5 Reasons to Love Garage Sales

5 Reasons to Love Garage Sales - picture of garage sale sign on mailbox with people in driveway in background

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There are a lot of reasons to love Spring in Central Indiana. After a long, cold winter, the birds are finally chirping and the grass is finally green. It’s also warm out, which is both unexpected and amazing since it’s been a cold, dreary mess outside for 3 or 4 months. I like it.

But awesome weather isn’t the only reason I love Spring. Not only is it starting to get nice outside, but it’s also time for garage sale season to start. I’ve already been to a few here and there, including several in my own neighborhood. Mostly old people stuff, but I did find a few gems.

A few things I’ve bought recently:

  • A shepherd’s hook for hanging flowers in my back yard: $3
  • A pair of Nike running shorts with the tags still on: $2
  • Eight pairs of shorts, six shirts, and three dresses for my kids: $25
  • A water bottle to replace my old one: .50
  • A brand new diary for my daughter: .50

In addition to these bargains, I also came across a lady liquidating all of her old Mary Kay stuff. Apparently, she’s getting out of the business. Ahem. I can’t imagine why. Anyway, I didn’t buy any makeup, but I was all over the new bottles of Mary Kay Daily Moisturizer she was selling for $3. I usually use generic Kroger Oil of Olay for around $6 a bottle, so I thought that was a steal. Hooray!

5 Reasons to Love Garage Sales

You’re probably reading this post and thinking I’m some kind of crazy person. I mean, what kind of weirdo gets excited about rummaging around through someone else’s garage?

Me, bitches. That’s who. Here’s why:

I Like to Benefit from the Wastefulness of Others

This is the main reason I love garage sales. People in my area often put really, really nice stuff in their garage sales for a few bucks, or even less. I’m talking $125 jeans for $1.50. Boutique children’s clothing for $1. Kid’s shoes that cost $40 for .50 or even free. I don’t really understand why people spend big bucks for all this stuff, but I’m more than happy to take it off their hands.

Of course, it depends what kind of sale you go to. Some people only sell straight-up C.R.A.P., while others sell only amazing items for next to nothing. Whenever I run across a sale in the latter category, I take special care to look through everything they have.

I Never Want to Pay Retail Again

Once you’ve been doing the majority of your shopping in stranger’s driveways for a couple of years, retail prices start to look absurd. That $25 shirt at Target looks like a huge rip-off when you paid $1 for something similar last week. Know what I mean?

The cool thing is, if you can time it right and visit enough sales, you don’t really need to pay retail for most of your purchases anymore. Just buy the things you would be buying anyway and relish in the savings.

I Enjoy No Guilt Shopping

One thing I really like about garage sale purchases is that I rarely feel guilty if things don’t work out. Clothes are a good example. Let’s say I paid $50 for a pair of jeans at the mall and wore them for a few weeks before deciding they made my ass look huge. That sucks. I would feel 50 shades of guilty if that happened. Why was I so wasteful? How did I not realize they weren’t flattering?

Although it’s never pleasant when clothes don’t fit, the experience would be completely different if I had paid $1 for those jeans from Susie down the street. Instead of feeling guilty, I would just throw them in my own garage sale pile and carry on.

I Might Be Saving Things from a Landfill

People throw the craziest things away sometimes. In my neighborhood alone, I’ve seen perfectly good furniture placed on the curb, household goods in good condition in the dumpster, and plenty of stuff gone to waste.

That’s just another reason I like going to garage sales. I feel like I’m doing my part to not contribute to the massive amounts of waste humans make on a daily basis. Whenever I buy something from someone’s sale, I could be saving that item from the trash. You never know.

Buying Used Frees Up Money for Other Important Goals

Why pay $80 for a pair of jeans when you can pick one up for $3? Why spend hundreds of dollars on kid’s clothes when you can buy perfectly good stuff for $1 or $2 each? I can’t think of a single reason why. I have absolutely no desire to overpay for stuff that will be worth nothing once I use it a few times. So why not buy used in the first place?

Here’s the best part: The money we save can go directly to other, more important things. For example, our retirement accounts and kid’s college 529 accounts can always use extra funds.

Garage Sale Season is Here

My neighborhood is having a sale during the second week in June, and I cannot wait. I’ve already started gathering things up to sell in my own sale. I’m ready to pare down, folks. My kids have outgrown a ton of stuff since our sale last year, and I’ve also accumulated a few things here and there. Hopefully I will make some moolah – and get rid of some junk – all in one fell swoop.

Garage sale season is here, and I’m loving it. Are you?

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  1. There’s a massive neighborhood garage sale in a really nice area near where we live, and my wife and kids are completely pumped for it this year. We like that one because people in that neighborhood always seem to be getting rid of things that they way undervalued.

  2. We have scored some pretty inexpensive fishing gear for my son at garage sales recently. What we’d pay $20 retail we are picking up for $1 or 2. I’ll take that saving any time of year!

  3. Most of the sales here are true crap, but if I happen upon a yard sale in a more affluent place, that’s a find. Sometimes you can get lucky at big yard sales thrown by charities. I once found a bag of high end boys clothes with dry cleaning tags that I snagged for my nephew. You know if they are dry cleaning the kid clothes it’s going to be a pretty luxe bag of stuff!

