Does it matter where in the city you go to look at the sales?
When thinking of attending garage sales, you should keep in mind what it is you are looking for, and that might determine what part of the city you should be shopping in. If you need to stock up on children’s strollers, bikes, toys, etc., then you should be looking at younger neighborhoods like Kirkland or Dollard des Ormeaux in the West Island. If it’s collectibles, accent pieces of furniture, silverplate, etc., then you should look toward the older neighborhoods like Westmount, Baie D’Urfe or Notre Dame de Grace, where older families will be cleaning out attics and basements full of years of accumulated goods. If you look in the Saturday classifieds of the Gazette, there is a garage sale column. Take out a map and plan it all out ahead of time so you won’t be doubling back and forth during the day.
How should you prepare yourself to go?
Since you’re going to be negotiating prices, dress down to fit the part. If you look too prosperous, the price will just go up.
As you’ll probably be out all day, pack a lunch to eat during your travels. This way you won’t get hungry and go looking for fast food. If you sit down, your get up and go may get up and go.
The big embarrassment – do we have to bargain?
Bring your cash in small bills and coins, as it is easier to bargain with. The people running the sales may not have change of a twenty-dollar bill. If you just hand them exactly what you want to spend, it’s an easier way of bargaining.
To start the negotiating process, don’t ask for each price as you find things. After you are done gathering all the stuff together that you want to buy, present it to them. Offer anywhere from 30% to 50% less than what it all adds up to. Don’t be surprised if some people do not want to bargain. It is usually the sport at garage sales and is expected, but some people are uncomfortable. A usual pattern is to offer half of the total and settle on three-quarters.
Is it a good idea to take the whole family, the kids too?
Garage sales are good family outings. You can take kids along and give them a few quarters or loonies, and they can shop for little toys at each place, which will keep them very busy and leave you alone to do your perusing. It will not cost very much, and they will keep busy playing with their new things.
These sales are a good place for Dad to stock up on tools for his workshop. So many men collect tools that they rarely get to use, so when they finally decide to clear them out, you can get great prices on them. However, please make sure to try out everything that is electric to make sure it works. Ask for a place to plug the item in and try it out – there are no returns at garage sales.
What do you do if you find a big item like a sofa?
If you buy any big items – sofas, washing machines, kitchen tables, bureaus, cribs, etc., make sure you have negotiated into the price who will be moving these large pieces to your house.
Best time for selection and price?
Since garage sales are usually held on Saturdays and Sundays, it is important to go early on Saturday morning to get the best selection of items. However, for the best prices, wait for Sunday afternoon. At this point most sellers are dreading lugging it all back into the house, and will be more willing to give it away for a lot less.