Garage Sales, Here I Come!

by Katy on May 24, 2009 · 10 comments


I love garage sales. I love rummaging through other people’s trash to find myself a treasure or two. It’s addictive fun, pure and simple.

But I’ve been very disciplined about staying away from said garage sales because my house verges on the uncomfortably cluttered. 

I drove over to Trader Joe’s today to stock up on vacation style eats, (we’re currently enjoying a staycation) and could not resist the siren’s song of the multiple garage sales.

I roused the kids and packed their whiney selves into the minivan. 

“But mom, everything at garage sales is just old clocks or lamps!”

This is not actually a deterrent as I love old clocks and lamps. This had the opposite effect of making me even more excited for the thrill of the hunt.

The first garage sale didn’t look too promising, although I did spy a huge sage plant in a big, thick terra cotter planter priced at $3. There was also a sign up that the woman would dig raspberries, black eyed susan and shasta daisies from her garden for $2 per square foot. (An ingenious idea.) I already have raspberries, and hardly need more flowers, so I offered her $2 for the sage plant and made my way back to the car, treasure in hand.

The second garage sale yielded nothing I could live without, so I loaded the boys back into the car and continued on.

The third garage sale had a large pile of really nice carpet samples. I bought one in an oriental pattern that very much matches our colors and style for $2 to use as a welcome mat. I also picked up a handmade cribbage board for $1 that will make a nice gift when paired with a deck of cards.

The fourth garage sale offered up pair of new looking $1 Ann Taylor Loft sunglasses with case, that are so sharp they almost correct my vision. I also bought an 50 cent ornate scrolled metal and crystal drop candle stand for my neighbor Nancy to use as a plant stand. It completely matches a few other pieces she has on her patio.

At this point the kids were getting super cranky and whining to go home.

Luckily, the fifth (and last) garage sale had some really nice brand new looking men’s short sleeve Docker’s brand shirts for 50 cents apiece. I bought one for my husband and one for my thirteen-year-old, who was suddenly a whole lot less negative about garage sale-ing. 

In total:

  • $2 sage plant with thick terra cotta Italian planter
  • $2 oriental carpet sample
  • $1 cribbage board
  • $1 designer sunglasses
  • .50 plant stand
  • $1 for two men’s shirts

$7.50 was spent, which I consider a bargain for an afternoon of entertainment.

With the exception of the cribbage board, (which was a soft call) I feel great about all these purchases. I was hoping to come across a small patio set, but I’m patient and can wait until the right one comes my way.

I feel all the more excited about my garage sale for next weekend.

I just hope it doesn’t rain.

Have you been to garage sales this Memorial Day weekend? Or maybe you’ve been holding your own sale? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Queen of Fifty Cents May 24, 2009 at 5:36 am

Those were some great finds! Keep looking for your patio set–I bought a 4 piece wicker set recently for ten bucks. Woo hoo!


Dan W. May 24, 2009 at 7:06 am

If you live in a bicycle-friendly town, you will find that going to garage sales on a bike can be even more satisfying. Bring some paniers or a basket (or even a trailer if you have it) for small to medium size items, and if you spot a sofa or other large item you want to buy, I’ve found from person experience that sellers are more than willing to hold an item aside for you for later pick-up, if you give them a deposit or some such.

It’s amazing to be able to cruise right up to the sale and dismount right in front of the sale while other folks are maneuvering around for a parking spot. And if it’s a trash sale, you can zoom away without even having dismounted!


blackgirlinmaine May 24, 2009 at 8:20 am

I only hit one yesterday but scored a lovely wooden magazine rack for a $1 and my little one got a jewelry box for 50 cents. I need to get up earlier since in my neck of the woods, yard sales start early and I am not a morning person at all.

Sounds like you got some good stuff at an even better price.


Angela May 24, 2009 at 10:15 am

Great scores! I am so jealous of the sunglasses because I’ve been wearing a pair that is actually cracked (every few days I have to pop the lens back in) but haven’t found any used sunglasses anywhere. It’s a little more of a “hobo” look than I prefer.

Re: garage sales- we used to have them with our friends in a neighborhood that had a lot of traffic, but neither of our homes fit that description anymore. And like blackgirlinmaine, I’m not a morning person so I usually miss the best stuff.

My last garage sale experience was when I walked by one while on my daily stroll. I had no money on me and told them I would come back for a cake plate I liked very much. By the time I got back ten minutes later, she had decided she didn’t want to sell it! I still think about that plate- it was a square-shaped dark green ceramic and would have been gorgeous with my holiday margarita cheesecake sitting on it.


hustler May 24, 2009 at 11:36 am

I held a yardsale yesterday and made 60 bucks off stuff I wanted to get rid of!


thenonconsumeradvocate May 24, 2009 at 11:43 am


I am currently on a “staycation” and a few miles from home, so we didn’t have our bicycles. I was thinking about how much nice it would have been on two wheels instead of four.


There were two pair of the Ann Taylor sunglasses one in black and one in turtleshell. I only bought the black pair, but I would have sent you the second pair had I known.


We actually went to garage sales around 2 in the afternoon. I’m sure there’s much we missed out on, but the sellers were more than willing to bargain because of it.


Nice job getting rid of stuff while making a few bucks. I’m really crossing my fingers for next weekend.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
The Non-Consumer Advocate


Wynde May 24, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Interesting that you combined the garage sale blog with the guest writing about saving gas. I love garage sales, but if I put the trip meter on for a day of garaging, I’m amazed at how many unnecessary miles I rack up. Now I only let myself garage on route to other errands – though I may plan my route a little to take in one that sounds really good.


Angela May 24, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Re: the other pair of sunglasses… doh! (Homer Simpson slapping his forehead).
I pathetically drove around the neighborhood today looking for yard sales. For once, there were none.

I’ll have to start making my needs known all over the blogosphere… Let’s see, does anyone know how to make Chinese silk slippers? I really don’t want to buy those used…


Jessica Wolk-Stanley May 24, 2009 at 9:17 pm

This is a GREAT website I found a couple of years ago. Somehow, the tiny elves inside the computer take all the garages sales listed on Craigslist and put them on a map together. It allows me to be very deliberate about garage sales when I feel the urge. I don’t know if this service is available in other areas, but I know you have a few readers here in Seattle.


David May 25, 2009 at 4:33 am

Is that a picture of you Katy? Wow!

I have been looking for a couple of used kayaks to use on our Lake, we have looked in yard sales, Craigs list, Pennysaver, local papers, always without success – unless I wanted to pay at least $300 – but could not find any. Looking through the newspaper the other day I saw a Dicks ad that said 50% off sale on kayaks! Well they had a basic model for $179, I couldn’t believe it. We went and looked, and bought two! Two new ones for the same as I could have paid for one used one! So it does pay to get the newspaper and check the sale ads. I doesn’t happen often, but this time it worked out for us.


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