    1. My area is very affluent so that is probably why I find so much nice stuff. And yeah, who gets their kid’s clothes dry-cleaned these days? Especially before you donate?

  4. If you want/need any more shepherd’s hooks let me know. I have probably 3-5 at my old house that I know we won’t use (my grandmother had quite the green thumb, me… not so much).

    Personally, I don’t really do garage sales. I have enough crap as it is and I would much rather donate to somewhere than to spend my time selling it for such a low price. The only exception is for stuff I can easily sell on eBay. People buy all kinds of dumb stuff on there.

    1. That is so sweet! I keep forgetting you are in a neighboring town now. Are you in Hamilton county though?

      1. Yeah we moved to Westfield and are still cleaning out the old house and getting it ready to sell.

  5. I plan to get all my furniture for the new place at garage and estate sales. People out here have some really nice solid wood ye olde furniture that they’re basically giving away. For the same prices as stuff from Ikea, even! It’s crazy.

  6. My biggest problem right now with garage sales is having time to go to any. I live in the city so traveling to the burbs for what would be an afternoon just isn’t feasible right now. That said, I’m looking forward to it later in life!

    1. Yeah, I usually won’t travel far for a sale either. Most are in my neighborhood or in a nearby neighborhood! It isn’t worth it otherwise.

  7. Like Kim, most of the garage sales in our area aren’t that much to get excited about. But, there are are several larger neighborhood ones, as well as two rather big group week long consignment sales that are nearly upon us and we always score some awesome deals at them. Most of the time we’re able to get new, or near new stuff, for a small fraction of the retail price – can’t complain about that!

  8. Garage Sales are fantastic!!! I have been shopping them for 30 years. With 5 kids it was the only way to keep them in decent clothes. When they have looked at pictures of themselves growing up they have noticed and MENTIONED that they did wear the name brand clothes and styles. I have been able to get them sports, scouting, hobby, school, band, birthday and holiday needs and gifts and still not go broke. I’ve found Expensive Texas instrument calculators for $5-$10 that they can use through college. Instruments for under $50 (with a $30 tune up) that would lease/purchase at the music store for $600-$700. Jansport backpacks and bags for their lifetime warranty. Savings on clothes that averages 90% off retail. Now that they are in high school and college they often request that I look for particular items. They all shop garage sales and thrift stores for their needs/wants first before paying retail.
    I have been buying high end household and kitchen items and am regularly complimented by friends about my choices. many have become believers in 2nd Hand CHIC!! Today when I find a really good deal on these items I have begun to store them for the kids for their first home. I feel that the effort I have made to shop as frugally as possible has given our family additional savings that we feel we can then use to “participate in life” and not feel tied down to living beyond our means. May I also add that some of the nicest people and greatest savings (unknown thrift/church stores, grocery outlets, and specialty outlets) have been discovered through garage sales.

    1. Hey, that sounds awesome to me!!!!! It feels good to save on things you needed to buy anyway!

  9. I’ve actually never been a huge fan, but then I’m not in the market for anything either. I have a feeling if I went I’d be bringing home things I never intended just because they are super cheap. That doesn’t mean I don’ think they are great though because I do! I think for the reason you mentioned of keeping things out of landfills is one of my favorite things. I just don’t enjoy going to them myself.

    1. The real value in garage sales is when you have kids, honestly. I occasionally find stuff for myself, but most of the time, the deals are for kids clothes and gear.

  10. We had a fantastic garage sale experience in Indiana. My wife got a ton of name brand stuff. There is definitely a spectrum of garage sales, and depending where you are geographically might determine how successful the garage sailing experience is. In our experience, the midwest garage sales have been a lot better then the phoenix garage sales.

  11. I love garage sales. I find things here and there to use but once we have kids, I figure we will be finding a lot more. Both my wife and I agree that we aren’t paying full price for baby clothes that they will outgrow in like a day. Garage sales will be our go-to place to find them!

    1. Yes, exactly. Baby clothes at garage sales have often only been worn once! No reason to pay $20 for something when you can buy used for 50 cents. You’re going to wash it before your baby wears it anyway.

  12. We found some video rocker chairs for just a few bucks at a garage sale…..normally priced at over $50 each. I felt like I was stealing them…….I assume they just wanted them out of their house. My kids, along with their friends use them ALL THE TIME playing video games or just to sit on to watch TV when there’s a lot of people over.

  13. If we do garage sales if it is neighborhood sales. I won’t drive to a one shot address. That said when a neighborhood posts a sale we do cruise around and look for things that we are in the market for. We have even seen larger items for free at the end of the posted garage sale time. People will put free on it so they don’t have to move it back into the house or to the donation center. I scored a Total Gym and a Bow Flex for my home gym that way. They were always something I was curios about using. Waiting to the end of sale is obviously risky if you are looking for something you really want. Seems the best deals are taken in the first hour or two. Appears to us that there are a lot f profession garage sale shoppers out there snatching the best up early. I will see trucks loaded cab high with an assortment of everything you can think of.

