Category Archives: Yard Sale Savvy

Yard Sale Day, Daniel Island Red Balloon Sale

It’s almost fall, ya’ll!  Fall weather means cooler temperatures which means more yard sales!  I jumped right back in after a dry spell in August with the semi-annual Daniel Island Red Balloon Day sale, a community yard sale which takes place every March and September.  There were not as many sales as I’d hoped, probably due to Tropical Storm Irma, but I still did pretty well.

I snagged a nice refillable lighter and cigar cutter for $1, Wilton Big Bird cake pan for 75 cents, two little collectible plates for 25 cents each, about 30 books for next to nothing, and how stinkin’ cute are those pink Title boxing shorts for 50 cents? But I think the deal of the day goes to the two Stearns child size life vests, mint condition, both for $5.  These are selling for between $10 and $20 each online.

I’m pretty excited about that necklace display, too (shown holding a Banana Republic necklace).  I’ve been meaning to get one and there it was at the first stop I made…for TEN CENTS. Yay!

Total spent was $30, and can probably triple that amount in sales, plus keep a few things for myself.

More posts next week…stay savvy!

Yard Sale and Thrift Store Shopping Day Results

I do love me some thrift store shopping, but I am sure looking forward to cooler weather so more people will start having yard sales again!  I still keep trying though, and managed to find a few good things last weekend:

Doc Martens, $5; new and sealed package of Swiffer sweeper refills, FREE (“take them off my hands” was the reply to “how much?”); Forever 21 jean jacket and Seven denim shorts $1 each; toddler’s monkey costume, $3…because seriously, Halloween is right around the corner and somebody’s going to need this.

By comparison, here’s the thrift store shop I did the same day, because I sure wasn’t going home with that little bit of yard sale stuff:

Now that’s more like it.  Two girls’ sun hats, one a Hanna Andersson that sold for $4.99 and the other a Disney Princess one that should find a home pretty quickly; they cost less than a dollar each.  Relic bag, new with tags Cache cargo pants, a Sachi insulated lunch bag and a stack of clothing and books.  But the best deal on this trip…that pile of Estee Lauder BRAND NEW makeup for $4.  Some of this was still sealed in plastic, and the whole lot sold for $26.  I probably could have made more selling the items individually, but I have no patience for things like shipping one lipstick out at a time.

Fingers crossed for sales this weekend!  Don’t forget to subscribe for updates!

Yard Sale and Thrift Store Picks of the Week!

Between the heat and the rain, there haven’t been many good yard sales, which means more thrift store shopping since more people will donate their items when they can’t (or don’t want to) have a sale.

Still, I have turned up a few pretty cool finds that have had a decent ROI.  When there are no community yard sales happening, I do a search for moving sales on Craigslist, because those people are pulling things out of the deepest, darkest corners of closets that no one has touched in years.  You know, where the good stuff is.

Here’s a yard sale haul from a week ago, most of which has already sold.

I snagged two pairs of Harley Davidson black leather motorcycle gloves and paid $5 for both.  The women’s gloves were practically new and sold for $26.99.  The men’s were a little more worn and sold for $22.99.  After shipping and fees, I made around $40 minus the $5 I paid.

I also found a stack of old 1970’s wooden puzzles and paid $10 for four of them.  Three were Fisher-Price and sold together for $26.99, one was a brand made in Holland and sold separately for $8.99.

These super cute Esprit wedges were $1 and sold for $12.99.

I also stopped by the Habitat Restore location that sells books by the bag for $2.  They must have just gotten a bunch in, because I picked up some really good ones in excellent condition.  You never know when that’s going to happen, so I try to go at least once a week.  Out of that bag, I sold four books for $3.99 each and three more for $2.99 each.  Not bad for a $2 investment.

Hopefully this weekend doesn’t get rained out and I will be back next week with another post of great finds!

Yard Sale Day…Wen and Arbonne Score!

It’s another scorching hot July weekend here in Charleston, my least favorite time for yard sale shopping. The humidity, bugs and cranky people add to the fun of trying to find yard sales at all, let alone a good one.

The worst is when you go to an advertised community sale and maybe 4 houses participate.  Which happened today, so I honestly thought the day was gonna be a wash. I was done at the community sale in 20 minutes with nothing but a single pair of decent looking Skechers to show for it, and figured I’d just go ahead and get the grocery shopping done. On the way, there were a few random sales, but nothing good.

