Top Places to Buy Inventory for Your Next Garage Sale

garage sale items, junk, vintage stuffMoving is Such Sweet Sorrow

No, it’s not. It’s a pain in the ass!

We’re moving. Not right away, but soon enough. We’re sure to be moving into a smaller place, so getting ready to move is all about downsizing and offloading. A garage sale is in our immediate future. That means going through all the stuff we own and making the decision: keep, sell, or discard. It’s not so much that the individual decisions are hard to make. It’s that there are so many of them to be made.

We own a lot of stuff. Before I decided to try writing for a living, I brought home regular paychecks. Weekends, we would go out and spend those checks accumulating stuff to store at home. Some things store better than others, and, when it comes time to sell off your storage problems, some things are more attractive to the people who show up in your driveway to beat you out of a nickel.

As a rule, garage sales do not inspire just-in-time inventory thinking, but they do provide lessons that can be applied to business. Conversely, if you work for a lean enterprise, you can apply the inventory lessons you learn there to your homelife and save some garage sale heartache . . . or backache, as the case may be. If you spend very much time at all in the stores I’m about to mention, you have not learned your lessons at home or at work. Maybe you’ll do better next time. I sure hope I do.

10 Best Places to Buy Garage Sale Inventory

  1. Sports Authority – you know it’s only a matter of weeks until you get tired of that treadmill. The most exercise your going to get is moving it out of the way so you can get to your fishing tackle.
  2. Bed Bath and Beyond – why does that stuff always look so much more attractive in the store? Something’s always just a little off when you get it home: the color, the texture, the size – something you’ll wish you’d thought of before you gave the clerk your credit card. Your garage sale customer is going to have the same problem, but it won’t be as painful because it won’t cost them as much as it cost you. Maybe this will improve your memory next time you’re in the store surrounded by all that beautiful stuff.
  3. Lowes/Home Depot – tools are almost always the first thing to go in a garage sale. Be sure to keep the original packaging and instructions if you want to keep your losses to a minimum.
  4. Ikea – you’ll find that this stuff is a lot harder to transport once you’ve assembled it, especially if you had parts left over. Still . . . pretty is pretty, right?
  5. Bass Pro Shop – fishing tackle, hunting gear, tents and sleeping bags, outdoor clothing, boats and accessories: this place is a veritable gold mine of stuff you’re never going to use. It’s my personal favorite. I’d rather buy fishing tackle than almost anything else on the planet besides whiskey. I keep mine in pristine condition too, because I don’t actually like to fish that much. It’s all good as new when I take 10 cents on the dollar for it out in the driveway.
  6. Walmart – can be problematic because most of the people who come to your garage sale have already been to Walmart and probably already own the same stuff. Your best bet with Walmart sourced inventory is recent immigrants. If Donald Trump builds his wall and closes our borders, you are are going to be screwed. Maybe you can sell it to one of his ex-wives. There are a lot of them, and they’ve already demonstrated bad judgment. Their tastes run to diamonds and furs though, so good luck with that.
  7. Hobby Lobby/Michaels – crafts look like a lot of fun until you start doing them. Getting all your craft stuff out of storage and putting it away again when you are finished is tiresome. It will dampen your creative spirit in short order. When that happens, you either leave the stuff out all the time or put it away and never use it again. Either way is bad for the soul and bad for the neighbor’s lawn when all the SUVs and minivans crowd into your street for the sale. It’s a good idea to note that crafts you haven’t started yet sell better than the ones you finished.
  8. Amazon/eBay –  these places are great for their selection and their prices. Everything you can buy at the big box stores mentioned above, you can get online for less. By the time you pay the shipping, you’re pretty much back where you started, but . . . this stuff comes in a sturdy box that you can store in the garage. Your best bet is to just leave it in the box until your sale starts. Saves a lot of time that way.
  9. Antique Shops – not the ones that have real priceless antiques, vetted and curated by experts, but the ones that lull you into thinking you’re getting value by filling your sinuses with dust and mildew. You know this stuff is junk by the time you get it home, but you don’t want to run additional health risks by trying to return it. Put it right in the garage and wait until the noxious fumes abate. If you can clean it up and get some use out of it, so much the better. Your customers will appreciate it, not enough for you to break even, but a happy customer is a repeat customer.
  10. Garage Sales – may in fact be your best bet. You already know it’s garage sale merchandise when you buy it, so there’s no period of buyer’s remorse or psychological adjustment to endure. The absolute beauty of stuff you get at a garage sale though . . . it’s already got a price tag on it.

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One Comment

  1. Hilarious … and, sadly, all too true.

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