    1. I mostly look for clothes, so timing isn’t that big of a deal. It seems like no one looks through clothes but me!

  14. I need to start going to garage sales more often! I haven’t been to one in forever but I’m sure I could be saving money in this area.

    1. Yes! We’re coming out to CO later this year by the way!

  15. I really should have taken advantage of garage sales more while living in the U.S. In the Swiss city where we live now, a large percentage of the population rents in multi-level buildings, and there aren’t many garages (or even private lawns) to hold sales. So I imagine there aren’t many garage sales here, but I’ll have to keep my eyes peeled.

    1. Oh, that stinks! Do you have something like craigslist there?

  16. I love shopping garage sales! Our church sometimes allows members of the congregation to host yard sales at the church if the proceeds are going to a good cause which makes me love them all the more! All our baby/toddler gear that wasn’t a gift was purchased from yard sales or craigslist at about 90% off.

    1. Same here. My sister also gave me some of her old baby gear!

  17. This doesn’t have to do with a garage sale, but with a comment you made about kroger oil of olay. If you have a Trader Joe’s, theirs is made by the Oil of Olay company but much cheaper. I was excited when I found that & have purchased it there ever since.

    1. Nice! I will keep that in mind. We have a Trader Joe’s about 20 mins away, but I always forget about it!

  18. My wife LOVES garage sales and I don’t mind them. Once I’m done with the GMAT and Saturday mornings are free we may have to go to some of them. It’s crazy the deals you can get sometimes.

    1. You sound like Greg. He will go. He’s usually not thrilled about it but he’ll go.

  19. I admit that I’m not a big garage sales person because I lack the patience to find good ones. 🙂 Also, I don’t think our prices are quite as low as yours, although definitely still cheaper than full retail! The girls have been donating their clothes to an orphanage in Mexico that we support through our local Rotary Club, which really makes them proud. Since the girls have other options to earn money, I haven’t suggested selling their old clothes yet.

  20. I love your work. You inspire and educate us on your blog about these 5 Reasons to Love Garage Sales. You can really help a lot. Great blogs!

  21. HAHA “Me bitches, that’s who.” <– god I love you.

    I love garage sales now that I have a kid, there are so many like-new baby clothes and items you can get for so cheap!!

    1. Yes! The best deals are always for kid’s stuff!

  22. catherine says:

    I haven’t gone to garage sales in quite a while but this year I plan on going. There is a huge second had store not far from our house- think small walmart- so when I need certain things I tend to go there first.

  23. Oh my goodness yes! I literally buy everything from kids clothes to christmas presents, to a brand new pair of black pumps with the tags still on for $2 – love me some garage sales!

  24. I love shepherd´s hooks and hanging baskets! Haha they´re one of my favorite things to have in the garden 🙂

  25. I also love going to garage sales! Wow, Nike running shorts with the tags still on for only $2? That was really a good one!

  26. One of my bff’s got a pretty new digital video camera at a garage sale for $5. She asked the wife about it, who said “I dunno. That’s just the number my husband put on it.” Not sure if he meant to write $500 or whatever, but man, she got a heck of a deal on that one. 🙂

  27. Garage sales around here are not very good. I like to go to the huge thrift store in the town next door. Sometimes their stuff is just junk but if you sift through, you can find some bargains. I bought a pair of Kenneth Cole Reaction sandals for .98 (they look brand new) and a pair of silver, kitten heel, strappy Naturalizer (think comfy) sandals for 1.98. The latter go perfectly with the dress I bought for our son’s wedding this summer (which I bought on sale at Macy’s with an addt’l 40% off–$51.50. So, $53.48 total for my outfit. That’s a win in my book.

  28. I’ve actually stopped going to many garage sales. It was great when I was shopping for the wedding. We found a vintage cake topper for 50 cents, silver trays to put the food on (we did it buffet style) and plenty of other stuff. I’ve also found awesome gifts, like $5 for a Star Wars Trivial Pursuit game that was barely used.

    Unfortunately, I can’t really shop for clothing at sales. I’m a little overweight, curvy and short-waisted. It’s really tough for me to find things that fit in thrift/department stores. Not to mention that most clothes at yard sales are size 10 or under. I’m around a 12 at the moment.

    Also, I’ve had to cut way down on my garage sale shopping because I was bringing home too many things that ended up as clutter. Plus Phoenix is far more spread out than Seattle, making harder to hit a bunch of sales in one area.

  29. I live in a high-rise apartment building and twice a year, they organize yard sales in which all residents can register. I made $60 on items in my apartment that I was literally about throw away. Not much, but I’d rather give someone an item for $3 than put it in the trash. I also swapped items with other residents at the yard sale. It was literally a win-win for everyone!

  30. Garage sales are awesome! even better my wife and I join the local facebook online garage sale groups so that we know exactly what we are getting prior to going to one. Look and see if there are such groups for your local community on face book. By doing this, you can save a lot of money on baby items, furniture etc. You will be amazed by how much quality stuff people throw away especially when they are moving.

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