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Confessions of a Garage Sale Newbie

Last weekend, my husband and I were out for a nice long drive and I could not believe the number of “garage” sales we spotted. It appears that Halifax has quite lenient rules on the subject because they were everywhere- on the side of roads and in parks as well as at people’s homes (and even the odd garage). I have never been to a garage sale in my adult life (I used to go as a kid and we even held a garage sale once, when we finally moved from my childhood home). But I thought since I’m expanding my “used” horizon, it might be a good time to get back into garage sale-ing.

I planned a perfect Saturday. It was a beautiful, sunny day. I had a nice sleep-in, a big breakfast and then I was going to head out for an afternoon of bargain hunting. That was my first mistake. Once I started looking online, I noticed that most garage sales are a morning affair, so I missed the opportunity for the day. I would try again Sunday.

So, Sunday morning I woke up bright and early and started to plan my day. I went online and researched five garage sales to check out. I figured that would be a good start and the rest I’d just stumble upon. First stop- I hit up the bank to get some cash and then Tim Horton’s to get some change (pretty prepared, hey?) and I headed to garage sale number 1. I had my iPad as my navigator and I was ready to find some deals! It was closed. Ok, that’s fine; next stop, number 2. There was a sign up on the road and everything… but it was also closed. Unfortunately my fate was the same for number 3, 4 and 5 as well.

It’s Sunday. Please take down your sign.

Garage Sale Fail!

So after over two hours of garage sale hunting I was 0-for-7. Clearly, as a garage sale newbie I have a lot to learn. If I’m honest, it left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I mean… how hard is it to remove your sign or delete your online ad? I could still be sleeping!

But, I suppose I picked up a few lessons that I’ll share with you in case you decide to try out garage sale-ing.

1. Go on Saturday morning. I’m going to assume that the reason everyone was closed on Sunday was because Saturday was a success and they didn’t have enough to sell on Sunday. So, if you plan to garage sale- head out early on Saturday.

2. Bring a friend/navigator. It’s really not that safe to drive around looking for garage sale signs and addresses without help. I nearly ran over a man and his dog. Next time, I’d bring along a co-pilot.

3. Have a plan. When you aren’t looking for garage sales, they are everywhere. When you decide to just drive around looking for one, you won’t find any. So, look up a few garage sales that you want to visit and any others will be bonus. Also, on a few online ads they outlined the type of items they were selling. That will help if you’re looking for something specific.

After a good, solid three hours of failed attempts to garage sale (and probably $10 in wasted gas) it occurred to me that my time would have been much better spent searching used sites online. Perhaps I’m not cut out for garage sale-ing? I mean, I have this memory from my childhood of huge garage sales full of exciting treasures and deals, but that was before the internet. Maybe garage sales of 2012 are really lame and mothball infested? Perhaps they are doomed to the same fate as drive-in theatres and cinnamon raisin bread.

When was the last time you had cinnamon raisin bread? (photo credit:

Freelance Social Media Consultant/Producer/Production Manager and lover of media, entertainment and "the Internet". Mother to 1 human toddler and 3 guinea pigs, I live in Halifax, NS and I adore it. Follow me on Twitter: @erinberube

2 Responses to “Confessions of a Garage Sale Newbie”


I wouldn’t say that “I’m going to assume that the reason everyone was closed on Sunday was because Saturday was a success and they didn’t have enough to sell on Sunday” is accurate, it’s just that Saturdays are known as the only yard sale day of the week (at least on PEI).



When holding a garage sale, I think it’s important to make sure you get your moneys worth (even if you just want to get rid of stuff). If you need help pricing your items accurately, but don’t want to spend time doing research yourself, I would recommend signing up for this new startup called Statricks. I just became a beta user myself, and you get price reports and fair market values for almost all used goods, so you know you don’t overpay or undersell your stuff.


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