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A paved area in front of a house with several pieces of furniture and other decor.



Let’s face it. When it comes to some estate and most garage sales, there’s far more trash than treasure. For every diamond in the rough, you have to wade through an avalanche of secondhand items destined for a dumpster. So to avoid someone else’s junk ending up on your mantel, here are some helpful tips to help you separate the quality from the quantity.

Do Your Research

Google is your friend. Many garage sales and almost all estate sales announce their events on local message boards like and These are fantastic resources for getting an early glimpse at what you’ll be seeing and, more importantly, if there’s anything that piques your interest.

Have a Plan

Before you journey to the world of neighborhood lawn haggling, it pays to have a plan. You don't want to start running around all willy-nilly, grabbing random items that seem cool until you get home and realize you just purchased an item that brought down the value of your style. Instead, just ask yourself, what am I looking for? Are you looking for well-made furniture that could use some reupholstering or a new coat of paint? Maybe you're a fan of eclectic decor or classic movie posters. Whatever your reason, try to take the research resources you have and know what you're looking for.

Stay on Mission

It's easy to get distracted in the garage/estate sale game. You may suddenly go from needing only a small hallway to contemplating the purchase of an entire bedroom set. Remember, no matter how good a deal is, unless it's free, it's always going to cost you more than walking away. So stick to the plan, and remember, there's always next time.

Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

This is paramount. If you come across an item you want, but the price is too high, chances are most other people will think so too. When this happens, return to said sale closer to the end of the day and try again – this time, with a slightly lower asking price than your original offer. Chances are, the seller won't want to hold onto the item and will meet your lower price. This way, you get what you want and save even more than your original offer. And yes, there is a very real possibility that the item you wanted could be gone. That's the chance you take when you enter this game.

For more tips on a variety of subjects, be sure to check out our other Vive blog posts.


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