Going to garage sales is a great way to find cool things for cheap prices. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that garage sales, so it kinda runs in blood haha. If you’re unfamiliar with the term garage sales, or yard sales, it’s basically people selling stuff they don’t want anymore on their yard or in their garage. Usually people will set up tables or lay out blankets to display their stuff on.
How To Find Them
Before you go to garage sales, you have to know how to actually find them. There are several different ways you can discover addresses:
1. Look in your local newspaper. Many times, especially where I live, the people holding a garage sale will submit an ad to be put into the paper. Also if your area has a couple different newspapers, I recommend checking all of them. My area has two, and sometimes we find ads that were only submitted to one of the paper’s instead of both. Make sure to hold onto the newspaper or at least the page with the garage sale ads on it, that way you can include them in a list later on.
2. Look online. In this day and age more and more people are going digital. You can try checking multiple used selling sites. It’ll be different for each area, but whatever website you or people around you would go on to buy used things from other locals. Also if there’s a local buying and selling or community Facebook group, you could try checking those. Make sure to write down the address and time from any promising ad you find online, to add to your list.
3. Keep your eyes peeled for signs. I would recommend looking around for a few days before you go, as well as on the day of. You can do this just while driving or walking. Make sure to write down these ads as well, or take a picture of them for now if you don’t have a pen handy.
Make a List
Every time my family goes to garage sales, we bring a list with us. That way we don’t forget any of the places we were planning to go to. You can make your list however you want to, but here is how we do ours:
1. Cross out the bad ads. By this I mean any of the ads that are the wrong date, or that are too far away, or that are duplicates.
2. Highlight the addresses. I usually highlight all the addresses because it makes it easier to navigate on the day of.
3. Highlight specific times. For our area 9am is the average starting time for garage sales. So I usually highlight all the sales starting before 9am in one colour, and all the sales starting at 10am or later in another colour.
4. Order the sales. I usually leave this part up to my dad because he’s the driver and knows our area really well. Basically though, you want to organize the sales into the most efficient order possible. One where you don’t have to backtrack in your driving too much but also one where you can hit the sales as close to their starting times as possible. It may take some time to get this skill down, so don’t worry if you’re too familiar with your area. You’ll learn as you go. You can also use a map to help you plan.
When To Go
This may differ depending on your area, but for mine there’s a specific time we go to garage sales:
1. Warm, clear weather. This may be different in your area too, but for my area we basically go through the distinct four seasons so we usually don’t go until the summer starts. And considering these sales are generally held outdoors, lots of people will cancel their sale if the day ends up with rain.
2. Saturdays. Almost all the garage sale ads in my area are for Saturdays. If not, then it may be Sunday but it’s rare. Find out what day has the most sales in your area, and if you like you could make that your weekly garage sale day.
3. As close to starting time as possible. Be prepared to make decisions, because often times you’ll come across sales starting at the same time but they will be distant from each other. This is when the descriptions of the ads come into play. One sale may have a better sounding ad, so go with that one. If you can’t decide from the descriptions, just trust your gut.
Where To Look
Once you know where you’re going, when you’re going, and you have it planned out, it’s time to actually go! Every garage sale will have their stuff laid out differently, but their are a couple of key spots to look for cds:
1. Boxes. Lots of times people will keep their cds in a box, especially if they have a lot of them because it would take up too much table space otherwise.
2. Bookcases. Sometimes people will pull their whole bookcase out to help display or maybe even to sell, so putting their cds on there is also a common occurrence.
3. Travel/car cd cases. Keep an out eye for these. Sometimes they’ll be empty but sometimes they’ll have discs in them. Always best to check.
What To Expect
I have gone to countless garage sales so far in my life, so I am well aware of what to expect:
1. The prices will vary, but for the most part be cheap. They can range anywhere from free to as high as five dollars I’ve seen. The usual price I find is one dollar. Which is probably the cheapest way to buy cds singularly. Otherwise, if you buy lots you may get a better deal, but more on that to come.
2. The quality will vary. The cds could range anywhere from scratched to bits to still sealed. Generally the ones I find tend to be decent quality with maybe just a few minor scratches that don’t hinder the play ability.
3. You trip days will vary. Sometimes when you go the day could be a total gold mine or it could be a bust. You never know until it’s over. Just don’t expect to find something every time you go.
One Final Tip
If you take anything from this post let it be this.
Check the discs! Check the discs! Check the discs!
I don’t want you to have to learn the hard way like I did. Just because you find the case of a cd you like doesn’t mean there’s going to be a cd in it, that it’s going to be the right cd, or that the cd is going to be of playable quality. Save yourself the heartache of going to listen to your new cd and not being able to.
What’s you area like for garage sales? Have you found any cool cds at them? I’d love to hear any related stories down below! Feel free to share any questions you may have below as well.
Hope these tips help,
The CD Scene Queen