It may not be that you particularly need anything at a garage sale -- although when you do, you could discover that garage sales are often great places to find it -- it’s that there is an aspect of the unknown that can come with finding something you never expected at a garage sale and that could even be quite valuable.  However, not everyone has a lot of time or money to devote to going to garage sales.  Therefore, there are certain tips you might want to try in an attempt to make your garage sale adventures as efficient and effective as possible. 


Checking Descriptions First

If you’re heading out to garage sales, you likely have to pick and choose which ones are worth attending.  By way of local newspapers and/or online postings, you can begin to get a pretty good read on where garage sales will be held and when; although sometimes you might catch an unadvertised event along the route to one of your planned sales.


From these ads, you may be able to gauge what type of sale it’s going to be and whether or not you’ll be interested.  The descriptions or the item listings in the ad can often help point you in the right direction as to whether or not there will be items of personal interest.  Descriptions such as “Antiques and collectibles”, “tools”, “farm equipment”, “baby and children’s toys”, “household goods”, and similar descriptors can clarify what might be offered at a particular sale enough to let you know whether stopping by would be worth your time. 


However, such descriptions might not be all-encompassing, and not at least investigating a particular sale could have you missing out.  Therefore, you might move on to the next tip to help you decide whether hitting a particular sale would be worthwhile.


Planning out a Route

With gas prices high and time sometimes short, you might consider planning out your garage sale route in advance so that you’re not left bouncing all over the place haphazardly.  If there are sales on the outskirts of your “distance comfort zone,” they might need to have a darn good description of items in which you’re interested; otherwise, you may have to scratch them from your planned route.


Being able to hit sale after sale in an organized, well-planned route, can save costly trips back and forth across town in an attempt to make it to all your planned sales.  By checking start times and locations, you may be better able to move from one sale to another in the most direct route possible and with minimal down time in between.


Knowing Areas

Sometimes you might not even need to bother with checking certain neighborhood sales when planning your garage sale day.  Distance can play a factor in your decision to cross certain neighborhoods off your list, but so can demographics.  When time is at a premium, you might find that making assumptions about certain garage sale locations can be a big time saver. 


Though you might miss out on a few deals in the process, knowing where your niche neighborhoods lie (places that cater to the items in which you have the most interest) can make your garage sale shopping more efficient.  Visiting neighborhoods with lots of young families who are typically selling baby items, kids clothing, and toys when you’re looking for antiques and collectibles -- or vice versa -- might not make for the best use of your time.


Knowing Your Strengths

You might have certain garage sale strengths.  You could be good at picking out undervalued antiques and collectibles or have an eye for recognizing the potential in certain lesser maintained items.  However, you may also have to admit when a particular item is beyond your ability to handle either in the rehabilitation or resale realm.  This means that you might have to be willing to throw in the towel rather than spend money undertaking a purchase that you might not be able to make money on or turn from trash to treasure.


Knowing and sticking to your garage sale strengths can help you avoid overspending on certain purchases or being stuck with items that you don’t necessarily want, need, or that you can be rid of easily.