So I pulled into Aldi…which opens at 9am. I did not know this. It was 7:45. Ugh. I try one more part of town where there are usually yard sales every week, and found two good ones…one moving sale with $1 clothing and a bunch of brand new beauty supplies.  I got 13 Arbonne trial packs of skin care for $8, a Free People tank and a couple more clothing items. The day was saved! Next stop had small boxes everywhere. One had a new package of Method brand floor swiffer cloths so I asked how much. This lady says, “I’m not fooling around with ones today. The whole box is $5.” See what I mean? Cranky! Seriously, she would not sell me that item separately.  Since the rest of the box had a neck pillow and random plastic bowls, I put it back. Then I see a lady inspecting a box of yard sale gold….Wen hair care. I pretend to take great interest in whatever item was right next to her and will her to put that box back down with every fiber of my being. Success! It was in another “$5 box”, so there was also a Regis salon tea tree shampoo/conditioner set and a sealed container of Olivarium by Perlier, among other things. So I go to pay the lady a five and she goes and gets the swiffer cloths and adds them to my box. Yay!  What started as a bad day turned out great! I spent a total of $16 for everything, and the Wen hair care alone should sell for $30 or more.

Better Shoe Brands for Resale

“USED shoes?!? Gross!!!”

– Me, for the first 6 years as an eBay seller

Live and learn.  But hey,  you don’t know what you don’t know, right?  And what I didn’t know was that higher end previously owned shoes in nearly new condition are a hot item.  How did I stumble upon this nugget of wisdom?  At a bustling little heap of chaos I like to call Goodwill Outlet.  Yes, that is a thing.  It’s basically all the things that don’t sell in a certain time at Goodwill or don’t get in there at all due to overwhelming supply.  Everything is dumped into shallow bin style rolling tables and rolled out on the floor.  People are lined up to see what’s in the new bins, and when I say “lined up”, I mean poised and ready to knock you down to lunge for all the good stuff.  This kind of shopping is not for the faint of heart.

To help prevent injuries and make the fight a little more fair, an announcement is made over the intercom asking that everyone step out of the aisles while they bring out the bins, which are covered with a tarp.  Not until the wheels of the table are locked into place will the tarp be removed and shoppers allowed to touch anything.  The bins are sorted (mostly) by clothing, shoes, bags and housewares.  The competition is pretty fierce for clothing and even more so for bags, but the shoes?  You risk losing a limb in that madness.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  It’s like that Animal Planet video of piranhas eating a duck.

So after wondering why all the excitement over shoes that have already been worn, I did a little digging and discovered that on eBay alone, at any given moment, there are around 1,950,000 pairs of used shoes listed in the US.  Whaaaat? If you filter that search by clicking “sold”, it’s about 750,000 pair over what I’m guessing is 90 days, that’s usually as far back as a search goes on eBay.  Narrow it again by prices from $1 to $500 – because let’s face it, you may find one rare pair of Kobe or Yeezy or Jordan Nike’s in your lifetime, or even a pair of Manolo’s worth $5,000, but that’s not the norm.  That search brings up 720,000 pairs.  So I decided to try to get in on the action.

Now I’m not selling $500 shoes, and I doubt anyone with a brain will be throwing anything like that in good shape in with their yard sale stuff.  I do, however, find a few pairs on occasion that are worthwhile with a decent ROI.  Here are some examples:


I don’t wear Dansko’s myself, but there is a loyal following and they are known to last a long time.  I paid $2 for the ones pictured and they sold for $30.


These are great shoes, I’ve owned a pair before and they are well made and last forever.  I have these set aside to list in the fall, but I have sold other pairs for upwards of $30.

Donald J. Pliner

This was not a familiar brand for me, but I thought I’d give it a try and sold these for about $12 with a $1 investment.  I sold a pair of the same brand loafers for $16.

J. Crew

Honestly, does J. Crew make anything that people won’t buy?  These super cute patent flats were $1 at a yard sale and sold for $15.

Adrienne Vittadini

Sometimes it’s the style, not necessarily the brand.  I’ve had Adrienne Vittadini items listed before that didn’t sell well, but I knew these wedges would be a winner.  Paid $2, sold for $18.


