly hop out.

Only last weekend he had to come to a full and complete stop so I could hobble out from the passenger side of the van.  I thought if nothing else, I could play the sympathy card.  I’m certainly not above it.

On my short laundry list was a bigger bike for my industrial sized 10 year old, who is 2 inches from topping me, a kitchen utility cart because I just can’t bear to spend over $100 for one (even at Big Lots), a square coffee table to serve as a family game table, and girl clothes for the 8 and 10 year old.  Who are now wearing size 12 and 14.  Because I can no longer convince them that their flood ready pants really look like capris.

Anyhoo.  I scored big on clothes for my girls.  Below is what I found.  A few pieces are missing because no sooner did the dryer stop, than my girls dug through and pulled out a couple of new outfits.

Take a guess how much all of this set me back?  Go ahead.  Three dollars and seventy five cents, people.  That’s $3.75.  I’m not even kidding.  At one sale, the lady asked me what size I was looking for, I told her, she pointed to a large garbage bag full of clothes and said, “You can have them for $2 and take your time sorting through them when you get home.  Sold.  That was a bananza bag of like new assorted pants, shorts, jeans, tops, pajama bottoms, and skirts.  It was Christmas for my fashion conscious girls.

Yard sales can not only save money, but can also be profitable as well.  Years ago when I lived in Los Angeles, I started a business in which I would scour yard sales looking for decrepit furniture.  I would take the pieces home, clean, fix, and then paint to breathe new life into them.

I wanted to show you an example of a piece I found, fixed up, and then sold at a hoopty ploopty Los Angeles store.

This cabinet cost about $10 at a yard sale (see top right).  I painted it a creamy off white, embellished it with tiny painted flowers (hand painted), added stripes to the interior (painters tape is my friend), and put on new knobs that I painted green. I distressed the finish to make it appear shabby chic, then put a coat of water based varnish on top to protect it.

I believe it sold for around $275.00.

I had so much fun painting furniture.  I do hope to get back to it one of these days.  I still have all of my old favorite paint brushes.  Which my children have been eying, but I don’t share well.

Do you love yard sales?  If so, what is the best thing you ever found?

10 Responses to Yard Sales R Us

  • Oh Dee Dee you speak to my heart all the time. I love yard sales/flea markets.
    My current favorite find is a solid wood chest surely antique that I paid 6$ for. yes 6. It was a god awful orange, but I painted it black and found penguin drawer pulls for it that match my soon to be 6s room. It turned out AWESOME. He is sooo proud of it. Now for clothes, we actually prefer the goodwill next to my mama’s. she buys tons for us there for next to nothing and I would say 50% still have original tags. Like the 300$ leather jacket she found for 4$. And the Air Jordans she found for 1$ for 6. He is in heaven because they are red and white and he is sure that means they are Razorback basketball shoes and they will make him fly if he wears them with his superman cape(which I also got for 1$ at the salvation army).
    I have been repurposing a lot of furniture lately and girl I have a game table like you describe…I found it at a resale kids shop for 10$. It has now been thru three coats of paint at my house. First a nice cream, then changed furniture and it became colonial red, and now it is a very sharp black. Its about 42 inches square and 1 foot high.
    The kids are fascinated by my projects and truth is hubby might be more fascinated if I would get the house cleaned out before I do another crazy project.

  • The best yard sale find was a bookcase that matched our entertainment center exactly. The best resale shop find? I’ve had too many to list. My lastest was a $30 Land’s End Canvas Tote bag with the zip top. I bought it at my local Catholic Charites shop for $1. Those kind of finds make my day!

  • Coming out of lurkdom to tell you my best garage sale find..a beautiful Moorecroft vase for 50 cents. It was at the bottom of a box full of cheap glass vases and the only reason I spied it was because I liked the blue colour…THEN when I looked at it and realized what I had, I very nearly dropped it! Haven’t had it appraised yet, but I will someday.

  • Oh how I LOVE yard sales! I only wish I made more time for them.

    On one particular day I found a baseball bat and brand new glove with tags on it for my new Little Leaguer. A pink and purple bicycle with a flowery basket for my new two-wheel riding daughter (still had the tag on it, an easel with a chalkboard on one side and white board on the other (used endlessly by my kids!), and a real live Army helmet and backpack (my son is all camo all the time). I paid a whoppin’ $10 for all this stuff. Definitely worth it!

  • Since the weather in the Chicagoland is incredibly fickle, yard sales are only summer events. And since we really only have 2 good summer months (if that) I’ve come to rely on resale shops and the Good Will store.
    When the kids were little, hand me downs kept them clothed. Once I gave my daughter an outfit and her first words were, “Whose was this? Who gave us these clothes?” Yeah, they know how it works.
    Best thing I ever got?? I would have to say my current pair of brown shoes…they’re Dockers and currently sell at Kohls for 45.99. I got them for $6 and they looked brand new!

  • Ah, it is almost yard-sale season here in Indiana, and I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to come. Hopefully, I’ll also have a house to fill up within the next few months.

  • I’ve scored so many excellent deals over the years! We partially furnished our house, almost completely clothed our kids, and I’ve picked up a lot of fabric for my quilting addiction as well. We didn’t bring much in the way of furniture with us to Argentina, but two pieces that did make it were both garage sale finds: a wicker desk and chair set and a chest of drawers.

    Sadly, with gas so expensive the last few years we were in the states I didn’t do much garage saleing. But I did find eBay and craigslist to be a comparable source for goodies 🙂

  • I am anxiously awaiting garage sale season, as it kicks off usually after Easter in these parts. I bought the PERFECT Swing for my porch, that fits the spot like it had been made for it. $10. I also got a great rug for $30 that I have used for 5 years and still love it.

  • We love yard sale season! My Mom and Grandma love yard sales I don’t remember a weekend growing up without going to a yard sale! looks like you have some great finds!
    Spring is here and so the yard sales will be too!!


  • I love garage sales and am so happy to know that I’ve go so many sisters out there! My best finds have been a rocking chair for my daughter’s room for $3, and a little girl’s pink and purple bicycle, also for $5. Both of my two girls used the bike and now it has been given to a neighbor’s child. Each year my next door neighbor and I have a garage sale of our own during the first weekend in June. We spend all year setting things aside for it and the money we make goes toward summer fun activities for our families. Our kids are getting old enough to get the idea and are beginning to set aside their own items, for which they are allowed to keep the money. Garage sales and resale shops are the way to go for families!