Yard sales are no longer a simple dump site for ten cent junk items. You can find great name brand items, cheap!! Some easy tips for maximizing your yard sale experience.
Pick up your local newspaper and search through the yard sale section. Look through the ads for items that match what it is you're looking for. Circle all the sales that you want to visit.
Know your city as you browse the ads. If clothes are you calling, look for ads where the sales are in "higher end" housing areas. These areas will often have all the name brand items you looking for. If the ad also features more specialty items you're looking for like hunting or fishing equipment, it's an added bonus. You'll find plenty of deals in these garages.
Take out a notebook and pen or pencil and jot down the 5 or 10 top yard sales you find. List them by the time they are open for business, earliest first. In the event they open at the same time, place the one you like best first. If needed, get directions from site to site from mapquest.com or other similar site. Some will be held in the garage, others in the lawn or driveway.
If you're really hard core, drive by the yard sales the night before. Setting up a yard sale is a lot of work, so people often set up as much as possible the evening before. Scan the items as you drive by the area and garage. If you see a particular item you must have, and the people are out front, ask if you could look around. If they say yes, take a close look at the items you want. Don't be afraid to ask if you can purchase the items on the spot. Many times they will be happy to let you, since the sales clean out their garage and yard.
Many times, your initial "rankings" of each site will change after a drive by the previous night. Adjust your list accordingly. If the yard sales are actually being held in a garage, it's harder to spot the items.
It's the day of the yard sale, so get out there, EARLY. Yard sale goers are a competitive breed. Get to the sale about 20-30 minutes early. The people holding the sale may have gotten an early start and ready for business with the garage door open. Bring your notebook with you and take notes. You may want to bring a tape measure or color swatch with you in some circumstances.
It's perfectly acceptable to haggle with prices a bit, but don't be obnoxious. Make realistic offers. If you have multiple items, you may be able to save even more money.
If some items caught your attention, but were too expensive for your liking, make a note of them. Compare notes after you're done with your initial run of the yard sales.
For items that seemed over priced, go back to sale on the final day, relatively close to ending time. You may be able to haggle to get the price down. After all, packing up after a yard sale is a lot of work, so sometimes people would rather sell the items cheap, so they don't have to clean out the garage as much. This is definitely a time to consider multiple purchases. Large and heavy items are really tough to haul around after you've held an all day sale. These items may be able to be purchased super cheap.