12 Jun 12

Frugal Father’s Day Gift Giving Garage Sale Style

In these tough economic times, many people decide to cut back on gift giving, be it for birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays. Cutting back does not need to mean disappointing,  as you can do some very creative gift giving that will impress and delight and no one would feel slighted.

Garage sales, estate sales, and yard sales are excellent places to find not only unique gifts, but unique gift presentations as well.   All it takes is a little bit of creativity and thought, and you would be amazed at your finds and your recipient will be impressed with how clever and personalized your gifts are.

With several holidays and event times approaching,  such as  Father’s Day, Graduation, etc. here are some ideas and insight into how you can take recycled items and dazzle and delight friends and loved ones with your wit and style by shopping  garage sale style. Plus you will be contributing to the health of the earth by recycling and gifting green.

Think about the person you want to give a gift to. Make a list of things that interest them, be it sports, politics, travel, movies, gardening, history, cars, , etc.  Be as specific as you can in your list.  You may have three items on the list and you may have ten.  Take the list with you.  Now, attend a garage sale or two or three.  Look for related items to things on the list. Let me give you an example.  Let’s suppose your gift recipient is an avid fly fisherman, loves baseball and enjoys planting flowers.   Be on the lookout for anything to do with fish, maybe some feathers that could adorn a package , fish vases or plates,  books on fishing, fish mugs or cups, etc .    For baseball, you may find an antique baseball mitt, a baseball, caps, items with baseballs on them, books on baseball, etc.  For gardening, you can look for gardening tools, gloves, watering cans,  books on gardening, etc.   When you have sourced some items, you can look for a large basket. There are baskets at almost every garage sale I have attended and they make for wonderful gift presentations, especially when you have multiple smaller items.  Get some fancy tissue paper and put it in the basket with your assorted goodies.

Or if you have some larger items, find a great old trunk at a sale, and put some gifts in there. Another way to go is to find a small item or two as a token gift and use a gift certificate or tickets to an event and package them in an interesting way.  For example, place baseball tickets inside a baseball mitt or in a basket.  Place a garden shop gift certificate inside a unique planter found at a sale or in a watering can adorned with a bow.

I often see a large array of old-fashioned tins at many a garage sale.  These make great containers for gifting as well.   You can bake or buy sweets and present them in the tin or gather a small item or two of interest from the list and present them in the tin with tissue paper, garnished with a bow.

For a romantic gift, look for anything with hearts on them and then use your creativity and the list to fashion together a romantic gift.   Baskets are also wonderful displays for romantic gifts.  There are often beautiful crystal, stem wear and other such items at garage sales. What a lovely gift to have two beautiful crystal champagne glasses, a bottle of Champagne and an invitation to a favorite restaurant in a lovely basket adorned with a nice bow.  Or place some body lotions in a basket, along with a certificate that you make yourself that entitles your honey to a massage given by you? Or, if you are not as adventurous, give a massage, facial, manicure or other gift certificate packaged in a lovely antique box, tin, tray or other type of container usually seen in great supply at garage sales.

For a more sentimental gift, scout for interesting picture or painting frames and make a collage of photographs of your Dad’s favorite things.  With gifting, it is really the thought that counts, not the dollars spent.

So, gift, recycle, have fun, make merry! Happy saling! You can find more information about all things garage sale at www.garagesalegold.com.

12 Jun 12

Estate Sale shopping tips

Many garage sale enthusiasts can easily become intimidated by shopping at Estate Sales.  This fear is unfounded and, in fact, Estate Sales can be your best source at furnishing a house in high style for less, getting fabulous gifts for less, finding collectibles, antiquing, you name it!

I will give you my top tips to maximizing your Estate Sale experience so that you will feel comfortable and get the best deals and get in on the inside track for finding the best sales.

Let’s start by debunking some myths. First, an Estate Sale is not necessarily for someone that is deceased.  An Estate Sale can mean that, but it can also mean that someone is moving, downsizing, getting divorced, or liquidating their things for a variety of other reasons. Most Estate Sales are conducted by professional companies who are hired on a percentage of the take basis. The percentage can range, depending upon the value of the contents, anywhere from 25 per cent to 40 per cent of the total sales.  Therefore, the folks conducting the sale are highly motivated to sell everything, as they are generally left with the task at the end of disposing of all items which don’t sell, which is a much more expensive prospect for them than selling the items.

