Tips from the Garage Sale Millionaire

12 June 2012

Here’s an interesting article about garage sales, collecting and selling.

I am glad you have arrived!

1 April 2011

I scour estate sales and garage sales in Dallas in search of beautiful things! I am glad you are here! A great resource for D/FW treasure hunters!

Historic US80 Hi-Way Sale

16 February 2011

Historic US80 Hi-Way Sale (click for website)
Mesquite, TX through Louisiana to Jackson, Mississippi
along US Highway 80
(click for map)

East Texas Tourism Association is proud to announce the 2011 dates for the US Hwy 80 Sale and should draw crowds from far and wide looking for a bargain.

Organized to promote and increase tourism trade and traffic along historic US 80, the first coast-to-coast, all-weather highway in America, the 2,400 mile route begins in Savannah, Ga., makes its way through East Texas and concludes in San Diego, California. The three-state event will cover a 392 mile route – one of the nation’s longest –from Mesquite, TX through Louisiana to Jackson, Mississippi

Round Top Antiques Fair – Round Top, TX

15 February 2011

Round Top Antiques Fair (click for website)
Round Top, TX (click for map)

First full weekend in April and October of each year.

The original show started in 1967 but now has become a collection of shows and includes several of the small towns around Round Top. It has become so popular that some people often refer to it simply as “Round Top”, after the town and show that started it all. Many shows start almost ten days prior to the Original Round Top Antiques Fair for what is now called “Preview Weekend”, but all shows end by the final Sunday.

Antique Alley – Cleburne, Grandview, Maypearl, TX

15 February 2011

Antique Alley (click for website)

Cleburne, TX
Grandview, TX
Maypearl, TX
(click for map)

Antique Alley Texas spans the historic communities of Cleburne, Grandview and Maypearl via FM 4 (S) to FM 916. This show is unique because of the miles and miles of shows and sales organized by independent landowners, small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. You may stumble upon a beautiful ranch or quaint farm where the landowner is hosting an antique show with specialty dealers coming from all over the United States to sell their wares, or you may find a place where they’ve just cleaned out Grandpa’s barn! There are fundraisers for local churches and schools, live entertainment and something fun for the entire family!

First Monday Trade Days, Canton, TX

15 February 2011

First Monday Trade Days (Click for website)
Canton, TX (click for map)

The world’s largest outdoor trade days takes place Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday of every month in Canton, Texas. Every month, thousands of vendors from across the country turn this friendly East Texas community into a shopper’s paradise where you can find the rare antiques and collectibles, furniture, fine home decor, arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, tools, produce, and much more. Make plans now to come to Canton and enjoy the First Monday shopping experience.

Introduction – Organizing Sales

15 February 2011

Introduction – Organizing Sales

So, you have decided to hold a sale. Well then, … let’s get started.

Whether you are holding a garage sale, moving sale, estate sale, church bazaar or a group or block sale, there are things to do that are common to all. Depending on the type of sale, there may be extra effort needed, or in other cases, you may be able to eliminate or minimize some tasks or take some short cuts. The following is a discussion about the different efforts required to conduct a sale, some planning considerations, and how one type of sale may differ from another. This discussion is mostly for those who have never done a sale or beginners who may have helped on another.

Types of Sales

Following is a brief description of the different types of sales and what places them in their category. We should point out this discussion does not cover ‘Flea Market’ or similar organized sales.

