Yard sale tips for clothes shoppers

You can find plenty of treasures at yard sales, but the clothing racks are where you can find the best deals ... and try out new fashions.

You can find plenty of treasures at yard sales, but the clothing racks are where you can find the best deals … and try out new fashions.

The best deals you can find at yard sales are on clothes. Compared to most other yard sale fodder, clothing are among the least expensive items and in the best condition. That means you get more bang for your buck.
Even better, most fashions you find at yard sales aren’t necessarily out of style. Sure they might be a few years old, but unless you are completely on top of the trends, buying your clothing at a yard sale isn’t exactly a fashion faux pas.
Deal or not, we have some tips and reminders for buyers as they sort through the racks of clothing at their neighborhood yard sales.

  • CHECK THE CONDITION: Check for tears, holes and stains. Also check along the seams of clothes to see if they have split. In pants, don’t forget to check the pockets for holes.
  • SMELL IT: We’re quite picky about how our clothes smell, so we always take a whiff of any clothes we’re buying at a yard sale. If it smells smokey, mothbally or animaly, we usually pass it up. (We also smell furniture for the same reason!)
  • SIZE IT: Remember nearly all the clothes at a yard sale have already been laundered. They might very well fit a bit more snug than something directly from a store. On the flip side, you will know that the clothes your getting won’t shrink any more. If you can try it on and it fits, then it’s not going to change. (We advise you not to try on anything that would require you to disrobe, even if they offer a changing area.)
  • CHANGE ITS FUNCTION: When you look at some piece of clothing at a yard sale, remember that you can use it in a slightly different way than it was intended. Would a that shirt look better as an underlayer? Can you cut that skirt into a scarf or headwrap? Could you turn those jeans into cutoffs?
  • COSTUME: If you’re thinking far enough ahead, you might be able to hunt down clothes for use in a Halloween costume. Also, yard sales are a great place to go shopping for that mid-December Ugly Sweater Party. You can also use yard sales to stock up on items for your kids’ dress-up play.
  • FOR THE KIDS: Buying yard-sale clothes for your kids can be huge help to your budget. Because kids grow so fast most kids clothes have very little wear and tear to them.
  • GO CRAZY: When you’re at a full-priced retail store, you tend to buy clothes made of fabrics that you are familiar with, in colors you love and with comfortable designs. When you go yard sale shopping, you certainly can keep buying the same styles, but we suggest  you use yard sales to experiment with all of these fashion choices. Pick up a few colors you don’t usually wear. Go ahead and buy that sweater made out of strange animal hair. Buy a design you’re sure you’ll hate. Maybe you’ll end up liking it!
  • WHEN YOU GET HOME: Throw those clothes right into the wash. Don’t waste any time doing it. Chances are the previous owner had them washed too, but this will help erase any doubts you may have.

 

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Venture to Route 40 for a highway of deals

Yard sale fanatics will want to head to U.S. Route 40  this weekend for a yard sale event stretching from Baltimore to St. Louis. The 10-year-old event happens around Memorial Day each year.

Yard sale fanatics will want to head to U.S. Route 40 this weekend for a yard sale event stretching from Baltimore to St. Louis. The 10-year-old event happens around Memorial Day each year.

The Yard Sale Secrets team normally sticks to sales right here in good old York County, Pa., but this weekend we have to say that we might be enticed to shop down in Maryland.
That’s because this weekend is the six-state-long National Road Yard Sale. It takes place along Route 40 and stretches from Baltimore to St. Louis. Route 40, by the way, essentially runs parallel to York’s County’s own Lincoln Highway, which is officially known as Route 30.
The event was started 10 years ago by a Dublin, Ind., antiques dealer and reports say it’s getting bigger and bigger each year.
What’s amazing is that the sale can go west even further than it currently does — it can go all the way to Utah if it keeps on growing.

Some National Road Yard Sale coverage:
Wikipedia entry on the National Road Yard Sale
National report from 2011
In Belmont County, Ohio
In Indiana

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How to create a fundraising yard sale

Yard sales can be a perfect fundraising tool for charities, medical funds and nonprofit organizations.

Yard sales can be a perfect fundraising tool for charities, medical funds and nonprofit organizations.

As you know, yard sales can be a huge money maker if you do it right.  Since that’s the case, you often see yard sales that benefit a charity.

