Garage Sale Shopping Tips

Resident Garage Sale 'Pro' Offers Pointers

Long-time Palmetto Bay resident and veteran garage-sale enthusiast Judy Jones shares tips on how to make your next sale experience smarter, safer, and more enjoyable -- whether you're a buyer or seller. And Judy ought to know: "I have been going to garage sales and hosting garage sales most of my life. It's my hobby -- and passion!"

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Judy's Sale Tip of the Week

Holiday Shopping Made Easy ... This is a great time of year to host your own garage sale – or head out to attend others’. It’s finally cooling off, and so it’s much more comfortable to be outdoors shopping. With the holidays coming, garage sales are a good place to look for gifts for family and friends. There are items for all ages from babies to seniors. I have found the most unique gifts for people that I would never find in a store. Some are funny and others are useful. I concentrate on what the person likes and might find interesting – whether it is sports, hobbies, or just a surprise gift! "Where did you find that," they ask. Should I tell them, Macy's or I got that at a garage sale? A nice thing about going to garage sales when I travel to other states and countries is the number of amazing gifts I find that I simply wouldn't’t find anywhere else, and the items are a fraction of the cost compared with tourist gift shops or department stores. Everybody wins! Happy shopping and happy Thanksgiving!

Change is Good ... It's important when you are shopping or having your own garage sale to make sure you have lots of change. If I am the seller, I have around $20 in change in my pouch. A lot of people need to break larger bills. The shopper really should carry around change as well. If they want to buy a .25 or .50 cent item, the seller may not have enough change to give the buyer. I always carry a pouch around my waste so I have both hands free for shopping. Sellers need one also to give out change. Don't expect the seller to give you change back from a $20 bill if you are buying an inexpensive item. It is pretty inconvenient to run off to an ATM in the middle of a sale because you don't have the right amount of money. I go to them in Miami, Michigan, and any place that has them. Each state is very unique with what they sell so it is fun to go different places. What is so amazing is that if I need something a lot of the time I can find the item I need at a garage sale for a fraction that a store charges. What a great feeling! Enjoy the garage sales!!!

Wonderful Winterkleidung ... I have bought quite a few winter clothes at the Palmetto Bay garage sales. I am presently in Europe and enjoying wearing these clothes for a fraction of the cost of new clothes. I am so amazed at the bargains I get at garage sales. If you need summer or winter clothing you can find them when you shop at the sales -- anything, actually -- and usually within a short period of time. I also often to give people gifts from garage sales. I can find unusual gifts that I can't find in a store. I like to give humorous gifts. Enjoy shopping and getting great bargains at the Palmetto Bay garage sales!

Look at that Mug ... I have been traveling quite a bit in the past year and instead of shopping in a retail store to get a coffee mug souvenir of each country or state I have visited, I am able to find them at the garage sales – some right here in Palmetto Bay! I have really been lucky since I have seen many mugs from various places at two different sales. Some are funny mugs and others show the state or country they represent. I save a lot of money since the mugs sold in souvenir shops can be pricey. Some items I purchase as gifts for friends and others I buy for my own collection of places I have visited. I have quite a collection now. Not just mugs, but I have bought knick-knacks from various places I have been to – also at garage sales. Souvenir shops sell these items at top prices. I get them very inexpensively at the garage sales. So when you take a trip, be sure to check out the garage sales and you may find just what you are looking for as an inexpensive souvenir. Happy shopping!

Lessons from Lapland -- Hi everyone. I am reporting from Lapland, Finland right now, where it is a bracing -22 C  -- and I am freezing! There are no garage sales here. But I am getting a lot of use out of the heavy winter clothes I bought at garage sales back in Palmetto Bay before I left for Europe. If you have clothes at home and other items that you don't use anymore, you might want to clean out your house and start replacing them with new items that you can use. You can find wonderful things you can use at garage sales for a fraction of the cost of store prices. I even gave a friend some winter gloves that I bought in Miami at a garage sale as a gift. They were hardly used and looked like expensive gloves. There are so many things in our homes that we don't use anymore including clothing. You can start putting things aside today for a sale and check garage sales for things you do need. Happy shopping! Stay warm!

Holiday Gifting -- It’s a great time to check out the garage sales for holiday giving. Over the past few weeks, people have been cleaning out their houses and getting rid of things they don't use to make room for holiday gifts. You can find some great bargains for family and friends. Sometimes, these items have never been used and are still in their original packages! I have given many garage-sale gifts over the years, and everyone is so surprised how unique the gifts are. Many times, you just can't find these treasures at retail stores. And some are even quite exotic, gathered up during peoples' world travels -- can you say Egyptian camel saddle or Munchin bier stein? And best of all, all these items are available at super low prices compared with stores prices – and no tax. Have a happy holiday season and wonderful 2015!

