Garage Sale Domination

Since moving into the new house we have wanted to hit up some garage sales on a Saturday. It took a few weekends to have the time to do so, but man oh man did we make out big! I’ll put it this way…when was the last time you had to go home and unload the car (ahem…jeep) to be able to go back and fit the rest of your garage sale finds in the car? Yup, we totally did. And we made out like bandits! I put together an excel sheet (did you expect anything less?) of our finds, including what they asked, what we paid, the retail value, and the percentage saved. I included the spread sheet at the end of the post for those who are interested in the details. For those who aren't…we got $691 worth of stuff (that’s a pre-tax figure) for $155. I call that a win.

I wasn't sure how many garage sales we would find, but there were plenty. We first went to an estate sale which was a little disappointing, given that everything in the house was for sale. I did pick up this old gin bottle for a relative since that is their drink of choice. I thought it was pretty cool and I’m hoping she will appreciate it!

At the next garage sale I saw this easel for $15!!!! An easel like this is about $100 and we put in the sun room where it is just waiting for a cool piece of art to hold. Love love!

They also has a really cool light at this garage sale for only $10 kinda like this which I really liked, but there isn't anywhere in the house for it to go so I sadly left it there for someone else.  One thing we did really well with was not buying things we didn't need just because they were a good price.

We found these two coolers for $2 each which is something we've been looking for but didn't really want to spend the money on.

Our next stop was a little funny because it was at a house we actually looked at buying when we were house hunting. The Engineer was a little nervous about stopping because we had run into the owner when we were there looking at the house and didn't want it to be weird. I convinced him that we should stop though because a few things had already caught my eye and thank goodness we did because that was a jackpot stop!

We bought a wheel barrow (one of the items The Engineer specifically wanted to find at a garage sale), an 8 foot fiberglass step ladder (another awesome score!), a small outdoor table, a box of dollar tools that The Engineer snagged a few items from, and a gas can.

This was a great stop not only because we got a number of items we were looking for, but we also got a nice bulk price. The asking price at the garage sale for this stuff was $52 and we got all of it for $40…retail value...$253!!! Not kidding!

This was about the time we reached critical mass. We already had the easel in the jeep and we now wanted to add a wheel barrow and 8 foot ladder! It probably took about 20 minutes of re-arranging, and the removal of the wheel barrow legs, but we got it all in eventually.

At the very next house we stopped at we saw the holy grail of furniture. The reason this item was such so amazing was because we had been searching for a very particular piece for a very particular spot and didn't want to spend a lot of money on it. It was a tall order.

We have a very small pantry and there is this small spot in the kitchen on the wall between a window, a doorway, and the island that a little hutch/cabinet could fit. It was only 29 inches wide and had to fit below the light switch. Options were few and far between, and expensive. The best thing we had found up to that day was a little cabinet (maybe 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide) that had a small trash can pull out and one drawer…for $160! And it was unfinished wood; we would have to stain it ourselves. Not that we minded the staining, but to us that was a lot of money for something so small and unfinished. I am SO GLAD we held out!

Enter the most amazing cabinet ever…

And the problem of our car being completely full…remember that easel, wheel barrow, and ladder? Yup. We literally did not have enough room in the car. We liked it though and it matched the feel of the house really well and the price was right. $55 for a completely finished piece of furniture. We talked it over with the sellers and they generously offered to hold it for us while we went home and dropped all our other stuff off. They even knocked off $10 for the gas! So for $45 we got this wonderful cabinet that was the perfect solution to our pantry problem!

We knew it was wider than the space on the wall, but we felt that if it overlapped the window it would be worth it. As if it couldn't get better, it was shorter than the window. :) 

We also picked up the two planting pots pictured above on the small outdoor table for $0.50 each.

Now we had a virtually empty car and a good number of garage sales left to stop at that we spotted during out trip home. You would have thought by this time we would be worn out or that the good deals would be gone, but we were on a pretty big high from all our success and scored a few more deals.

We got a croquet set and fertilizer spreader for $20.

Christmas lights, $10 for 4 packs. We have one strand of white that we used for our tree last year (my first real tree!) but that won’t really cover the tree and house this year haha.

Our last little find were these picture frames for $5 each. They still had their Pier One price stickers on them…$25 each!

The spread sheet I made has the listing price and the price we paid after some bartering. Then I put the retail value which I determined by looking online for the cheapest comparable item. This method gave me a conservative estimate for the price. Some items like the cabinet were difficult to find a good price for so I estimated. I doubled the asking price for the cabinet ($110) which I know is definitely lower than it would sell for in a store.

All in we spent $155 for a list of items worth over $691. I know these items are used but they will work perfectly for us and you can’t beat the savings! I will gladly pay less than ¼ of the cost any day!