1. Garage and Yard Sales – these are typically smaller sales located in an individual’s garage or on their lawn and sidewalk. This may include sales where apartment tenants have permission to conduct a sale on apartment complex property.
2. Moving and Downsizing Sales – these are medium to larger sales that involve selling some portion of a home or apartment contents. These can run the gamat from relative small sales to those where the most of the entire contents of the home are sold. Normally the sale is conducted inside the home, garage or apartment even if the entire contents are not being sold.
3. Estate Sales – these are typically larger sales where the contents of the home, garage and entire premises are being sold. The sale is held in the home and is open to the public. Many times, professionals conduct these sales.
4. Group Sales, Block Sales and Church Bazaars –these can be held outdoors, in a parking lot or in some cases in the church facilities, like a gymnasium. Group or block sales are held when most of the families along the street of one (or more) city blocks decide to coordinate a common sale at the same time, and each family or home conducts their own sale on their own property. Church bazaars are similar, where a group in the church organizes a common sale, many times for fundraisers. Several individuals and families help with setting up and conducting the sale as well as contributing and collecting items for the sale.

Let me just say, doing an Estate Sale, Moving Sale or Downsizing Sale where most all the contents of the home is being sold, this effort is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of hard work involved preparing for this kind of sale. Before the sale is finished, you may wind up moving the contents of the home at least once, if not 2 or 3 times. If you are energetic and so inclined, make a go of it. However, there is good reason why most of these sales are done by professionals, and they do earn their fees.

Preparing and Conducting a Sale

Regardless of the type of sale being done, they all have common tasks. Following is a list of the more significant effort but is not an all-inclusive list. Depending on the type of sale being done, there may be some things you can eliminate, or at least they may not take a significant amount of time and effort. The following steps are not in a strict order, but are more of a general guideline.

1. Pick a date – but if possible, make it tentative and delay any hard commitments as long as possible. You may find that there are circumstances beyond your control that require you to change your original date. Sometimes you find it just takes more time and effort than you originally thought. Also, decide what days you will be open and the time of each day you will open and close.

2. Organize and Plan – the larger sales where there are several people involved, obviously should take more organizing, if for nothing else, to make sure everyone is on the same page. You should get as much of a commitment from each one as possible. Also, there is plenty to do, so you don’t want to needlessly duplicate effort. Layout a ‘to do’ list for each one with a tentative schedule. As the sale date draws closer, check back with each one to make sure everyone is on schedule.

During the sale, prepare to help buyers carry items out of the sale. This is especially important for larger items such as furniture and appliances. Do you have anyone who is available and able to carry the larger and heavier items.

How do you want to handle any discounting of items during the sale. Are you willing to take less than what they are priced, and if so, at what point during the sale will you discount or negotiate on price. You may want to designate someone as the price negotiator.

Decide what you want to do with items that are left at the end of the sale. Will you keep them, return them to their original owners or donate them to a charity.

3. Sale Preparation – presentation is everything. Think in terms of a retail establishment. The better you can display and show off your items, the better chance they have to sell. You will need several folding tables. You can make temporary tables by placing sheets of plywood on sawhorses. This may be more useful in the garage but can also be used inside. Wash dirty items before displaying them. This is especially important for clothes and glassware.

4. If you have things you are not going to sell, it is best to segregate these things from the sale items. If possible, designate one or more rooms in your house to hold these items and close these rooms during the sale. If you are having a garage sale, group the items not for sale together and cover them up or tape them off and designate them as “not for sale”.

5. Price your items – it seems the purpose of most any sale is to make as much as you can, while at the same time, sell it all when possible. Unless you are one of those who believe “the garage sale is one of the great American inventions where others pay you to carry your junk off. That is, you just want to get rid of the junk.” From us buyers, we love you. Anyway, there can be a fine line between ‘under pricing’ versus ‘over pricing’. We don’t have any hard and fast rules or many guidelines to offer. Probably the best approach is to know your retail prices and price your items accordingly. Pricing is where the professionals really earn their money. They not only know what the retail prices are, but they know what the market value is at sales, so the most money can be earned while selling the most items.

It is best to price each item separately, especially the larger, more expensive items. Masking tape can be used and simply write the price with a felt pen. For garage sales and smaller sales, you may think you can just price them off the top of your head. But let me say, before the sale is over, you will be tired and can get confused. Also, if items are not priced, you will be repeating the price over and over again, individuals cannot just browse, and you will be stuck having to be there all the time. You have to take some breaks.

