Friday, June 24, 2011

How to Plan Your Yard Sale Trip...and How to Survive It

It's that time again.  It's Friday.  How excited are YOU?  How excited am I?

I've got my Mountain Dew ready, my iphone charged up, and the snacks are ready.  I will wake up at 6 am.  I may sleep in my clothes.  I certainly will NOT take a shower.  And I might brush my hair and teeth but can't make any promises.

I've already started planning my trip.  It's one of my favorite things to do.  My good friend thought it might be a good idea to show people how I plan for the sales, since she kind of had a tough time of it when we visited her in Charlotte earlier this month.  So here's what I do!

Start with Craigslist.
I always go to Craigslist first, because even though I'm typically pretty old school, I want the best sales so I need to be a little new school here.  Craigslist is easy and free.  People use it.  Not everyone but most.  Plus you can sort out all of the sales that are too far away or don't have what you are looking for.  Once  you are in the garage sale category, narrow your searches.

First I type in key words neighborhood, then community.  This should pull up all of the neighborhood or community yard sales in your area.  I hit these first--less gas wasted, more sales, more families with kid stuff.  Then I search my zipcode and the zipcode next to mine, to see what individual sales are close to me.  After that, I search by neighboring towns or areas to see what's happening there.  Then I do a general search of "toy" or "kids" or "children's" to make sure I haven't missed anything.

Scan the newspaper.
Some old school people like me still use the newspaper to find their sales.  I actually look at our local newspaper online to make sure I haven't missed a good one.  Our online classifieds are not easily searchable so I don't spend a ton of time here.  Hopefully your classifieds are better than mine!

Beware of following signs.
Because I have a detailed plan for the morning, I usually don't follow random signs I see along the way unless I know they are taking me to a sale I have planned to attend!  It seems like whenever I follow signs on a whim, I end up at a sale with nothing that I am interested purchasing.  I'm not saying never follow the signs, but just beware of wasted gas and time.

Are you ready for your trip yet?


  1. We typically have lots of good church yard sales/rummage sales in our area so I usually search for those as well.

  2. This is just what I was hoping for today! Thanks!

  3. This is exactly what I do. Except I have to start Wed night because our big garage sale days here are Thur, Fri, and Sat?! I also search "relay for life" "dave ramsey" "church/rummage" "benefit" because those sales are often major scores! Have I told you I absolutely LOVE your blog and am feeling inspired to blog more about the specifics of how I do what I do on my own blog because of yours. You're awesome! :)

  4. p.s. I have a question I want to ask you, can I send you an email?

  5. Hiya! I found you a couple of weeks ago from Money Saving Mom. I love your blog! I have also been bitten by the yard sale bug. Its not easy for me as my husband works Saturdays and we have a 5 yr old and a 6 month old so I have to schlep them too. Plus we don't really need anything but I am constantly on the look out for a treasure at a good price!

    Anyway, I think i have a timesaver for you:

    It pulls all the yard sales posted on craigslist and puts them on a map! Brilliant!

  6. Do most of the sales you go to start at 7? And do you ever get there early?

  7. Sounds pretty much like my plan, except most people around here don't put them on Craigslist... yet. I end up making myself a color coded, typed sheet to make sure that I'm going to sales in the most efficient order to save time and gas!

  8. Wasn't sure if I was going to go this weekend, but your post inspired me. I looked on Craigslist and found 9 yard sales real close to me. I'll see how many I can get to before for Luke's 9am baseball game! I'll let you know what I find.

  9. Thanks for the tip about searching for community and neighborhood. I hadn't thought about that. Have you calculated your mileage for your garage sale trips? With gas prices so high, I'm wondering how far it's worth to travel. There aren't a whole lot of sales close to me, at least not this week.

  10. Loving all the questions! First, thank you Dana! What an awesome resource! Can't wait to try it out!

    I do show up to yard sales before 7. I do help people put out their stuff sometimes. The early bird DOES get the worm! I can't sleep anyway so why not?

    And yes, J to the Nessa, please email me!

    And thankfully, I live in suburbia land, where there are nothing but neighborhoods and neighborhoods as far as the eye can see. I do factor in gas when yard saleing (how do you spell that, anyway?), but if there is a huge neighborhood 20 minutes away having a community wide sale, I go.

    This is truly a joy and a hobby for me, so if I end up finding nothing, at least I was doing something I love! That's how I look at it. But if there were no sales close, I would email the sellers through Craigslist to find out exactly what they will be selling to see if it would be worth the drive.


    Do you have this? It compiles craigslist and other arena's into one area. It will also create a directions map for you. It even does directions from one garage sale to another. I know Iphone has an APP for it.

  12. First of all, I want to say that I am SO EXCITED that I found your site! Sometimes I wonder if there is anyone else out there like me (and my good friend/yardsaling buddy) that are totally nuts about garage sales, and I see there is :) I've been garage saling forever, since I was a little girl, and it just never gets old. I'm looking forward to reading your old posts and soaking it in!

    I definitely have a preparation ritual I go through too - and I just gotta say, Dhamma, you rocked my world with the gsalr site! I LOVE the trip planner!! I wish it put it in logical order for you (I couldn't figure out if it des) but it is super easy to order yourself too. Thank you for posting this!!!

  13. The sales here in MN are held on Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat...I'm a working mom so typically I can't go during the week unless I have the day off, so my primary sale day is Saturday. So my tip is that I only go to "Saturday only" sales b/c while occasionally you can find a treasure at a sale that's been open for a day or two, it is usually worth it to only stop at the new sales to score the best stuff.

  14. I have learned a lot this past hour reading your site.....

    Top 3 tips I learned.
    New keywords for my craigslist garage sale searches.
    Buying for ebay resale tips.
    Bring a smartphone so you can check out whats hot at ebay.

  15. I survived! And got some Calico Critters for cheap! Thanks! :-)

  16. Hi everyone!
    You all have given great suggestions. Love the website that puts the craigslisters on a map! Thanks!

    And I am glad that the blog is being useful to some people...never sure if my ramblings make sense.

    And Megan can't wait to hear about Calico Critters! That is a great find!


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