Another myth about Estate Sales is that the merchandise will be all antiques or collectibles. Quite the contrary. Most Estate Sales I’ve conducted or attended have had a wide range of everyday, contemporary items as well as perhaps some antique or collectible items as well.

Many Estate Sale companies will accept credit cards at their sales to encourage purchase of higher ticket items. Some may also bring their own inventories to supplement items in the house. Most Estate Sales that I have conducted or attended are indoor, and therefore not affected by weather.

Many people feel that they need to arrive early in order to get the best deals. I advocate the contrary. I like shopping at the end of the day on the last day of the sale, as they are practically giving everything away.  If you are a dealer or collector, you may want to get there early and take a number, but as a regular shopper there is no reason to do this as you will pay top dollar as an “early bird” and will have little negotiation power.  In addition, there are normally large crowds taking numbers to get in at the very beginning of an Estate Sale and why bump elbows and compete for items if you don’t have to?

The best place to find Estate Sales in your area is a site called EstateSales.Net.  Most professional companies are listed there. You can search for sales in your area and start attending.  Some of these sales will be advertised on your local papers and some won’t. Once you find companies whose merchandise you like, you can subscribe to their bulletins and receive advance notice of their sales.  You may even receive invitations to view and buy before the general public. Again, you may not receive pricing as good as later in the sale, but if you are looking for something specific, you will have a better shot at it.

Do not assume that Estate Sale professionals are experts in pricing. Many are not. In fact, much of the merchandise is quite often over priced, so you are completely free to counter offer and negotiate.  I rarely negotiate much at a garage sale, but regularly at an Estate Sale, as the sellers are trying to get top dollar, even if the merchandise is not worth the price they have tagged. Again, they are very motivated to sell and have no emotional attachment to the items, so negotiating is less stressful here than at a typical garage sale.

Estate Sale shopping can be very addicting, but also very rewarding. I furnished almost my entire house with Estate Sale finds, and no one would ever know it.  So, even in a bad economy, you can splurge on those high-end items and not feel the guilt.  Also, remember, Estate Sale shopping is very green, as you are recycling at its very best.

So, shop, recycle, have fun, make merry! Happy saling! You can find more information and tips about all things garage sale at my site www.garagesalegold.com or follow me on twitter@garagesaleava.

6 Jun 12

Garage Sale Art

I never considered myself particularly creative. But when I started becoming a garage sale fanatic, I discovered that I did have talents to take items and reuse them in creative and artistic ways. I am no Martha Stewart, but I am a frugalista, looking to stretch every dollar and beautify my life in high garage sale style.

One achievement that I discovered quite by accent resulted in a wonderful enjoyment of one of my most favorite flowers – peonies. I have a wonderful garden of peonies and like to clip the fresh flowers and bring inside in vases.  However, I noticed that the peonies seem to last only a day or two before they start to droop.

One day I took a nice grouping of peonies and cut the stems short. I then took a basket that I got at a garage sale for 25 cents and took a recycled typperware container and filled it with water and placed the container inside the basket. I then stuck the peonies in there. Well, those peonies are still surviving almost two weeks later! I have to say that these simple garage sale pleasures really do make my day!

Below is a photo of my master achievement.  Happy Saling!

6 Jun 12

Community Garage Sales Help All

My favorite garage sales are those which involve multiple groups of folks who all band together and donate a portion of the proceeds to either a charity, community group, cause or any other type of group effort to raise money. It is a win win for all. Get rid of unwated stuff, recycle, make some money for yourself and donate to whatever the cause – be it raising money to send your kids on a sports outing, helping beautify a neighborhood, raise money for the needy, a church, whatever. It does not matter. What matters is that the community spirit of garage sales are what makes this country great and what helps  inspire the comraderie that keeps our fires burning.

Garage sales for groups are growing in popularity as the economy continues its lackluster performance and people all over are desperately needing funds. So don’t forget the community garage sale concept when you are thinking of fundraising ideas.  Get tons of helpful tips on my website www.garagesalegold.com.

If you need immediate help, you can get my book Ava’s Guide to Garage Sale Gold on Amazon Kindle, if you can wait,  you can order on my website. I also have signs, labels and all sorts of things to help you with your sale.

I was at a great community garage sale this past weekend and took some photos  to share to inspire you.  My favorite is the girl scouts. God Bless America! Happy saling!