With that in mind, some suggestions on setting up a fundraising yard sale:

  • Recruit multiple vendors: You shouldn’t be the only vendor at your fundraising sale — you need plenty of sellers. This helps ensure variety for your customers since word will get around about your big event. It also means shoppers will stay longer, and likely spend more too!
  • Or … Gather lots of donations: If you’re sure you want to stick to being the only vendor, then cast out a wide net for donations. Send out a mass e-mail to everyone associated with the organization and ask them to pass it along to their friends too, then see what comes in!
  • Get space: If your fund-raiser event looks like it’s going to get bigger than your front yard, then you might want to rent out a room or banquet hall. Check with your local schools, churches, fire halls and businesses for the best opportunities. Since it’s a fundraiser, you might actually get space for free.
  • Sell space: You certainly can give away space at your fundraising yard sale to a few vendors, but also consider selling spaces as well. Space fees should go to the charity and then allow those vendors to keep their own profits.
  • Sell shopping time: An alternative (or addition) to selling spaces is to sell shopping time. Let shoppers know their entrance fee is going to charity, and they will be happy to pay.
  • Advertise (Part 1): A month or two before your sale, start recruiting those paying vendors mentioned above, and the best way to do it is to advertise. Be sure to include all the appropriate contact information.
  • Advertise (Part 2): Once you get your vendors recruited, let shoppers know about it. Aside from the usual classified advertising, send out a few e-mails to the local media. Invite shoppers with special posters at grocery stores, churches, schools, day-cares and other organizations.
  • Advertise (Part 3): Make sure to include info on who’s benefiting and what percentage the charity is getting. Likewise, be prepared to fully explain the charity for those who aren’t exactly sure what it is.
  • Get some props: Since you are doing a fundraiser for a charity, consider asking that charity to donate some signs, or even bring a few “props” to your event. Sure, maybe the Red Cross will send out its Bloodmobile, but more likely they’ll give you a couple of shirts for your staff to wear.
  • Legal concerns: Be aware that there might be some legal issues concerning fundraisers. Check with your benefiting organization, or even the local United Way,  for some guidance in the matter before you get started.

Image by HAM Guy via Flickr.com

 

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Tips from a yard sale expert

Make sure your sale items are clearly visible from the road, and (in our opinion) put a price on everything.

Make sure your sale items are clearly visible from the road, and (in our opinion) put a price on everything.

The new year is upon us, and we’ve already started to think about yard sales for the upcoming season.

In particular, we found this article fairly interesting.

The interviewee, Aaron LaPedis, says he’s earned more than a million on the garage sale circuit, and wrote a book on the subject. We tend to agree with him on most of the points he makes here (bring a smart phone, be an expert on a few things, make great signs), but we vehemently disagree with his suggestion to “not price anything” at your yard sale. We often walk away from yard sales where things aren’t priced, so this is a case of “seller beware!”

In fact, even several of the comments at the end of the article say the same thing.

As for Yard Sale Secrets, expect us to get back into the swing of things in late March or April, but keep checking back for occasional blitzes in posts from us between now and then.

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Trouble is brewing on ‘Storage Wars’

According to the Washington Post, and several other sources, a lawsuit has been filed by Dave Hester, one of the stars on A&E’s “Storage Wars” series.

In the suit, Hester explains that a lot of the show is faked, and the producers go so far as to plant items in lockers and rig the bidding.

We were particularly amused by Hester’s claim about the episode where a stack of Elvis newspapers were found. He says they were planted in advance by the show’s producers. When we first saw the episode, we laughed at the assumption that all those newspapers could be sold for more than $10,000.

Likewise, we are always bothered by the show’s estimated sale prices on the recovered items — most are ridiculously inflated. Further, the show suggests that the wheeling and dealing of storage unit auctions is a get-rich-quick moneymaker, which like the yard sale scene, is more “miss” than “hit.”

Once again, the Yard Sale Secrets team wants to point you to the YouTube comments of Glendon007 as too he talks about rumors swirling around the “Storage Wars” franchise.

We know a lot of yard salers enjoy the “treasure hunt” aspect of the show and those like it, so we thought it was worth pointing the article out to you.

Glendon, who claims to have made a lot of money in the storage unit auction business, offers some interesting bits of information and insight based on his experience in the business.

(And just to clarify, we in no way endorse the purchase of Glendon’s books and infomercials. We don’t know much more about him than you do.)

(Also, he does swear quite a bit in this video, so it might not be “Safe for Work,” as they say.)

http://youtu.be/pzU59_9zg44

 

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Gain some insight on storage unit auctions

Fans of the “Storage Wars” television shows have learned about the cut-throat nature of the storage auction world.  Every unit has some hidden gems inside, according to the show. That may or may not be true, but we urge you would-be moguls to check out the Glendon007 YouTube channel.

Glendon says he is a now-retired storage unit buyer who is sharing his experience, knowledge and stories of success and failure in a series of regularly produced videos.

Yes, Glendon is also pitching a few self-published books, but they might actually be worth checking out.

His videos are long, but they are quite interesting.

Here we learn about dirty Air Jordans and a bag of coins. http://youtu.be/fe5Lbdxzbsg

In this video, Glendon talks about packing crates he bought and how he was pressured to sell them. http://youtu.be/fh3Wbi0Tza4

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