10 11 “Must Have” Items
When You Go Garage Sale Hunting
I have had so many people ask me how I always seem to find just the right thing and get such good bargains at garage sales. Well, for me, it starts with having the right “tools” with you to begin with. I call it my Garage Sale Tool Kit. Here are my top 10 11 (okay, so there’s kind of a bonus one at the bottom) things I make sure I have with me before I head out. Most of these things you can find around your house already. So, go gather them up and get going!! Download a quick cheat sheet of these top 10 items.
This is a MUST! Although a few people are taking credit cards these days (with Square), most will only accept cash. They usually don’t have much change, so carry plenty of small bills. You can carry some larger bills but only use them for larger purchases.
Measurements & Tape Measure
Make sure if you are buying larger items, like furniture, that the item will fit in the space that you have in mind. Perhaps you are buying curtains or curtain rods, or maybe an area rug. Make sure you measure ahead of time and keep those measurements with you on your hunt, . . .and don’t forget the tape measure to size up those large items!
I just love my little “snail” tape measure. It is retractable and hooks right on to my keychain. So, I don’t necessarily need to put it in my Garage Sale Tool Kit, because it is always with me.
A multipurpose tool
Preferably with screwdriver options. You may need to open a battery compartment or take something apart to transport it. It is always a time saver to have this option with you and not make the seller go on the hunt for a tool you need. They may just tell you that you are on your own. So, use the Boy Scout motto. . .Be prepared!
You can grab a Leatherman or some other popular multipurpose tool. I found this little Wallet Ninja and it is my very favorite, because it fits in my phone wallet perfectly!
You may need to test out an electronic. You don’t want to get home and realize that this thing needed more than batteries to actually work. This way, you can test things out before you buy. I carry four of each kind of AAA, AA, C, and D and one 9-volt in my Garage Sale Tool Kit. (By the way, what happened to A & B batteries? This so messes with my OCD!!)
I use a little battery box to carry my batteries. It keeps them organized by size, and they don’t roll around in my car. Did I mention that I have a bit of OCD??
This is to transport small items that you buy. I have often bought small things that roll around and get under seats (or get broken). Putting them in a box helps keep your items in one place while you are driving.
Using bubble wrap or newspaper to wrap breakables will protect those little treasures. The bubble wrap is also good for entertainment if someone ends up having to wait for you. 😉
I keep one of these collapsible crates in my car for groceries. I have bought them at Costco in the past, but recently, I haven’t seen them there. These are the ones I keep in my van, so they are always just in the back. They actually contain all the other things from my Garage Sale Tool Kit.
Rope, bungee cords (or the orange strap with the wratchety thingy)
These are for those larger items. So, if you plan to look for something that likely will not fit inside your car, but can be strapped to the top, you will need something to tie it down with. I do carry bungee cords, a rope, and one of those orange straps with the ratchet-y thingy on it. (I’m sure it has some official name, but isn’t enough that I actually know how to use it?? You actually should be impressed! 😉 )
Since I have always had a large family and a “tough guy” hubby, I have not had to use this option as I always have a Suburban, minivan or truck at my disposal. However, that may not be an option for you, so be prepared to be able to get your item home.
Along those lines, some things will not be able to be strapped to a small car (I don’t care how good you are with tying knots or with that wratchety thingy.). If you are looking for larger furniture items, be sure that you have a pickup truck option before you buy. I have yet to run into a garage sale that has a delivery service.
These are a must for hot days . . . well, not so much the food, but definitely the water!! Carry some water bottles in a small cooler or use one of those awesome “keep it cold” stainless steel water bottles. My husband got one at Under Armour that he loves!! I love my bright yellow one that I got last summer!
This awesome water bottle keeps my water really cold. It has a great spout system where the top is connected and has a nice carry handle. I found the 24 oz. size not to be too heavy to lug around and it comes in so many hard-to-choose-from colors.
Also, bring along a few granola bars, beef jerky, cheese & crackers, or trail mix to keep up some energy along the way. You may end up being out a bit longer than you thought.
Reusable shopping bags
If you need help carrying a lot of small items or happen upon one of those fill a bag for $X. They’re also nice for carrying your treasures into the house at the end of the day.
Hand Sanitizer or wipes
Okay, okay, yes, I’m a bit germaphobic! Eww! Enough said!
This is definitely NOT optional for me! This is the newest addition to my Garage Sale Tool Kit ever since I brought a HUGE spider into my vehicle with one of my purchases. Now, I spray things off/out really well with the air before they go in the van. You can get this at many different places like Walmart, Best Buy, or any office supply store. It’s my spider fighter!!
(Literally, my hubby had to take everything. . .seats and all. . .out of my van to search for this 8-legged creature before I could drive my van again!! Did I mention it was HUGE??? I HATE SPIDERS!!!!! The good news was that my dear hubby detailed my car since he was going to so much work to take everything out anyway. He knows I like tidy transportation. What a sweet guy!!)
Okay, one more for the finishing touch on your Garage Sale Tool Kit. . .
You know . . . just in case. Have a list of bathrooms along your route. You never know when you may need one, and you simply don’t want to spend precious time looking for a place to pee. Just make a note of gas stations or stores on or near your route where you can make a pit stop if needed.
Well, there you have it! A list of my favorite “tools” I use when I go out bargain hunting at yardgarage sales. If you are still looking for the right places to shop for those bargains, I have a bit of advice here on how to find the best garage sales for you.
I also wrote up a bit of advice on how to actually do your buying and get the best bargains when you arrive at that perfect garage sale!
Live Life Simply
If you would like my cheat sheet with these “tools” on it, please put your email in below and we’ll send it right over!