Finding the Best Yard Sales

Home & Family, Living Green
on March 4, 2012

Looking for a great bargain? If you're willing to do a little work, a yard sale might just be what you're looking for. Here are some tips for scoring the best deals in your back yard or somebody else's front yard.

Focus your search on nice neighborhoods. It's important to understand that yard sale items are someone else's no longer wanted items. The more luxurious the neighborhood, the higher the chances of that no-longer-wanted item being top quality. Think of it this way: If the neighborhood big-box discount store is having a going-out-of-business sale, and a high-end, top-of-the-line department store is having a going-out-of-business sale at the same prices, where are you going to go to find high-quality items at a discount? The same holds true for yard sales. Choose the high-end neighborhood.

Don't wander aimlessly. Don't just wake up and walk out the door Saturday morning, hoping to find the perfect yard sale selling the perfect item. That's so 1990s. recommends doing a little research the night before by going through online want ads in your area and checking out sites such as craigslist. Find sales clustered together in neighborhoods you wish to shop. The same rules apply for finding yard sales while traveling. When you think you've found a good yard sale, call the sellers to find out if they have what you're looking for, if you're searching for something specific. Old-fashioned newspapers — especially those free ones you find outside of grocery stores — can be a good source for regularly scheduled yard and similar sales.

Search the old-fashioned way. Not everyone who has a yard sale advertises in the newspaper or online. Community bulletin boards are a great source for finding yard sales and those selling individual items you may be looking for. The night before, it's a good idea to drive around local neighborhoods and look for homemade signs — those ones made out of a box with a rock inside to hold it down and balloons tied to it to attract your attention. You can also network the old-fashioned way. There's a good chance that other people at the same yard sale have been to other yard sales. Talk to them. Ask them if they've had any success finding other good sales.

Happy hunting!