RW Learning Center – How to Get the Most Out of Rummage Sale Shopping

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How to Get the Most Out of Rummage Sale Shopping

Rummage sale shopping isn’t for everyone. Some people cringe at buying other people’s junk. Others find it much easier to simply go to the mall or their local specialty store to get what they need. Still others think that there’s a stigma attached to visiting rummage sales.

As someone who absolutely loves rummage sale shopping, I’m not too concerned with what other people think. I’d rather buy five books for a dollar at a sale than one for twenty dollars at a bookstore. If I can find clothes for a quarter a piece, I have no problem expanding my wardrobe with something someone else wore at one time (as long as it’s in good shape). I know firsthand how much easier furnishing a home can be when you scour a rummage sale than when you browse the showroom floor.

Be our Facebook friendNot only can you save a lot of money by shopping at rummage sales, you can have a lot of fun doing it as well. If you’re dead set against the idea of making someone else’s trash your treasure, read no further. This article isn’t for you. If the thought of treasures to be had for practically pennies interests you in the slightest, read on.

If you’re a seasoned rummage shopper, you’re probably already familiar with these tips. For those not so well read in the art, there are several ways to get the most out of your experience. With summer just around the corner, endless sales are sure to be on the way. This season, try these tips for getting the most out of rummage sale shopping.

1. Set up a rummage sale fund – Unlike a vacation fund, a rummage sale fund doesn’t have to be in the hundreds of dollars. In fact, twenty dollars will go quite a long way when it comes to sale shopping. Start setting aside a little bit per week before the season even starts. If you plan on making rummage sale shopping a weekly habit, allot yourself so much to use per week. Stick to your plan. Have a little bit extra ready for out of town rummage trips or larger scale items that you might be looking for. You’ll find that a small amount for a shopping trip to the mall is actually a fortune when it comes to rummage sales.

2. Plan your route – Some people like the serendipity of just driving around until they find a sale. While this can be fun for the casual shopper, it can also waste a lot of time. Check the classifieds in your localpaper. During the summer months, many newspapers will have a clip and carry section for rummage sale ads. You don’t have to actually “map” a route (though some people do), but you should have a general idea of where you want to go.

(For the best results…check out Rummage for sales in your area or Statewide) 

Take a mental inventory of how to get to each one without having to backtrack. You’ll spend less time having to search and more time shopping.

twitter3Make a shopping list… – A rummage sale list is more like a scavenger hunt guide. Think of things you’d like to have around your house, or things that you need. Looking for a new coffee table? Workout shoes? A couple paintings to hang on your walls? Adding these to your list can remind you of certain things to look for. If you collect books by a certain author or CDs by a specific artist, make a list to keep in your purse or wallet of titles you don’t yet have. You’ll be amazed at how many gaps in your collection you can fill from rummage sales. It’s very rewarding to find something you’ve been looking for at a rummage sale for less than half of what it would have cost you to buy it new.

4.but make sure to browse as well – Sure, you’re going to have some specific items that you hope to find on your rummage sale ventures, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t see what else is offered. Look at every display. Take your time to peruse all the items in each section. Check prices. Feel free to look over everything twice if you need to. Sometimes the best finds are the ones not planned. You could come away with a treasure that you didn’t think you needed until you see how great it looks in your house.

5. Check for quality – In most cases you’re already getting a bargain for anything you buy. However, items that fail the quality test aren’t going to be worth even a quarter. Look for chips and scratches in collectible items (a definite must if you’re going to sell on eBay). Keep an eye out for old stains, holes, or small tears in clothing and bedding items. I’ve bought books in the past without making sure all the pages were there only to find later that the last fifty or so had been ripped out. Compare the quality of the item to what price is being asked. Ask for a lower price on something slightly damaged if you still really want it. Don’t forget, there’s no obligation to buy, and there’s a good chance that you might find that item in better condition elsewhere.

6. Feel free to bargain – Sellers will mark items at a higher price in the hopes that it will sell but with the expectation that someone will ask a lower price for it. Don’t hesitate to offer lower on an item you think might be set at too high a cost. When you haggle, take into account the age, condition, and retail price of an item. Be savvy, not cheap. If a seller won’t go down, decide if it’s worth paying the asking price for. You can always ask that they contact you in case it doesn’t sell. If someone wants to get rid of something enough, they’ll take the lower price when they realize it won’t go for any more. This method doesn’t always work though, as someone else may be willing to buy it for the asking price. Don’t be afraid to offer a lower price on anything. The worst they can say is “no.”

7. Partner up for fun shopping – Who doesn’t love shopping with a friend? Rummage sale shopping is no different. Not only does it help to have company when you’re driving around, you can also ask each other’s opinions on the value of certain items. A second opinion never hurts when picking out décor items or clothing. Plus, you have another set of eyes shopping for you. Your friend may draw your attention to something interesting that you didn’t see. One of the best parts about rummage sale shopping with a friend is being able to either marvel about the great deals you found or complain about the lack of any quality merchandise to be had. Throw in a lunch date and hash about the days events. It’ll be a fun experience overall.

Whether you’re shopping for yourself, looking for items to sell on online, or just browsing around to see what kind of “junk” other people have, rummage sales can be both fun and rewarding. If you’re already planning on making sale hunting a summer pastime, good luck and have fun. If not, I suggest giving it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at what you find!

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Author: Amanda Sposato

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