Shop the Garage Sales Without Hoarding

Cartoon yard sale image

Over the years, the Organizing Blog has been a frequent advocate of getting rid of the stuff you don’t need by having a garage, yard or tag sale. But once summer starts, the allure of shopping your area’s secondhand sales may prove irresistible.

It’s the thrill of the hunt! Such behavior is hard-wired into humans by thousands of years of evolution. And while today you might be scouring the neighborhood for used records, a nice end table or (most likely) something you didn’t even know you needed, the urge to get a great deal is almost a biological necessity.

Shopping the local sales is also a fantastic way to spend a weekend morning or afternoon. Target a neighborhood-wide sale for the greatest variety of goods, or just pull over when you see a sign; the deals you find can be truly incredible. But remember, just because something is a good deal doesn’t mean you should buy it.

If you don’t need that novelty coffee mug or portable grill, for example, it’s just going to collect dust. If you already have a hammer and rake, they’re going to languish and rust, unused, in the shed or garage. And if you already have three boxes of holiday tchotchkes that didn’t see the light of day last year, you don’t really need another porcelain Santa.

The point is, buy only things that you can use right away or regularly, and those that will earn a long-lasting spot in your overall inventory of stuff. Otherwise, you’ll just add to the clutter and confusion in your own home by “adopting” stuff that didn’t make the cut in someone else’s.

“Ask yourself the following questions before making any purchase: Do I really need this? Will it go well with my existing décor? Could I give it away as a gift? Does it have resale value?” Money Crashers says. “If the item doesn’t meet any of these criteria, ask yourself why you still want to make the purchase.

“Occasionally, there’s nothing wrong with buying something you don’t need just for the fun of it. However, the best way to save money and get the most bang for your buck at a garage sale is to know what you need and to be aware of what you don’t need.”

Enjoy the time you spend on “the hunt,” whether it’s at a neighbor’s garage sale or one of the many thrift stores supplied by generous donations to But don’t get so carried away that you wind up buying things you don’t need or can’t use just because you want to buy something. You’ll thank yourself later.



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