The Only Yard Sale Guide You'll Ever Need

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I created this post last year and I've brought it back again with updates.  Happy Reading! 

Yes, it's that time of year again.  Yard Sale, Estate Sale, and Flea Market season is upon us and, if you're like me, you can't wait to start searching for treasures!  In my area many towns have a 'Community Wide' yard sale where you can spend the better part of the day shopping.  That is why I've collated this list of items that every Yard-Saler (that's a word, right?) should have at their fingertips.
Here's my list:
Money.  That's right, cold, hard cash.  No checks (does anyone use those anymore?).  Unless you're shopping for something big, keep the bills small - singles, 5's, 10's and don't forget the quarters either.  You can still pick up smalls for a quarter or 50¢!  The people running the sales have change, but they don't want to give it all up first thing in the morning, so don't hand them a twenty dollar bill for a one dollar item at 9am.  Plan ahead.  Go to the bank beforehand and break your big bills there.  If you're buying a large item with a bigger price tag - a hutch, entertainment unit, dresser, etc. big bills are fine.
PayPay and Venmo are starting to be used, especially in Estate Sales, so keep that in mind.  
Measuring Tape.  Honestly, I don't go anywhere without one, along with a list of any measurements needed.  You find the perfect piece for that one spot in your home and don't know if it will fit?  Get out the tape measure!  
Curtains?  Lace panels?  Break out the tape measure to see if they'll fit your windows.  (Unless you're going to cut them up for some other purpose)  
Not sure if it will fit in your vehicle?  Break out the tape measure!
Any way you look at it, a tape measure is a MUST when you are at a yard/estate sale.

Gloves.  If you're like me, you will be digging through old boxes that have been sitting in the attic or garage for years.  Needless to say, it's a dirty job, so grab a cheap pair of gloves at the dollar store or some latex/nitrile gloves to take along.  Your hands will thank you!

Hand Sanitizer.  Even if you're not digging through old boxes, chances are you're touching various items at sales.  A squirt of hand sanitizer will be just what you need...especially for:

Water/Snack.  Staying hydrated is important and hours of shopping can make you hungry.  Be sure to pack water and something to eat.  A piece of fruit or trail mix are great choices.  Of course, you can always stop at the local donut/bagel shop for something to eat.  Whatever you choose, you'll want clean hands.

Sticky Notes/Pen.  When you see a large item that you want and can't move, write 'sold' on a sticky note and put it on the item.  I've seen this done many times at Estate Sales, especially if the item isn't priced.  It's a way to reserve it while you find someone to give you more information.  

Batteries.  If you shop for electronics, you want to make sure the item works.  It only takes a minute to drop some batteries into the compartment and check.  If it plugs in (like a lamp) check to see if it's in working order.  Most people are happy to plug it in for you.

Box/Paper.  Some newspaper and a box will come in handy for wrapping any glass items you find.  It would be a shame to break that new treasure on the ride home.  

Other Items to Consider:

Flashlight.  If you're searching through a box in a dark corner, you may want some light and a flashlight can come in handy.  Fortunately, our phones have one built-in!  

Magnifying Glass. Depending on what you're shopping for, a magnifying glass comes in handy when looking for a maker's mark.  

I'm sure there are other things that may come in handy, but I think I've covered the basics.  Now it's time for the best part!

I've made this tote bag from an old pair of jeans to keep in the car:
It's approximately 13" x 15" and has plenty of room to stash all of the above-mentioned items.  With this tote bag on your shoulder, you are ready for any yard sale, estate sale, flea market, or thrift store you visit this season!

The other life-saver is this rolling cart:
If you are headed to a community-wide yard sale or a flea market, I can't recommend this rolling cart enough.  I've had mine for years and when I was teaching college classes for teachers I would load it up with everything I needed: class hand-outs, materials for group activities, my laptop, etc.  THEN, I would place a case of textbooks across the top.  It held it all and I didn't have to carry a thing.  It's a real workhorse and the best part?  It folds-up for storage!

Happy Treasure Hunting!

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  1. Great post, Ann! Love the rolling cart. It's definitely something I'm adding to my list!!

    1. Thanks, Kim. This rolling cart never quits. It holds so much and can handle the weight - a win all the way around!

  2. WOW, as I am no longer into yard sales, (sigh) this is still a great reminder for those that can and love to go. The reason why I can not continue to do it, because we have moved into a basement suite with limited area, and I am already at my max. I pinned this as I want to show it my my daughter and DIL.
    I visited you via Sunday Sunshine Blog Hop 63
    If interested feel free to visit my entries for this week: #13+14 as I would love to invite you to come and share your posts and you will have an opportunity to get featured. We're open Monday through Saturday every week.
    You will find the linkup information (1) In the Top bar under Blogging: Weekly Senior Salon Pit Stop OR 2nd image In the sidebar
    We hope to meet you there virtually.

    1. I'm limited on space, too, but I still love the 'thrill of the hunt'! I'll be sure to stop by....

  3. Wonderful ideas Ann! I miss those yard sales, but maybe this summer I will be able to get out and see what I can find. I thought for sure there would be a lot of them over the Memorial Day weekend, but I did not see any when we went for a ride out and about. Your tips will come in handy.

    1. There are lots of them in my area and you never know what you'll find. I also meet the nicest people!

  4. You've thought of everything ~ you're so prepared! Some ideas I've not even thought of before. I can't get my butt out of bed early enough for yard sales, but I definitely need to add some gloves to my car for thrift stores. Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty

    1. I'm not an early bird either, Allyson, but the upside of going later is you can often get a better price!

  5. Thanks for sharing on Crafty Creators! Great tips!

  6. Ann,
    I used to hit about 20 -25 yard sales almost every weekend!! But I have not gone to any in quite a few years unless there is one close to home...I used to take just about everything you mentioned in this wonderful post....It was like I made a job of it....I hope you are having a good week!!

    1. Thanks, Debbie. It sounds like great minds think alike!


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