In many parts of the country the weather is getting warmer, and garage sales are starting to pop up throughout the neighborhood. Most of the time when I shop at garage sales, I take a leisurely stroll, looking for nothing in particular.

Sometimes, however, I’m in need of something specific, and I need a plan to make the most of my garage sale shopping day. That’s when it’s time to do some garage sale power shopping.

Here are a few tips to make your garage sale power shopping trip a success.

  • Make a list. Yes, that’s right. A list will keep you focused on what you’re looking for, whether it’s furniture or books.
  • Map out a route. The night before you head out, take a look at the local newspaper. Find one or two garage sales that you feel you want to hit first, because the ad says they’re offering what you’re looking for. From there, map out a route, taking into account the garage sale start times. You’ll save time and gas if you know where you’re going next.
  • Carry lots of change. I know it’s hard to believe, but sometimes the people throwing the garage sale won’t have the foresight to make sure they have enough change. It’s great if you have exact change. It prevents those “what do we do now?” moments that can slow you down.
  • Use a fanny-pack. If you’re a real garage sale power shopper, leave the purse at home. By using a fanny pack, you can park the car, jump out, shop, and leave your hands free for inspecting and carrying your merchandise.
  • Pack snacks and water. You don’t want to be sidelined by hunger or thirst.
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle. Some people might get offended, but you have nothing to lose by asking, “Will you be willing to take $x.xx for this?” Worst case scenario, they say no. Best case scenario, you get your price.
  • Make notes of garage sales that are overpriced, but have great stuff. If you come back late in the day, they might be willing to come down in price.
  • Enjoy yourself! There’s nothing like the high of a good bargain hunt!

Do you have any tips for successful garage sale shopping? Please share!

Photo by giuliana_miranda.