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Creating a Home Through Garage Saling

Being a college student has caused me to learn many things besides just the things I have learned in the classroom.  Because I go to college a couple hours away from where I grew up, I have had to be self-sufficient in many ways, from financing my day-to-day living to being able to go places and do things on my own.  One of the biggest things I have been learning is how expensive it is to start from scratch.  When I say this, I mean buying things like cooking, cleaning, decorating, and other supplies that you cannot always take with you when you move out of your parent’s house.  I have learned to remedy this by buying everything as cheaply as I can, but that doesn’t mean I necessarily skimp out on the quality.

This weekend, San and I made a day of garage saling at a city wide garage sale in a suburb of St. Paul.  We got up bright and early, treated ourselves to really unhealthy but tasty breakfasts at a gas station and set off.  It was a little stressful only because it was freezing out which led to some snow, rain, and a tiny bit of hail, but other than that, I got some amazing deals that I will be able to use in September when I start school again.

My first great buy was at the first garage sale we stopped at.  They had lots of brand new items selling for less money.  Because we went on a Saturday and most of the sales started on Friday, we found many that had reduced their prices.  I tried to haggle on this brand new T-fal 10 piece cookware set, but the seller wouldn’t budge.  I bought it anyway knowing that I was getting a good deal.


This set is listed at $79.00 according to Amazon and I paid $40.  This seemed like a lot to me, but for a brand new set, that is a really good price and I saved about $30 if I were to buy it in stores.  I did not want to buy a lot of used cookware, so this was a winning situation for me.

The next item I bought was a George Foreman family size grill with two drip trays, the manual, and a recipe book.


I haggled this one from $10 to $8.  I see these all the time at garage sales, but this one was in amazing condition with little ware and a great price.

DSC_0487 I scored a set of brand new steak knives for $3.50 and a brand new rug for the kitchen for $1.  It’s great to find brand new items at garage sales for only a fraction of the retail price!

I picked up an ironing board that needs to be recovered for about $2, a beautiful decorative decanter and vase for $1.50 each (I haggled this down from $3 each), and two gorgeous plum colored pillow cases for free!


The pillow cases were listed at 10 cents a piece, but since San and I put our purchases together, they offered to knock off the extra 20 cents, meaning I basically got them for free.  They will work perfectly with my color scheme I am working on for next school year!

My last buys were two cork board squares for 25 cents each, a workout DVD by a brand I really enjoy for $1 and an assortment of folders, a 1-subject notebook, and a 5-subject notebook for about $3, all of which I would have needed to buy for school next year but now can check off my list.

DSC_0481 I am so happy with all of my purchases!  San and I will be heading to another city wide garage sale next Saturday where I hope to buy more items for next year (the more I buy now the less I will have to spend in retail stores later on).  I have also added moving boxes to the list since I am going to have to haul all of this back to my parent’s house for the summer before bringing it right back in the fall.

So, there you have it!  I scored some amazing deals and will use every single one of these items, so I couldn’t be happier.  Anyone else working on stocking up on things they need from garage sales?

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5 comments to Creating a Home Through Garage Saling

  • Oh I just love reading about peoples garage saling finds! I am a thrift shopper myself but hope to do some garage saling when it gets warmer. I need to learn how to haggle. Do you have any tips?

  • Sarah


    I actually am not a very good haggler, but am starting to do it more and have seen some improvement. I only haggle if I feel something is just a little too out of reach for me. Take that George Foreman for example. I think ten dollars is definitely a fair price, but I was feeling uneasy about spending a ten dollar bill on it. The second I feel uneasy I know I am not comfortable with the price which is the only time I will haggle. I won’t do it if I find the price reasonable because I don’t want to cheat people out of money.

    Once I know I want to haggle, I try not to think about it too much because then I get too nervous to do it. I pick a fair number and just say, “Will you take (fill in amount here) for this?” or better yet “Will you take (fill in amount) for all of this stuff?” When you combine purchases and ask for a few bucks off the entire thing, people will usually give in.

    Sometimes, however, you don’t even have to haggle because the seller will give you a deal. That seems to happen more for my boyfriend who was perfectly happy buying a nice button down shirt for $4 but as we was handing the seller the cash, he said, “I’ll sell you that for $4.” No haggling involved!

    So, I guess just practice on items you truly want but feel a little uneasy about paying the marked price for. I hope that helps!


  • Wow, great finds! I definitely understand about how hard it is to buy stuff you need in college when you’re on your own. I wish I had had time to go garage saling back then – I remember having to spend hundreds on all-new cookware! And that was buying the cheap stuff, too. It pretty much took up alot of my bank account. But on the upside, we are still using almost all the cookware and even alot of the furniture we bought back in college. All the couches and chairs in our living room we bought in college, our bed, and our dressers we bought at garage sales in college and sanded and refinished them. We still like them and use them everyday. :)

  • Kim

    Seriously, I’ve only come across one in the almost-two-years we’ve lived here. Got some great deals at that one… a huge wall mirror with a decent frame, some antique woodworking tools that my husband is lovingly restoring, an electric heater and a few kitchen utensils.
    We furnished our home in the U.S. mostly with garage sale finds, from appliances to furniture to decorative items. I once scored an almost new dishwasher for $25!
    When we moved I brought several garage sale finds with me: a wicker chest (which currently serves as our coffee table) and a wicker desk and chair. Also a lot of the artwork we’d picked up.
    Also a fan of craigslist, which is where we bought a couple of air mattresses (the sleep number kind) and the couches we passed on to our kids when we moved. I’m excited craigslist has made it to Argentina but so far all the action is in Buenos Aires, which is 9 hours away. Hoping it makes it to the interior soon!!! :-)

  • Valerie

    You got some great deals especially the cookware and the grill!
    Definitely worth it to spend some time and look around!

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