Nothing excites us quite like being able to find the perfect, handpicked gifts for our tribe.
Would you give me a second-hand gift for Christmas—does the thought of garage sale gift shopping make you cringe? Why would you think about buying used gifts for others on special occasions? I know this is an odd idea but hear me out.
Most people can buy whatever they need or want—at garage sales; however, you can find treasures loved ones or friends never thought you’d get for them. Shopping from garage sales allows you to think outside the traditional gift-giving box and purchase unique items that come with a story. For example, you might find jewelry (authentic and costume), small quirky dishes and glassware, accessories, bags and purses, toys, knick-knacks or nerd gear, art, books—you get the idea. Shopping from garage sales is a perfect opportunity to stock up on party or hostess gifts as well.
Try something different this year. Save money and find unique gifts by making garage and yard sales your go-to this holiday season. Here’s why:
- Take Gift Giving to A New Level
At garage sales, you never know what you’re going to find. You may stumble upon a vintage, satin designer scarf for that one friend who’s stylish. There’s almost always an abundance of accessories and clothing on tables in driveways on Saturday mornings. Now and then, you’ll run into the fashionista homeowner selling their vintage finds. Nine out of 10 times, you’re paying low bucks for one-of-a-kind items worth more than mass-produced products. Most times, what is being sold is what’s left or unwanted of the personal belongings of someone who has lived an entire life. Meanwhile, in a department store, that same brand is being sold for $700 or more. The best part? The person receiving the gift won’t likely meet another person with the same
- People Love to Share Good Stories
Can you imagine the person whom you’ve picked a gift for opening that beautifully wrapped package? They’ll tell stories about the things you purchased from a garage or yard sale that wowed them. They may connect you to the gift or connect the gift to the person receiving it in the tale of the person gifting.
The best way to hear that tale is to greet the person running the sale, ask them why they’re selling and what items they hate to part with if anything at all. You want the story that goes along with the purchase.
- Save Some Money (spend less)
It’s no secret that what you’ll find at a garage sale will be significantly cheaper than shopping retail or even consignment. Plus, in true garage sale fashion, you’ll want to negotiate and bargain wherever you see fit. Never shy away from doing so — it’s part of the fun and the culture.
- No Lines or Waiting
People getting rid of the old to make room for the new don’t have a season. You can be in any part of a state and find a garage sale happening near you. The best part about holiday shopping is that it’s during the fall so you’ll be spoiled with decent weather.
The better you know your target’s interests, the easier it’ll be to find a gift that suits them.
Of course, that’s always the case, but it’s even more important when buying at a garage sale.
Deciding what to gift someone:
- Have a list of who you’re buying for and what you’re looking for
- Many items at a garage sale are brand new, never used or worn. Keep an eye out for these things. They may cost a tad more, but not much. I’d say $4.99 for new fashionable clothing is a deal!
- Look for designer labels on clothing, jewelry, bags/purses, and accessories. Many of these are like new because the previous owner took care of something quite expensive
- If you are looking for party gifts/hostess gifts, this is the perfect place! Check out the glassware, the party platters, and pitchers.
- Buy books! The books at garage sales are excellent! You will find a ton of great ones! Series, popups, crafty, cardboard books, coloring books—just about anything! Especially children’s books.
- There are usually tons of candleholders (teens love candles)
- Think outside of the box—what can you paint, mod podge with fun photos
- If you have little girls, one of the things I loved to do was buy a super fancy little pocketbook/purse, you know, those sparkly ones, and put stuff in it. Chapstick, a comb, brush (not from the thrift store). So fun and a couple of dollars compared to a department store.
- Buy picture frames. Thrift stores everywhere have a vast selection of framed posters and artwork. Look for cool, unique frames. If you don’t like what’s inside the frame, ditch it and replace it with a family photo or print by your loved ones the favorite artist
- I said once, and I’ll repeat it. Toys can be a great bargain at garage sales, and they will be in new boxes, only slightly used.
Once you’ve established a beautiful used gift that your recipient would appreciate, how do you choose one?
My first tip is to start early
—garage sales are hit or miss. Shop all year long and pick up future gifts.
- Mornings are the best time to hit garage sale because you get first to pick on the items
- The location makes a difference. Garage sales near wealthier areas tend to have excellent sections.
- Take your time looking through the stuff. Think about who you are buying for.
- Skip the used electronics. If you’re on a budget, you’re better off getting something new and cheap at Walmart or Amazon.
- If you ignore the previous tip and buy electronic gear, test it before leaving the sale.
- Inspect items closely before buying. Check for cracks, chips, holes, tears, stains, or rust: test drawers, zippers, buckles, and snaps.
Pro-Tips to note before you go:
- Do your research. Find garage sales near you, prioritize the ones with detailed descriptions and photos, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
- Generally, the most popular day for garage sales is Saturdays. This means more garages and a better selection of items.
- Get there early. The longer you wait, the faster the best items are being purchased at meager prices.
- Typically, transactions are cash only. Bring small bills.
- Make room in your car if you plan to purchase big items like a vanity, jewelry box, or unique mirror.