Another brand I wasn’t familiar with, but I’m glad I tried it.  I sold a pair similar to the ones in this stock photo for $16.

These are just the brands that I’ve had the most luck with so far.  I’ve had a few duds, too.  I spent $5 on a brand new in the box Anne Klein loafers that aren’t getting much eBay love.  A like new pair of girl’s soccer cleats sold with only 1 bid.  So you never know.

Feel free to comment with your favorite shoe brands and I’ll keep an eye out for them!  Happy shopping!

Yard Sale Day & Habitat Shop

What with all the reorganizing going on all week, I’m just now getting to the good stuff…this week’s yard sale and thrift store finds!

Actually, it was pretty slim pickings this week. You know yard sale season is winding down when you have to lump yard sale and thrift store finds into one post.

This was one community sale and a Habitat stop.  The only things I am remotely excited about in that pile are a 1962 printing of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and a little brass bell dated 1928 from a place called The Sheridan.

I cannot for the life of me find anything on this place. I have contacted the Penn Avenue business web site for Pennsylvania. Since there is no state on the bell, I had to make a guess.  I’ll update this post if I get any info.

Some decent clothing, a few pieces with tags, like new books, the usual.  Things will ramp back up around September. I will be anxiously awaiting Daniel Island Red Balloon Day and Charleston Friends of the Library BIG Book Sale. My two favorite sales of the year!

I’ll still be posting any new and exciting finds until then. Sign up for post notifications to get the latest updates!

Yard Sale Day & Habitat ReStore Shopping

Most weekends, I luck out with the weather on Yard Sale Day.  Not this weekend, which makes me sad because it was Belle Hall’s Community Sale, which is one I try not to miss.  I managed to get to one sale before the rain started and scored a nice stack of clothing and shoes, including J. Crew, Theory, Living Doll, Emu and Donald Pliner for $22.00. (***UPDATE*** All but 4 of the items shown in the photo sold for a total of $150.00  That’s what I’m talking about.)

So that was the end of Yard Sale Day.  I have found that even if I wait until the rain stops, most things are left out too long and they are damp, if not completely wet.  There are just too many other sales out there to deal with putting wet stuff in my car.  So…I killed the next 45 minutes at Starbucks until the nearest Habitat
ReStore opened. The Habitat Restores here sell books by the bag, so I was able to get a stack for $3.  I also experiment with vintage and antique items here, many of which are priced below $5.  I picked up a Wilton stoneware cookie mold (which I will list closer to the holidays), a Joie pumpkin shaped…something or other…(saved for fall), a Glasbake soup bowl and an adorable French porcelain strawberry bowl which is so stinking cute I am tempted to keep it.  Total: $7.00.  One of the books has already sold for $3.99, so I’m over halfway to making my money back. (***UPDATE*** The Glasbake bowl sold for $8.99 and the berry bowl for $3.99.  Not my best ROI, but I more than doubled my money and still have the rest of these items for sale.)

So not the worst day. And now I don’t have to water the garden. 🙂

A few tips on shopping at Habitat ReStore:

  1. They don’t haggle.  There are multiple signs stating that their proceeds go to build houses and the price marked is the price.
  2. Most locations don’t sell clothing; in fact, only one I’ve been to in this area sells it and the prices aren’t great.
  3. I don’t know how they decide prices, but there doesn’t seem to be a set structure, so it is hit or miss.  And sometimes it’s a pretty nice hit, like these candlesticks I bought for $1.00.
  4. They use labels as price stickers, so make sure you peek under them.  I bought a Lenox item there and when I got it home, there was a crack in it under the price label.
  5. All sales are final.

There you go!  Click here to find your nearest Habitat ReStore…and happy shopping!