Warming Up for Winter -- The holidays are coming fast and so is winter. If you are planning to vacation up north at some point over the next few months, look no further for warm winter clothes than right here in South Florida. Garage sales offer great bargains on winter clothes. I got a waterproof ski outfit with suspenders, ski cap, heavy gloves (as well as a nice light-weight pair), heavy sock, and more. I saw boots, ski boots, scarves, thermal under ware, and lots more. I was shocked to see so many items right here in Palmetto Bay. I guess when the snow birds move to Miami they eventually have garage sales to get rid of all their winter items. And the best part is, everything is at a fraction of the cost, compared with what you would have to pay up North. I am going to try downhill snow skiing this winter – in all my gently used winter wear. And wish me luck, I will need it!

Everything's Coming Up Babies ... If you are expecting a baby or a grandchild, or if you know someone who is, garage sales have an abundance of baby items – almost anything you may ever need for a baby. Lots of clothes in different sizes and colors, toys, cribs, changing tables, car seats, sippy cubs, and many items you would see in a store that carries items for babies. The best part is, you can haggle the price at garage sales. I have seen many parents and grandparents buying baby items. You can save a lot of money at garage sales. After the baby shower, you will probably still need many things – find the rest of what you need for your baby at a garage sale. Happy shopping.

Back-to-School Savings ... It's not too late to hit the garage sales in search of back-to-school clothing. As your child grows so quickly, you seem to be always on the hunt for larger sized clothing. There are lots of sales right now where you may find nice quality clothing at a great price. Also, shoes are sold at the garage sales so you can find larger kids size shoes, too. It is a great way to save money – and I have seen many named brand clothes and shoes at sales. Several items have never been worn, and still have the original price tag. I am always thrilled when I find good bargains, named brands, and in good condition. Palmetto Bay is such a great place to go to garage sales and they have them year round.  Up north, the only time they have sales is between spring and fall, because of all the snow. So enjoy our year-round garage sales. Happy shopping!

Charity Sales Warm Your Heart ... It is a great idea to have a charity garage sale. I worked at one in Michigan and it really felt great. It was nice to see people buying so many items and even leaving donations for the needy. People donated the sale items and all the money from the garage sale went to help the poor who don't have money to get health care or cover other basic needs. They advertised it and loads of people shopped there. I was working there and personally bought several items. The helpers at the sale volunteered their time to work on the sale. I have seen several charity sales in Palmetto Bay. The money from the sales go to the poor in other countries that really need help. It feels good to help out and know that everything you sell will help those less fortunate.

Haggling is Great Fun ... I enjoy haggling and frankly expect my customers to do it when I host a sale. But don't be cheap! If something is marked at a quarter, don’t try to get it for a dime. Be reasonable. On the other hand, don't be shy. You never know -- the seller may very well go down on price. But if they do say no, make a quick decision to pay the asking price or just move on. I went to a sale recently in Michigan -- a Wednesday sale -- and haggled a $10 item down to $8. There was another customer there who haggled over books and got a great deal. There are a lot of sales up in Michigan including church sales. I also noticed most of their sales take place Thursdays through Sundays. In Miami, garage sales typically happen on Saturdays and sometimes Sundays (Friday sales are pretty rare). It is so interesting to me to see the variety of items at different homes and in different states. I have haggled in Hawaii, San Francisco, the Caribbean, and many other places. Soon I am heading to Sweden and Finland for vacation and am anxious to see if they, too, have sales. Meanwhile, shop ‘til you “släpp” as they say in Sweden. I’ll be back with a full report!

Aloha State Garage Sales ... It is so exciting to find unusual items at garage sales in different states and countries. I just returned from Hawaii, and as I toured the different islands I saw signs all over the place for garage sales. I must have seen at least 20 signs during my stay. It is amazing to me that when you go on vacation or take a trip, you can still get your garage-sales "fix!" Garage sales seem to be everywhere -- thankfully! People want to clear out their house with items they don't use any more and others are looking for particular items to buy. It is a win-win situation for everyone. Have fun at the sales this weekend. Aloha!

The Time-Tested "T" ... Over the years, I have seen many T-shirts for sale at garage sale, many with funny sayings on them -- and I have purchased quite a few. I save a lot of money by buying T-shirts at the sales instead of department stores. They also make great gifts for different occasions such as "Over-the-Hill" shirts, retirement shirts, and myriad other funny shirts. I love peoples' reactions when I wear a goofy shirt out in public or give them out as gifts. Did you know, the dubbed “T-shirt” surfaced in the U.S. when they were issued by the U.S. Navy sometime around the Spanish American War. It got its iconic name from its shape resembling the letter “T,” of course. And by the 1920s “T-shirt” became an official American-English word in the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. But it wasn't until 1942 that the printed T-shirt came into fashion, to identify members of the Air Corps Gunnery School, as featured on the cover of LIFE magazine.

Spring Into Summer ... It's not too early to start shopping for summer clothes. There are a lot of T-shirts, tank tops, shorts, sneakers, flip flops, sandals, sun visors, baseball caps, and the like at garage sales. Great prices, too. You can really make a nice wardrobe from the garage sale clothing. I love to mix and match tops with shorts. Also, there are no sales taxes -- just low prices.  I try on clothing items over my clothes while I am at a sale, to ensure they fit before I buy it. I don't want to get home and be disappointed. Enjoy the garage sales!

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