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Yard sales and garage sales can be treasure troves for the homesteader. With a little time and effort, you can save a substantial amount of money on quality items for your home and property.
Some homeowners either don’t see the value of what they own or don’t know how to make use of the items they have. Therefore, they are willing to sell their used belongings for far less than they are worth. You may even find new and unused items for sale at a fraction of their original selling price.
Here are some ideas for items to put on your garage sale checklist this fall.
1. Oil Lamps and Candles – With winter weather around the corner, it is a good idea to be prepared for power outages on your homestead. You often can find an oil lamp on sale for just a few dollars at a garage sale. Also look for wicks and oil for the lamps. Stock up on inexpensive candles, too. You may find used candles offered at only 10 cents each or in a “free” box. Remember, small candles can be melted down to make larger ones.
2. Sheets, Towels, and Blankets – Some sellers offer new or barely used sheets, cloth napkins, and towels at incredibly low prices. Look for quality blankets in good condition. Also check for soft flannel baby blankets, which can be used for a variety of tasks around the homestead, from diapering babies to making quilts.
3. Medical Supplies – First-aid and medical supplies are a great find at a yard sale. Homeowners like to get rid of their unused supplies after a loved one’s long illness, and you could score valuable items such as walkers, canes, slings, bandages and hot water bottles. You might find unopened packages of surgical gloves, face masks and alcohol wipes.
4. Canning Equipment – You can often find pint jars for a quarter each at garage sales. Also look for lids, rings and canning tools to save big-time in canning your homegrown produce. In addition to canning, you can also use mason jars for a variety of other purposes around the homestead.
5. Sewing and Knitting Items – You may be able to stock up on yarn, thread, needles and even fabric at giveaway prices. A great find would be a treadle sewing machine, which operates with foot power.
6. Winter Wear – We all know how kids grow out of everything. Boots and winter clothes are expensive, so scan garage sales for quality boots, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters and heavy socks. Even if they are too big now, the garage sale prices make it worth buying for when your kids grow into them later.
7. Camping Equipment – Many people hosting yard sales are downsizing and therefore are looking to get rid of big and bulky items like tents, tarps, sleeping bags and backpacks. Also look for quality cook stoves and cast-iron pots and pans to add to your homestead inventory.
8. Tools and Gardening Equipment – You may find incredible bargains on hoes, rakes, shovels and other gardening tools as well as hardware, such as hammers, screwdrivers, axes, and saws. Examine all tools carefully and look for brand names you trust. You also may be able to pick up nails, bolts, screws and the like for pennies. If you can find a manual (reel) lawnmower at a great price, get it!
9. Hunting and Fishing Supplies – Fishing rods, tackle boxes, bows, arrows, knives and guns all find their way into garage sales. Think about offering the seller one price for a combination of items for even more savings.
10. Solar Lights – Solar lamps to light up your paths and walkways can be pricey at the store. However, you might find some in good shape at a garage sale.
11. Puzzles, Coloring Books, and Board Games – Most garage sales have a section with some old-fashioned fun stuff. Hunt for some new additions for family game night, and you can often find puzzles for $1 or even less.
12. Kitchen Gadgets and Supplies – Can and bottle openers, graters, measuring spoons and cups, funnels, mixers, graters, you name it – you can usually find it for cheap at a garage sale. Keep an eye out for supplies you can use in the fireplace and campfire, such as a fireplace popcorn popper.
13. Appliances – Be cautious when buying electric appliances at a garage sale because they could be difficult to clean or in poor repair. However, there can be some great deals out there on bread machines, food processors, ice cream makers, dehydrators, crockpots, grain mills and coffee grinders. Hand-operated machines are always a great choice.
14. Ceramic and Glass Canisters – You can find a zillion purposes for jars and canisters around the homestead. You’ll find an array of colors, sizes and styles at garage sales, and they are often at just a dollar or two each. Also look for quality serving bowls and platters at rock bottom prices.
15. Battery Operated Items – Battery powered lamps, radios, fans, and tools can be lifesavers in power outages. Stock up – and then make sure you have fresh batteries for them.
16. Books – Best-selling novels, how-to manuals, homeschooling curriculum, children’s storybooks, classic fiction – garage sales have them all. Start or add to your family’s library with inexpensive, quality finds.
17. Bicycles and Exercise Equipment – Kids outgrow bicycles, and people get bored with their exercise equipment. Their loss can be your gain. Be sure to take bikes for a test ride and try out treadmills and stationary bikes.
In addition to garage and yard sales, check your local newspaper and craigslist for estate sales. Also, make regular rounds to hunt for these items at your local thrift stores.
Always inspect items carefully for missing parts, chips, cracks and other damage. Ask the seller to try out anything that has moving parts. Don’t be afraid to bargain on prices. You never know what amazing deals you might get.