31 Days · Good to Know · Thrifts

31 Days: The Thrift Project – Day 7: Rummage Sales + Garage Sales

So, I’m running a little late for today’s post. It’s still going to be posted today – I hope – but I prefer to have it ready to go the day before. But that just couldn’t happen this time. It’s been a really busy week around here – aside from working on projects, I’ve also been helping out at a big fundraiser for Big Boy’s preschool. And it’s my favorite kind of fundraiser: a rummage sale!

This is a HUGE rummage sale. Once a year, we collect and sort items for a week, and then on Saturday morning, we open up shop (well, so to speak, it’s in a parking lot). We have to use caution tape to keep people away –  there were probably 30 people waiting to shop before we opened up yesterday morning.

And it is a blast! I love the rummage sale. Last year, I was pregnant with Baby Girl, so my job was to sit in a chair by the jewelry table to help customers. You know I was in heaven! This year, I was a cashier, which was just as fun because I got to shop vicariously with every transaction and chat with all the customers. So great!

Shopping at rummage sales and garage sales is a completely different form of thrifting, but I still consider it thrifting. You just have to go at it with a different game plan. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Shopping with a list probably won’t work as well – there’s not a giant selection, organized by color, to help you find stuff. You just have to go with a very open mind.
  • You’re probably not going to find a lot of clothes. Accessories, though, are fantastic scores at garage sales. People want to get rid of stuff, they may not know if something is valuable, and almost nothing is priced over $5. Vintage clutches, jewelry, and scarves are usually found in abundance at garage sales.
  • It’s more social. At a thrift store, you come and go in peace. At a garage sale, you’ll get to chat with the people who are selling there stuff. This can be a plus because…
  • You can haggle! See something you want but don’t think it’s worth the price? Offer less. Husband (who hates going to garage sales but will go anyway every once in a while) ALWAYS thinks I should haggle. Does he haggle? No way. But I’m the pro, he says. It’s true.
  • You never know what you’ll find, so look at everything. (And if you’re following along on The Thrift Project, you might already be inspired to make something new out of some odd trinket you find.)
  • If you’re shopping for kids, you’ll have tons of luck at garage sales. Kid finds I’ve scored include: a Cozy Coupe, kid clothes, new shoes, Matchbox cars, a bike, baskets for toy storage, and toys, toys, toys. Last time I went garage saling (I know, Mrs. Spellchecker, it’s not a real word, but I’m using it) with Big Boy, Husband gave him TWO WHOLE DOLLARS to spend. It was so fun for him to get to pick out his own toy to take home. (He got a dump truck, but that was also the same garage sale where I found him a bike, so I’m not sure he even remembers getting the dump truck anymore.)

One thing you might not like about garage sales is leaving without buying anything. It’s totally okay! Sure, it feels like you’ve looked over their personal belongings and said, “Why would I buy anything of this junk?” but it’s not. I always smile, say thank you, and leave. No big deal.

OK, so what did I score at the rummage sale yesterday? Well, of course, after I’ve told you not to shop with a list, I’m going to tell you to review your list briefly before you shop. I was looking at my wish list a few days ago and was reminded of these two things I’ve been wanting:

Wooden hangers – I was just looking at some on eBay this week – I’d love to use them for displaying my projects and for hanging heavy coats in the closet. I got a set of 18 for $2. Yes!

Leather briefcase – Yes, I’m a stay-at-home mom, no, I’m not working right now, but I’ve always wanted one. I just think they are awesome, in a 70’s Love Story kind of way. And this one is actual leather (as opposed to genuine naugahyde). I haven’t checked to see if my laptop will actually fit in here, but I don’t really care. It is great, and it was $3. Score!

I’ve been thinking about my BEST EVER thrift/garage/rummage sale finds – it’s hard to pick (and remember) all of them. I might need to do a post about that this month. If you’re a garage sale shopper, leave me a note in the comments to tell me your favorite find – it might help me remember what mine are.

OK, I’m off to finish up a project for tomorrow that I’m super-excited about. It might be my favorite thing I’ve made. Here’s a sneak peek:


This post is part of a 31 Day series. Find all the posts in this series here.


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5 thoughts on “31 Days: The Thrift Project – Day 7: Rummage Sales + Garage Sales

  1. You and garage and rummage sales! You make your father very proud! Excellent find on the wooden hangars!!! Can’t believe you got 18 for $2.00!


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