I love the thrill of a good yard sale find! It is a favorite pastime I share with my mom. This summer I have been very lucky to find some great fabric and sewing notions. I thought I would share a few tips on how to find great sewing supplies at yard sales.
- Be early: When I go out I am usually on the road by 5:45am and then home by around 9:00am. After 9:00am things tend to be pretty picked-over. You may find some deals later in the morning from people just wanting to get rid of things, but you'll never know what treasures you missed.
- Have a plan: Check Craigslist and your local paper. Know the general area you want to search. Don't waste your gas zooming from one side of town to the other.
- No kids: It is hard to do a quick effective search when you have a little one eyeing the pile of half-naked barbies or reaching for the table of glassware. Strollers are also a pain to deal with in this situation. So unless they are small enough to wear in a sling or old enough to actually help, leave them at home.
- Do a quick survey: Take a quick look before you even park your car. Does it look like mostly old gym equipment and VHS tapes? Then keep driving, you can get a pretty good feel for a yard sale without actually getting out of the car.
- Find the big ones: Look for larger rummage sales put on by churches, libraries, and charitable organizations. I have had a lot of success at these types of sales. Donated sewing supplies and patterns seem to go for nothing. These are often well organized and have everything from sewing books to fabric. You can support a great cause and cost of your purchase may be tax-deductible.
- Estate sales and older neighborhoods: This is where real treasure can be found. For the older generations sewing was just a part of life. You can find great vintage notions, patterns and fabric. Just steer clear of those big shoes boxes of thread, it doesn't age well. Do some research, sometimes 55+ gated communities have only a few community-wide yard sales permitted a year.
- Bring small bills: Make sure you have cash and keep your bills 20's and smaller.
- Don't over do it: Your is budget is set, your vehicle is only so big and there is only so much you can really use. It may be a good deal but you don't want it all to end up at your own yard sale in a few months.
- Look for sewing supplies from unexpected sources: Channel your inner fraulein Maria! Look for old curtains, tablecloths, vintage sheets and pillowcases.
- You can haggle, but don't be a jerk about it: Yes these things may, in the the words of my sweet husband, be just someone else's junk. But at one time they were something they purchased or inherited, and it was special to someone. Be sensitive of this when you haggle. My form of haggling is usually to pile up my mound of goodies and offer a flat price for the whole bunch. Not very cut-throat but it works for me!
I hope my little list is helpful. Do you like yard sales? Have you made any great discoveries or have any other tips? I would love to hear them!
Check back soon for a giveaway of some of my latest finds! ( I've got three words for you...vintage swiss dot!)