I have a passion for garage sales, but I cannot take credit for it. Growing up, both my parents loved garage sales, auctions, thrift stores, flea markets – any place where they might be able to get a good deal.
But, it isn’t always easy to find a good deal. If you have a child, especially a growing one, purchasing gently used clothing at garage sales is a great way to save money. My son loves Phineas and Ferb and one Saturday morning, I found a cute, long-sleeved Phineas and Ferb shirt that looked like it had only been worn a few times. The best part was it only cost one dollar. If I purchased it new in a store, I seriously doubt I could have gotten it for less than $9.99. That same Saturday, I scored a second great deal – Gap clothing for $1 each. I found a hoodie, four pairs of jeans, and three pairs of uniform pants for my son and picked them all up for less than $10 total.
It is also important to shop smart. Those Gap jeans and uniform pants were all size 7 and my son had just turned eight. He was only able to wear the jeans for about four months before they became too short. I was disappointed, but I had a great idea. I listed the pants on eBay and sold each for $3.99 each. On my original investment of $8, I ended up getting him nice, name brand pants for a few months, and then selling them and making almost $20 back on my original investment.
When looking for garage sales that have children’s clothing, I will admit that I usually check Craigslist or our local paper for sales in the more affluent parts of town. My reasoning is that if these people can afford to live in these neighborhoods, they probably purchase nice clothing and don’t really expect to get much back when they sell them. So far, that reasoning has worked out well for me.
It may depend on what part of the country you live in, but in the South, gently worn name brand children clothes such as Gap, Old Navy, etc. are usually very easy to resell. I told my father, my Saturday morning garage sale partner, that next time I find Gap clothing at a garage sale, even if it is too small for my son, if it is reasonably priced ($1 per piece), I am going to purchase it and put it on eBay.
Another thing I love to purchase at garage sales for my son is toys. When he was smaller, I could find toys that would normally cost between $20 and $30 at the retail store for a fraction of the price at garage sales. When kids are younger, they often go through toys at a frightening pace – something is their favorite toy one minute, then they totally ignore it the next. We still purchased new toys for our son, but I always enjoy making a cheaper purchase of something I know he would love at a garage sale. Plus, I always felt less guilty when he breaks or ignores a toy for which I only paid one or two dollars.
One important thing to remember is to inspect items before making a purchase. Search clothing for holes, stains, etc. If something has a zipper, make sure that works. As for toys, make sure all parts are there and working.
The final reminder of garage sales is that, as the old adage goes, the early bird gets the worm. Most garage sales in the Memphis area start at 6 am, so if you wait until 8 am to start going out, you may miss a good deal. I love sleeping in, but to me, finding good deals is much more important.