Thursday, May 3, 2012

Yard Sales, Garage Sales - Re-post

This was originally posted in the Spring of 2010.  I thought it would be good to re-post it since it is once again garage sale season!

The garage sale season is almost upon us!  Yay for signs of spring!  I asked my dear friend, Lori, if she would write a guest post regarding this topic.  I used to think that I was frugal......then I met Lori.  We have been friends for quite awhile and I am continually impressed with her passion for living well but at the same time being extremely frugal.  Almost a decade ago, we both had our first-born daughters within a month of each other and Lori taught me how to make homemade diaper wipes.  She also introduced me to this amazing place called Savers.  You rock, Lori.  Thanks for this great post!

Seven years ago, my husband,  2 kids (we now have 4), and I moved to Lancaster, Pa.  I have always been thrify and had an eye for a good deal.  Upon our move to Lancaster, I developed a love for going to yard sales.  Yard-saling is a way of life around here.  From April-November you will find sales at every corner of the county.  If done properly, you can get some great steals!!

What do I love most about yard-saling?  Is it the thrill of the hunt or the reward of the good deal?  I'd say both.  Not only is yard-saling a hobby that I enjoy, but it has become a means for me to get what I need for our family by stretching our budget much further.    Many people have asked me,  "how do you find all that good stuff?"  There is no secret, it's simply trial and error.  But there are a few things I've learned along the way and thought I'd pass them along. 

Buy a map   In the area where we live, you can buy maps of our county.  They are very helpful when reading ads and trying to plan out your route for the day.  The $12 that you spend on a map will go a looooong way towards your success.  My map is shredded and ripped and falling apart.  I need a new one.  You can usually find them at your local convenience store.

Go often  To be a successful yard-saler, you simply must go!  I usually prefer Friday morning, but some like Saturdays.  You can't just go once or twice a year and then say, "I never have any luck when I go!!"  Get out and go often.  Many times a sale will be a total bomb.  Don't be discouraged or think of it as a waste of time.  Try again, you will certainly hit a good one at some point.

Go early  It really is true that the early bird gets the worm.  The best is if you can get up super early and go before your husband leaves for work!  I often do that, go to just a sale or 2 before my husband has to leave.  If I have a good sale coming, I often have a hard time sleeping the night before!

Don't be afraid to take your kids  If going w/out your kids is not an option, take them along!  You can find them all kinds of treasures, many times in the free box.  My older girls have become good shoppers, often finding things that they have been wanting.  We have gotten many good board games, books and toys because of their shopping eyes!

Most sales are in the spring and fall  There are not too many sales over the summer months, you will find them mostly in April/May and Sept./Oct.

Be a smart ad reader  I read two of my local newspapers to catch the sales.  The tricky part about ads is that some people over-advertise and then others under-advertise.  For example, not every ad that reads (Brand name kids clothes-excellent condition) is such.  Most of the time it is true, but not always.  I think that I have found the most success at the ones that tend to under-advertise.  For example, if the ad simply reads: kids clothes, primitive decor, Longenberger baskets, etc.  There is the clue.  Although you may not decorate with primitive decor, most people who put money into their house by buying things like Longaberger baskets will most likely have spent money on nice kids clothes as well.
Also along these lines, many people think that the best yard sale are the development sales.  Although these are good for some reasons (taking kids along) I find they are usually over-crowded and picked over.
I think my best sales are those that say 'multi-family".  There are usually large with lots of good stuff.  Again, not a given, but often true.

Stay local (most of the time!)  This is especially helpful if you have to drag your kids along or don't have a lot of time to kill.  I rarely yard-sale too far from my home.  I often see good ads for far away, but I don't usually have that much time.  I will occasionally venture out further if I have a lot of extra time or am going with someone.

Don't be afraid to ask questions  This has probably been the key to my continued success in regards to my kids clothing.  If you find someone who has clothes that you like and are the size that you need, ask them if they have the sale every year, when they usually have it, etc.  Then hit it again next year!  They want you to buy their stuff as much as you want to buy it.  Don't be shy, even ask for their phone number or e-mail address!  This past summer, I hit a sale I had been to a number of times.  When I arrived, the lady told me I could have whatever I wanted for free.  I got 2 enormous bags of brand name girls clothes without paying a dime.  I think she liked that I was her "frequent costumer" and just wanted to get the stuff off of her hands.

