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Shopping - Everything Else
Written by Guest Writer - Amy Livingston   
Monday, 29 March 2010 03:26
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'Tis the Season....for Yard Sales!
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Ah, spring is here at last. The snow has melted away and the daffodils are in bloom. Time to take those flannecheap_yard_salel sheets off the bed, start the seedlings for this year's garden, and get started on your holiday shopping.

Wait, I hear you say, what was that last bit? Yes, you heard me right - with spring comes the start of yard-sale season, which means this is the ideal time to start seeking out gifts for Christmas, Hanukkah, or the winter holiday of your choice. I know it seems like we just got through with last year's holidays, and carols and candles may be the last thing on your mind when spring is in the air, but thinking ahead is worth the effort.

The average American family spends about $700 on the holidays each year, chiefly on presents. However, many giftable items-books, clothes, kids' toys-can be found at yard sales for roughly a quarter to a third of what they might cost new. Thus, taking the time to think about your holiday gift list now could save you hundreds of dollars come December.

Presents for children are especially easy to find at yard sales. Children often outgrow clothes and toys that are still in good condition, and if these items can't be passed down to a younger sibling, they're likely to end up on a table in the front yard at dirt-cheap prices. Children are also less likely than adults to care whether their gifts were purchased new. If the box under the tree contains a gorgeous doll or a really cool model helicopter, why should they care if it's new in the box? They'll probably be happier not having to wait ten minutes for Mommy or Daddy to extract the toy from its packaging before they can play with it.

Another advantage of seeking kids' presents at yard sales is that you can often find vintage toys that are better made than the modern equivalents. A few years back, my husband got his oldest niece and nephew a pair of sturdy Tonka trucks just like those he'd had as a boy-metal, rather than the flimsy plastic versions found today - for $1 each. Other great gifts we've found for the kids in our family include wooden blocks, a three-dimensional dinosaur puzzle, and in one master stroke, an assortment of fancy clothing, totaling about $5, to fill a dress-up box for our two nieces.

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haverwench  - The item and quality matters |2010-06-09 10:46:49
It depends also on what the item is. People may be uncomfortable about secondhand clothing (funny, considering that an item bought in a store may have been tried on by hundreds of people) but not secondhand books. And the quality matters as well. Antique furniture is actually worth more than new, not just because it's old but because it's good enough to last 50 or 100 years without falling apart.

Your point about time spent yard-saling is a fair one. Out of ten sales you visit, nine may yield nothing of value. But if you enjoy the activity, then actually finding something is just a bonus (kind of like fishing for some people). It does help to focus on neighborhood sales and estate sales where there's a lot of stuff in one place. Flea markets are good too, but they seem to be growing scarce, at least around here.
Omiewon  - Really Depends |2010-03-29 10:11:50
A lot of people are turned off by anything that doesn't come with a receipt. But honestly, people getting gifts should be thankful for receiving anything. Those people close to you appreciate the gifts especially if they know that they are sharing the expense. I think the condition is paramount. Baby stuff is often completely unused with tags still on them and can be had for 90% off.

The big problem that I have with yard sales is the time investment for what many times is just junk. However, if you get a big "Estate" or multi-family sale where they have truly a ton of stuff and many times antiques, it can sometimes be worth it.
Olivia  - yes indeedy |2010-03-29 08:52:04
For the squeemish among our family members we find new stuff. For them we hit the just after Christmas sales and those wonderful snag em while they're below wholesale online deals. But my sisters are cool with used. We enjoy the "wow that's really neat" factor much more than the new in box smell.
sexygurlforeva  - yeah |2010-11-14 13:44:54
olivia you are a really smart gurl for pickin that up.
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