Making the Most of a Rummage Sale

Rummage sale, yard sales, garage sales, whatever you want to call them, I love going to them! There’s nothing like finding an awesome deal on things that you need and you won’t find a lower price for certain items like clothing and children’s items.

Rummage sale, yard sales, garage sales, whatever you want to call them, I love going to them! There's nothing like finding an awesome deal on things that you need and you won't find a lower price for certain items like clothing and children's items.

Making the Most of a Rummage Sale

Each spring one of my favorite activities begins, rummage sale season! I love the hunt for inexpensive treasures and being able to save so much money on things we need. Plus rummage sales give me a chance to get out of the house for a little bit without the children and shop without feeling the least bit guilty about it!

Garage Sale Tips

If you are planning on hitting up some rummage sales this year, here are some tips for you to make the most of those days and to get what you need.

—Shopping for clothing? Here’s how to get the BEST deals on clothing at rummage sales.

rummage sale finds

Check the paper first. Go through and look at what is for sale and write down the sales you want to hit. This is a huge time-saver so you don’t have to stop at sales that won’t have anything you need. If you are only going on Saturday it’s best to skip the sales that were on Friday also. Most of the time the best stuff is already picked over.

Look up the addresses before you go. Just go to Google or Mapquest and search for the location. Even if you are going to use your phone for directions, it’s better to figure out the locations of all of the rummage sales before you go.

Make a route of which ones you are going to hit first by working your way from one side of town to the other. Make sure you write down times they start so you know which one to go to when. This is why you need to look up the addresses at home before you go.

–Are you having your own rummage sale? Here are some tips to have your best rummage sale, in your yard and online!

Have your things ready to go the night before. This way all you have to do is get up Saturday morning and go. Pre-make your coffee, set out your clothing, make sure you have cash, etc. Be ready to take off as soon as you are able to.

Know what you want to look for before you go and know what you are going to spend on it. For example, if you are looking for kid’s clothes know what size and what styles you need.

In the morning. Get up, shower, and get out the door. You want to be at the sales right when they start! Nobody will care how fancy you look or if you are all dressed up at 6 in the morning.

rummage sale finds

Garage Sale Pricing Guide

If you aren’t used to shopping at many rummage sales and you don’t know the prices of items very well, you may want to read this first. While I’m not going to be able to give you an exact price of what items should be (since it will vary based on location and condition of what you are buying) I can give you some tips and ideas.

  • Clothing – For children’s clothing, I look for items that are $1 and under. Adult clothing should be marked at 15-25% of its original retail price depending on the condition.
  • Small Appliances – Most should only be a few dollars if they are used. Be sure and plug them in to make sure they work before buying.
  • Outdoor Gear – This is one of the higher-priced items you might see so it wouldn’t be unusual to find products like fishing poles or gardening equipment at 50% of its original price.
  • Furniture – Overall, you should be able to find furniture at a fair price, perhaps 10 – 20% of its original cost. Look for solid wood furniture.
  • Books – I’m always looking for good books! The price of books should be $2 or under with children’s books being less than $1.

Phone GPS

Garage Sale Apps

If you are looking for apps to use on your phone to make your garage sale shopping day even easier, here are some to look into. All of the following apps are free.

Yard Sale Treasure Map AndroidApple

Yard Sale Treasure Map is an app for accessing craigslist garage sales on mobile devices. View your local yard sales in map or list format, view sale details and photos, get directions, and take advantage of advanced organizational and route planning features.

Garage Sales by Map AndroidApple

Discover the fun of garage sale shopping! Garage Sale Map is an app for finding garage sales, yard sales, and estate sales around you on a map.

Glickin Garage SalesAndroidApple

Garage Sale app that sorts sales by distance then links straight to Google NAV. Pick the first sale that interests you and Click “GO”


Most of all….Have fun shopping!

I LOVE going to rummage sales because you just can’t buy things cheaper! Some days you won’t find anything that you need but it’s fun to look. One year, I found the carpet shampooer at the very last sale I went to for the day after not finding anything all day. I had my eye on that shampooer Target but it was $80 and I found it in excellent shape at a rummage sale for $20!

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t find something you want at each house you stop by. Also, don’t be afraid to haggle. As my husband says, you can at least ask and if they turn you down you haven’t lost anything! Here are some tips on Negotiating a Better Price.

–Take the quiz…What type of Rummage Saler are You?

Are you a big rummage saler? What are your best tips for shopping at rummage sales?

My bio

This article about Making the Most of a Rummage Sale was originally published on Little House Living in April 2011. It has been updated as of February 2020.

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9 Comments

  1. Great posting! You’ve got a fantastic gift of helping others! Thanks for all the wonderful pointers! It is neat how you call it rummage sales and we call them yard sales…I think that is so neat! Have a blessed day!!

  2. Great tips, we also use Craigslist to find yard sales, they have a “garage sale” forum and this is where we find most of the sales. One other thing we do is hit the bigher end neighborhoods first! Good luck, we’ll be out tomorrow ourselves 🙂

    http://www.savingwithaplan.com/

  3. I just moved to the Black Hills last spring. I used to rummage all the time where we lived before and I am wondering if you rummage in Rapid City at all. If so, what is the best way to find out about the rummages other then looking in the paper or is that my only option.

    1. I read about all the garage sales on rapidcityjournal.com and there is also ads for some on the Pennington County Cafe Yahoo Group. I always go to sale in Rapid! Occasionally if there is a bunch in Black Hawk or something I will do one Saturday there instead.

  4. there is also a great app called garagesale rover. it compiles all the sales off of craigslist and other sites and pins them to a map based on your location. it is brilliant!

  5. I pack a small ice chest with water,fruit,Sandwich cut in quarters,and if it is hot day coconut water.

  6. One thing that I have found useful over the years, is to go on the last day of the sale. Sellers are much more willing to negotiate and sometimes you can get an entire sackful for a small price.