You can consider grouping like items together and have an area or table that contain items for all the same price. This can save a lot of pricing, but remember, items will get moved and out of place during the sale as people pick them up, look at them, then set them down. Whoever is collecting the money will have to know specifically what these items are so the correct price can be collected. So, this probably works best when you have a lot of the same items, like CD’s, cups, shoes, etc.

6. Advertise, Advertise, Advertise – you want as many people coming to your sale as possible. Also, you may be competing with other sales in your area. This may be especially true in larger cities. However, several sales in the same neighborhood or in the same part of town can be to your advantage. If there are several sales in an area, they are likely to hit them all, which is an advantage to the shoppers. You may want to advertise in one or more local newspapers as well as post your sale on a website. Be sure to include the dates and times you will be open. Usually, you can place the ad in the paper a few days before the sale. ‘Estate Sales of Dallas’ www.estatesalesofdallas and ‘Garage Sales of Dallas’ are two websites where you can post your sale for free. Prepare signs to be staked on street corners. But, it is advisable to first find out what city ordinances govern the use of signs in your area. You should check to see if your city requires a permit to hold a sale. Refer to the ‘City Ordinances’ category on this blog.

7. Money Handling – get cash for the sale. You will need plenty of coins and small bills so you can make change. Do this a day or two before the sale. You will need to decide if you will accept checks or cash only. If possible, designate some one as the cashier who collects all the money at the sale and this is all they do. That way, they will not get distracted. Get someone who is comfortable handling the money transactions.

8. Put out the Signs – put out sides either the night before the sale, or early in the morning before the sale.

9. The day of the Sale – have everyone who is helping on the premises before the sale opens. Make their assignments and answer as many questions as you can. Open promptly at the time you advertised. Plan for food, snack and drinks during the sale.


Preparing and doing a sale can be a lot of hard work. But, it can be rewarding and hopefully will meet your specific goal(s). We hope you have a successful sale, and as always, enjoy the experience.

Introduction – Collecting and Collectibles

15 February 2011

“Collecting gives purpose to going to Estate and Garage sales”.

Collecting is a broad subject and can cover a wide variety, if not almost an infinite number of items. It does not have to be expensive. But is fun to do as well as rewarding to share your treasures with others.

Where to Start

If  you don’t know where to start, pick one or more items you are personally interested in. Stay within your budget. This may mean saving-up between purchases.

Some easier and less expensive treasures to begin with can be dolls, paper weights, costume jewelry, baseball cards, hats, old cameras, ash trays, old keys, door knobs and the list goes on. Do some research on your choices to learn what makes one item more ‘collectible’ than others. The Internet is a great resource for research as well as your local library. There is a wealth of information available.

Not all old items are valuable – Some newer items are valuable or will be valuable.  Examples of what drives the value are the material it is made from, the maker or artisan, the age. Also, how much time was required to make the item.

Of course, some of the more traditional, and usually more expensive, collections are glassware, art, sculptures, paintings, gold, silver. Each of these categories are divided into rather specific groups. Again, do research. Learn what makes one item more collectible over another. Learn how to identify the different ‘makers marks’. Why is one artisan’s work in more demand than another.

Trading Up

One of the great aspects of this hobby is you can start small and ‘trade up’ at your own pace. Depending on your circumstance and how avid a collector you become, trust me, you will eventually run out of room. Unless of course, you turn this into a business and have stores and warehouses available to hold your stuff.    (This is no disrespect to those who do have stores and warehouses. For you I am envious.)

Consider this an opportunity. It is time to trade up. Replace your existing collections with newer ones. They don’t have to be more expensive, just different. Over time, your interests change, so its time to find new interests. As you learn what makes one item more valuable than others, you can begin to collect the more expensive or more traditional items. And to make room for your new collections, you may have to replace what you already have. This may mean giving away, donating or selling some of those that are your least favorite.