10 Rules for Yard Sale Shopping

Don’t you hate articles that have 5 paragraphs of blah, blah, blah before you get to the list you wanted to read?  Me, too.  Here’s the list; it comes from the experience of a dozen or more years of Saturday morning yard sale shopping sprees…

The Rules

  1.  Have small bills.  Yes, the easiest thing to do is stop and get money from the ATM.  You know what the second easiest thing is?  Pull through (insert favorite coffee drive through here), get a small coffee, pay with a $20 and get back…small bills.  Now you have coffee and the first yard sale owners you buy from won’t hate you.  Don’t forget a few quarters.  I can’t tell you how many times I went to a sale, found one thing I really wanted that was 25 cents and had to wait around for change.
  2. Be on time, but not too early.  Of course you want to get there before all the good stuff is gone, but you don’t want to be a jerk, either.  If people say “no early birds”, respect that.  People will be happier to bargain with you if you shop on their terms.
  3. Park politely.  Everyone hates the guy with the giant extended cab truck pulling a trailer and blocking the whole street.  Don’t be that guy (or girl).  Pull further down and park out of the way.  You won’t die if you have to walk a few more feet.  Also?  Don’t pull up on people’s grass and leave tire grooves all over it.  Also, also?  Don’t block the neighbor’s driveways.
  4. Haggle, don’t hassle.  People generally expect shoppers to get a few bucks off the price of furniture or bundle several items for a reasonable price.  But if you’re given a price and they don’t want to negotiate, either pay what they want or move on.  (Talking to you, flea market vendors.)  Nobody likes to feel taken advantage of in their own yard.
  5. Don’t lie.  True story:  a guy haggles (hassles) for an item that is $5, he wants to pay two.  He pulls two ragged $1 bills out of his pocket and says he’s down to his last $2 and would they take that?  The owner takes it with that “fine, just get it and go” look on his face.  30 seconds later, the guy sees something else he wants for $1 and pulls the money out of his pocket to pay for it.  Um…are those MAGIC POCKETS, sir?  Sheesh.
  6. Don’t steal.  This better be self-explanatory.
  7. Don’t smoke.  It’s disrespectful to the homeowner, their belongings and their other customers.  You’ll be back in your car in 5 minutes and you can smoke all you want in there.
  8. Don’t make a mess.  If you have to have the one shirt that is underneath 20 other shirts, by all means, go for it, but don’t leave everything looking like garbage when you’re done.
  9. Leave your kids and pets at home.  Not everyone likes dogs, and some people are allergic. If you do bring your kids, keep an eye on them.  No one wants to babysit while you shop.  Dogs should stay in the car…with the windows open, of course.
  10. If kids are selling lemonade, buy it.  Or cookies, or bottled water, or homemade bracelets, or whatever.  Any kid that has the motivation to get up early, put a table in the driveway and sit there for 4 hours asking people to buy things deserves to make a couple of bucks.  On the flip side, if the kid is nowhere to be found  leaving mom to do the work, or can’t speak to you in a sentence with words like “please” and “thank you”, well, then…you’re off the hook.

Most of this is common sense, I know, but I have seen all of these things happen in people’s driveways at one time or another.  We all want to get the best stuff for the lowest price, why not be pleasant and respectful while we’re at it?  Happy shopping!

Yard Sale Day, What Not To Do and Top Picks of the Week

You know it’s going to be a good yard sale day when there’s a Ryan Gosling ‘Hey, girl” sign…

Here’s what I got for $20 on Saturday…

…which is a pretty good haul.  I’m excited about the Borns, the Adrienne Vittadini shoes and the Renpure Conditioner.  Already sold the RCA MP3 Player and the Motherhood nursing bra for a total of $32, so this trip is already paid for!

I did make two rookie mistakes, though.  See the necklace/bracelet set?  Looks like Pandora?  NOT Pandora.  So that was mistake one.  I paid $3 and I’ll get something out of it, but not what I would get for Pandora.  ALWAYS know your product before buying!  Although…sometimes I’ve bought things not knowing and they turned out to be real money makers, so I guess the real rule is…be willing to take a risk.

Mistake #2…I was at a sale that had a Cole Steel portable typewriter with a case for $5.  No one else was there shopping so in my head I thought, hey, I’ll look around for a minute, then get that on the way out.  I literally turned around for 1 minute and looked back and it was gone.  I was like, “Did you just sell the typewriter?”  It was so fast, I thought maybe the owner had just moved it. Nope, someone walked up, bought it, and left.  NEVER leave something on the table if you want it, not even for a minute, not even if no one else it there!  Oh, well….$60 lesson learned.

I had to cut the shopping a little short to make it to a new yoga class I wanted to try at 10:30….Yoga & Beer at Oak Road Brewery.  Yoga. And beer. This is real, people.  I can’t make this up.