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Finding Treasures to Sell on eBay at Garage Sales

If you run an eBay store, what can be better than getting up at 6:00 a.m. to troll the local garage sales? If you're motivated to find lots of good eBay merchandise, garage sales offer a perfect chance to buy great stuff at low prices. Buy the newspaper or check your local newspaper's classified ads online (just run a Google search for your local newspaper's name), and print maps of the sale locations from MapQuest or Yahoo! You know the neighborhoods, so you can make a route that makes sense from one sale to the next and figure in bathroom stops and coffee breaks.

Neighbors often take advantage of an advertised sale and put out some stuff of their own. Bring a friend; you can cover more ground faster if two of you are attacking the sales.

A few tips on shopping garage sales:

  • Fancier neighborhoods have better stuff than poor or middle-class ones.

  • Look for sales that say "Early Birds Welcome" and make them the first on your list so you can get them out of the way. It seems like a universal bell goes off somewhere and all garage sales start at 8:00 a.m. sharp!

  • The stuff you find at estate sales is often of a higher quality. These sales feature things that have been collected over many, many years.

  • Keep an eye out for "moving to a smaller house" sales. These are usually people who have raised children, accumulated a houseful of stuff (collectibles? old toys? designer vintage clothes?) and want to shed it all so that they can move to a condo in Palm Springs.

    Any toys people are selling while downsizing are usually good ones.

  • Move sales that feature "kids' items and toys" to the end of your list, and go only if you're not too tired. These sellers are generally young couples (with young children) who are trying to raise money or are moving. More often than not, they're keeping the good stuff and are simply shedding the excess.

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