Have an eye for restoration  That ugly table could be really cute with a coat of paint.  What about pulling the out-of-date flowers off of that wreath?  New knobs and paint for that dresser?  My recent good find was a solid wood, silver end table for $2.  I painted it black and it looks very sharp!  It still needs a handle...
Shop ahead  I usually buy a year ahead for my kids clothes.  When all is right with the world, I have bins in order in the basement and if I purchase something, I wash it and just throw it in the appropiate bin.  When a new season comes around, it is so nice to just pull out the bin and have my child fully clothed!!  Here is a pic of my basement:
Not every find is a good deal!  Just because it is at a yard sale does not mean it is a good deal.  Most people in my area price very fair, but not all.  I have yard saled in different places and have been surprised at the high prices.  You might be better getting it on clearance at Target!

Beware of over-buying  This temptation strikes me most often in the area of my kids clothing.  I often see many cute things for only 50 cents, how could I possibly pass it up?!?!  Or, I'll open up the winter bin and realize that they have 3 pairs of khaki pants.  The more organized I am at home, the less tempted I am to over-buy.

I hope these tips help as we enter into another garage sale season.  Good luck finding deals!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Black Shard - Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner!  And The Black Shard goes to:  Dragonfly Summers......congrats to you!  You will be receiving an email with all the info for your new book!

Thanks to all of you!

Friday, April 13, 2012

"The Black Shard" Review and Giveaway

Last fall I did a review and giveaway for the book, "The Magic Warble". I really enjoyed that book and was very excited when I was contacted by the author Victoria Simcox to review the sequel, "The Black Shard".

Although The Black Shard stands well as a book on its own, it's even more fun to read them both. The Black Shard picks up a few years after the first book ends. The main character missed the magical land that she once visited and all her dear friends she made when she was there. While off at horse camp, she finds herself, once again, being transported back to Bernovem. She is thrilled to be reunited with her old friends! But she soon notices things aren't quite right as she embarks on another fantastic and dangerous adventure where she learns strength in weakness.

This was a great sequel and I was happily surprised at the end because it took a turn that I wasn't expecting and it left me wanting more. I love it when that happens. It took me awhile to actually finish this book because my 11 year old daughter kept sneaking it away from me (she wanted to read it as much as I did).

If you are looking for the perfect gift for that middle-school aged child in your life, these books certainly have my seal of approval.

You can find more about these books and purchase them here.


The author has once again generously offered to give one of you a copy of The Black Shard! There are plenty ways to win:

Mandatory Entry:

Leave me a comment about one of your favorite books from childhood.

Extra Entries:

(Please leave a comment for each entry)

Follow the author's blog.

"Like" The Black Shard on Facebook.

Follow the author (Victoria Simcox) on Twitter.

"Like" Household Cents on Facebook.

Follow Household Cents on Twitter.

Follow my Household Cents blog.

That's seven different ways to enter! I will be picking a winner using on April 23.  Giveaway for US residents only.  Good luck!

Monday, April 9, 2012


Are you familiar with Pinterest?  It's a website that is like a virtual bulletin board.  You can "pin" all sorts of things to your "board".  I pin recipes, knitting and crocheting ideas, remodeling ideas, homeschool ideas, party ideas, gift ideas, project ideas, baby ideas, photo ideas, etc.  It's nice to have it all in one place and since it's online, I can access it from anywhere.  I used to bog down my bookmarks with all of those things - now it's nicely organized on my Pinterest board.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I also have a board devoted to any and all worthwhile frugal ideas that come my way.  I have dozens of frugal pins.....feel free to check them out!

Follow Me on Pinterest

Monday, March 19, 2012

Spring Cleaning?

Just thought I would bring up a past post having to do with Spring cleaning.  I have been doing a lot of "spring cleaning" and organizing lately.  How about you?

Friday, January 27, 2012

See You Soon!

Just to let you all know (if you haven't noticed already), I am on a much needed blogging break.  I'll be back at it again soon.  Until then, keep checking Household Cents on Facebook.  I'll keep adding freebies, samples, cool giveaways, etc.  Thanks!