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5 Tips to Help You Score the Best Yard Sale Finds

An old, golden gramophone might be one of the best yard sale finds

The best yard sale finds are like discovering lost treasures. But yard sales are also full of stuff that isn’t so great, and it is not always easy to tell the good and the apart. So here are 5 tips for a successful yard sale hunt from our team at Yard Sale Radar to help you score the best garage sale finds! You can also read our article about tips for making money at yard sales here.

A box of antique postcards for sale as an example of the best garage sale finds

1. Buy in Bulk Now and Sort It Out Later

Many times at a yard sale you’ll find items on sale in bulk, especially books and media, dishes, arts and crafts supplies, and other small items.

When it comes to thinking about the best yard sale items, there are two kinds of value: There’s the monetary value of getting a good price on something that’s genuinely worth money, and then there’s the emotional value of finding something you really like.

Buying in bulk can tap into both of these sources of value, but particularly the emotional value. When you’re shopping at a yard sale, you’re not really in your “at home” state of mind. And something that looks like a good buy at a yard sale might not turn out to be so great once you get it back home. Sometimes, the things that we think are going to make the best garage sale finds turn out to be duds.

Conversely, there are many things at a yard sale that you would totally overlook, but which you would have come to genuinely enjoy had you thought to bring them home. By buying in bulk, you’re going to find things you didn’t even know you were looking for, and these are some of the best yard sale finds of all.

2. Give It a Good Tap

When it comes to repurposed old furniture, appliances, and anything else that’s supposed to be sturdy, one way to tell apart the best yard sale finds from the trash is to give it a good, firm tap.

Don’t be too forceful — you don’t want to risk damaging or breaking something that might be unexpectedly delicate. It’s not your property (yet!), so be considerate. But a good, firm tap of the kind that you might expect it to receive in everyday use should tell you right away if there are any loose pieces, decaying joints, or flimsy construction materials.

The best garage sale finds aren’t always about finding a yard sale treasure. Many times, all you really want is something that’s sturdy and will get the job done right for a long time to come.

An antique wooden sideboard in excellent condition as an example of the best garage sale finds

3. Look for Solid Wood Construction

Speaking of things that are sturdy and durable. One of the best things to buy at yard sales is some old wooden furniture that’s nice and solid.

Most furniture nowadays is made very cheap, even the expensive stuff. But there was a time when furniture was built to last and made with pride. The best yard sale finds often come the farthest from the past.

Many people shop at yard sales because they know that furniture from the past is a lot higher in quality. Sure, it may have some scratches and dings, and it may need a new coat of paint, but those are problems you can fix in a weekend DIY project.

An antique commemorative coin from 1965 as an example of the best garage sale finds

4. If You’re Looking for Something Specific, Do Your Research Ahead of Time

Finally, one last tip for scoring the best yard sale finds is to do your research ahead of time. If you’re looking for something specific and uncommon, like a rare vinyl record album or a particular model year of a certain appliance, this information isn’t necessarily going to be printed on the thing itself. You have to know in advance the characteristics of what you’re looking for.

Some people visit yard sales for this very reason, hoping to score yard sale items worth money for just a few pennies. There’s no denying that one of the best garage sale finds of all is the one where you find legitimate treasure, paying only a dollar or two for something that’s worth a hundred times that, or even more.

Just about every category of yard sale goods, from video games to dinner plates, has rare and valuable collector’s items. Learning to spot the jackpots from their more common counterparts involves careful study ahead of time on enthusiasts’ websites and other online resources. Treasure seekers love this kind of hunt, and when they talk about their personal best yard sale finds they often dwell on the thrill of being able to use the knowledge they’ve carefully built to spot these valuable items in the wild. So do your research, and it might just pay off!

5. Use Yard Sale Radar to Find Yard Sales Near You

Scoring the best yard sale finds begins with finding the best yard sales. Yard sales can be notoriously difficult to advertise because they’re time-sensitive and the people who are interested are probably spread out all over town.

Yard Sale Radar is a way to help you find local yard sales, as well as advertise your own yard sales. Together with traditional classified listings and physical signs and flyers, we’re a great way for yard sale buyers and sellers to connect. Visit our FAQ page to learn more about how it works, or contact us if you have any questions.

And be sure to check out our blog for more tips on buying and selling at yard sales!