A while back there was a post on Money Saving Mom about how to garage sale with a purpose to save money and gather supplies with a purpose and a plan. The post was specifically about getting deals at garage sales for kids clothing. While reading the post I had slap-the-forehead moments and I wished I had thought of things years ago! I cringe to think how much money I would have saved. (If I can find the link to the awesome article, I'll add it to this article later.)
The first step is to decide how many of what your child(ren) needs. Depending on where you live, you might need more shorts than pants or vice versa. I decided that I want 10 short sleeved shirts, 10 long sleeved shirts, 5 pants, 5 shorts and church clothing. They need underwear and socks too but I'll buy those new.
Second step is to inventory what you have now. What sizes and what gender do you have in the closet already? Once you have a list, make a spreadsheet on paper or on the computer listing what you need and what you have. When you garage sale, this list is your guide to ensure you get what you need and avoid impulse buying.
So, the above picture is the fruits of my first effort. I did a craig's list search for garage sales in Lincoln that advertised children's clothing. Then I did a search in the Lincoln Journal Star for the same thing. I looked at a map of Lincoln and decided which garage sales I would visit and which I would skip. Basically, I looked for several sales in the same area to maximize my time and efforts.
I didn't stop at all the sales I looked up and not every garage sale I stopped at had anything worth while but I did find some amazing deals. I found one garage sale with size 6 girl's clothing. I checked the Excel sheet and I needed all things in girl's size 6! These were name brand clothes so the asking price was higher than I would normally prefer. In the article I found, it talked about the fact that there isn't anything wrong with asking people to take a lower price.
I grabbed the 5 shirts that were the right size and the total sticker price was $7.75. I pulled out $6.00 cash and gathered my courage. I asked if the gal would take $6.00 for all. After she did the math in her head she said yes! So, 5 shirts marked of my list for $1.20 a shirt. I'm not a label snob or anything but these shirts are high quality material. They aren't going to rip easily like the shirts I find at Walmart and might last long enough that I can resell them once Jazzy has outgrown them!
After many strike outs I found a garage sale where clothes were marked .25 each! The girl's clothes were size 10 which I didn't have and there were boy long sleeved shirts sized 5 and 6 which I needed for Scotty. I grabbed everything that wasn't stained. I spotted some shoes that were $1.00 a pair and thought of my nieces. All told, I spent $7.00 at that garage sale and I basically have Jasmine's wardrobe when she is 10.
I spent a total of $13.00 and walked away with 19 shirts, 5 pants and 2 pairs of shoes. That's .50 a piece of clothing on average! When I consider that I would have paid at least $3.00 each at Walmart, I saved over $65.00 by garage sale-ing with a purpose.