If you have collectible furniture, you can replace a piece at a time with one of better quality, more ornate, fits with your current decor or something that just pleases your eye better.

The Risks

Collecting can be an investment and increase in value over time. They are not making any older pieces, rather they are continuing to diminish. However, there is a risk involved. As time moves on, fashion and taste change. What may be the most popular and in demand today may not continue to be in demand next year or next decade. Therefore, value on those items will go down. The good thing is, if it is something you are interested in and enjoy, it will remain a treasure and you can continue to enjoy, not only the piece itself, but the memories, time and effort you spent finding it.

Start Now

Whatever your choices for collecting, start now. Doing is learning. The sooner you start the sooner you will begin to reap the reward for your efforts. The sooner you begin the quicker you will learn the fine art of collecting.

And always, enjoy and share with others.

Items I am currently searching to buy

15 February 2011

Post those items you are currently searching to purchase. These may be specific collectibles, unique or hard to find, bulky and/or of special interest to you.

Remember to include your contact information.

Introduction – Going To Sales

15 February 2011

Going to sales can be one of the most interesting and rewarding activities you may experience. Whether it is an estate sale, garage sale, community or group sale, each provides its own unique atmosphere as well as possible opportunities.

What Interests You

Whatever motivates you, the excitement of the hunt, find that rare and unique treasure, collecting as a past time or collecting as an investment, visiting areas and homes you may not otherwise ever be able to see, all these activities are exciting and the activity can be good for you.

Collecting Treasures – always on the lookout for that special item that you cannot otherwise live without. Maybe its “Oh, my grandmother had one just like that!” and I always wanted one. You never know what you may find on the road of collecting.

Collecting for the investment – choose one (or several) items of interest and you will be amazed at how quickly you can add to your collection.

Personal Use – it will surprise you how good of quality of items you can find at sales. From new in box, almost new or used, all these can help save on your budget. From furniture, appliances, clothes, automobiles and even perishables, these are all at unbelievable prices.

Furnishings – a new home, apartment, college dorm or weekend and vacation get aways, estate and garage sales are the places to shop. Not only can you save a bundle, but quality of older items are many times much better than what you can buy in the store today. It is unbelievable the savings on furniture, but also the savings on every day kitchen and glassware will add up quickly. The rare and unique only adds to the quality of your furnishings.

Types of Sales

Estate Sales – organized, larger amount, more variety and mostly clean items. These are most times a bargain especially compared to retail prices. You may not find that one time “touch down”, but you never know. But, know your prices. When you find it, buy it, don’t pass it up. It probably won’t be there when you go back.

Garage Sales – maybe less organized, not as much variety and sometimes not as clean. Items are many times better priced and is possible to find that “touch down”. Again, be prepared to buy it when you find it. Don’t pass it by.

Block Sales – in a neighborhood or apartment complex where multiple houses have a garage or yard sale at the same time. A great place to shop and can hit several sales at one time.

Church Sales– or any kind of non-profit organization, such as Boy Scouts. Again, a great place to shop where you may have a the contents from multiple families. You can take the advantage of those who have spent the time and effort of consolidating multiple sources of items. And, it is for a good cause.

Flea Markets and Bazaars– provides a wide variety of antiques, collectibles and crafts. A great place to purchase hand made items that are unique to your region. As these age and grow in popularity, they can become quite large, but you can still find unique bargains.

Where to Start

The Internet is a wealth of information. Follow the listings on websites like Also, check out the ‘Event Calendar’ in the right column of this blog. Browse the ‘Event Calendar’ category for more information about each event. These may contain links back to the individual events website.


Going to sales can be one of the most interesting and rewarding activities you may experience. Whether it is an estate sale, garage sale, community or group sale, each provides its own unique atmosphere as well as possible opportunities.

As you may conclude, there is a wide variety and exciting reasons you may pursue the hunt of the sale. But remember, whatever they are always enjoy and share your experiences with others.

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