I haven’t been garage sailing in the longest time, but when I was a kid, my grandma and I used to go out every Saturday and some of my most special memories are of those times with her.

My strongest memory of garage sailing with my grandma. The first is that we were always on the hunt for depression glass and instead of finding what I thought was depression glass and yelling for my grandma, I would have to calmly walk to her and softly ask "is this what you're looking for?" That way my grandma would know that I'd potentially found the (valuable at that time) glass she was looking for without alerting the other bargain hunters. Because of our joint efforts in hunting down depression glass, I have quite the impressive collection today and each time I walk by my china cabinet and see it, I think of my grandma.

If you're wondering about the lady in the photo above with the lampshade on her head, that really happened. I used to live in a small town that would hold a town-wide garage sale day and while I was out hunting for goodies one year, that woman nearly walked right into me, and clearly, you can understand why. I guess you have to do what you have to do when your hands are full.

If you’re planning to do some garage sailing this weekend (you haven't forgotten that the Terrace garage sale is this coming Saturday, have you?!?), here are some tips I learned from years of shopping with my grandma.

  • 1

    Make a List

    Before you even lace up your sneakers, go through the paper, online listings, signs you’ve seen on the side of the road and so on.  You'll save yourself so much time if you map out a general travel route- and definitely try to plan it out so that you go in one big circle- from your house to the sales, and back to your house. If you’re using a GPS, input the addresses before you go so that you're not sitting in your car, wasting valuable hunting time trying to figure out what address to put in next. That's just silly business.

  • 2

    Dress Comfortably and Travel Light

    Do not, I repeat, do not take a purse with you while garage sailing. Try to wear clothes that have pockets and shove cash, a bank card, your license, and cell into your pockets so that your hands are completely free to browse and hold things. If you feel naked without a purse or are afraid you'll pull out a was of cash and your license will fall and get lost in the process, consider a small cross-body bag. I've done this and it also acts as a bag if you're in a place where there are sales one right after the other and you don't want to keep running back to the car.

  • 3

    Pack a Cooler

    If you break out in a heavy sweat while garage sailing, it's either obscenely hot and humid, or you're getting an amazing workout. Either way, pack a small cooler with cold water and snacks like cheese and nuts. Nothing ruins bargain hunting like having to go home because you feel like you're going to pass out from dehydration.

  • 4

    Claim It for Your Own

    If you see something you like, but you're not sure if you're ready to part with your cash for it, pick it up and carry it with you until you're ready to pay and then make your decision. There's no worse feeling than seeing something you think you might want and then watching someone else pick up and buy it before you make a move on it.

  • 5


    If you see something you really want but the price seems a little steep, don't be afraid to ask the seller if they'll take a little less. Asking to buy an item marked $25 for $2 is insulting. Think carefully before you ask for a discounted price, be reasonable, be polite, but don’t be insulted if the seller says no. It's their sale and their prerogative.

  • 6

    Look Under Tables

    I can't even tell you how many treasures I've found by looking under tables, in boxes, and under mounds of clothes. Most people don't want to be bothered to look there. Take the time and you might be surprised!

  • 7

    Don't Be Scared of Dirt

    A little dirt never hurt anyone, right? Don't pass on something just because it looks dirty- a little elbow grease has been known to make dingy things gleam.