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GARAGE SALE TIP: How to cut out the middleman and find awesome deals on authentic vintage

How to score awesome deals on authentic vintage

Sure, you can pick up a cool old ladderback chair at your local thrift store, or buy a pretty pair of vintage brass candle holders online at Ruby Lane. There's definitely satisfaction in choosing well, especially when there are so many choices. But nothing — absolutely nothing — compares to the thrill of discovering an unexpected vintage find on your own. The good news is it's totally do-able if you know where to look.

One good place to look for vintage things is Garage Sales.  That's where antique dealers and vintage re-sellers find a lot of their inventory. The majority of Garage Sale Early birds, in fact, are people who buy and sell used furniture and home decor for a living. 

Vintage Welby Mid Century Modern Sunburst Clock - 32 Watchers

Think about how great it would feel to bypass the middleman for a change!  It's surprising how much money you can save on vintage treasures when you do.

Of course, not all Garage Sales have vintage treasures for you to find. Figuring out which sales will likely have the vintage things you want takes a bit of profiling.

Don't worry, it's easy!

In this case, profiling is a good thing

It's always smart to consider the age of the homes and the people who live there whenever you plan a garage sale route, especially if you're shopping for something specific.  

If you're looking for vintage, it's a must.

For example, you'll find the best selection of toys and baby clothes at garage sales in the burbs where lots of young families live. 

If you're looking for newer furniture, you're better off going to sales in new, upscale subdivisions since the residents of new homes tend to like new furniture and the more affluent they are, the more disposable income they have for redecorating. 

Hunting for vintage treasures is no different. 

If you want to score awesome deals on authentic vintage treasures, look for garage sales in neighborhoods with older homes that have basements.

Older people live in older homes and older people have vintage stuff that to them, is just plain stuff.

The key is to find neighborhoods where the residents enjoyed the same vintage items you're looking for way back when the items were new.

And basements?

Basements are the vintage-lover's Holy Grail because people typically use the space to stash things they stop using instead of throwing them out. Multiply that by twenty years or so and you have a home that's literally sitting on a goldmine — a basement filled with vintage treasures.

"A basement is a magical place where junk goes to die, only to be reborn years later as vintage treasure."

If you're not sure which homes near you have basements, you can search the real estate listings at to find out.  Just enter your city and state and choose "has basement" in the search criteria. Zillow will show you a map of homes with basements in your area.

Click on one of the icons in the middle of a cluster of homes to get the zip code; then set up a Craigslist email alert to notify you of upcoming Garage Sales in that zip code.

I think Craigslist's email alert service is the best thing since sliced bread. You can set alerts for any Craigslist search and they will send you an email whenever a new Craigslist post matches your criteria. It's one of my favorite tools because it not only saves me a lot of time but also saves me from missed opportunities.

To get alerts on upcoming garage sales in your target zip codes, find the garage sale section of your local Craigslist and on the left side menu, a little more than half way down, enter a zero "0" in the field titled "Miles from Zip" and the zip code in the field to the right of that (Step 1 in the example above.)  Then save your search (Step 2.)

On the next page, (Step 3) check the box in the "Alert" column on the left to change it from OFF to On and you're all set!

I hope this helps!

May the vintage garage sale odds be ever in your favor....          

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