4th Grade Frenzy: How to Yard Sale Like a Boss: A Teacher's Survival Guide
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July 13, 2017

How to Yard Sale Like a Boss: A Teacher's Survival Guide

You need cool things for your classroom, but you don't want to break the bank. Have you tried yard "sailing" for some great bargains and interesting finds?

I was introduced to flea markets and yard sales at about age 7. The kids across the street always had "new" and interesting toys to play with that their parents picked up at yard sales. I had so much fun playing at their house. I remember that one time the family even took me to an auction and bid on a box of toys that they gave me. At the risk of dating myself, I must say that I was one happy camper driving home in the back of their station wagon! My mom caught the flea market bug, and we started a weekly trip with my cousins. Talk about fun times and memories! Our trips to the flea market expanded to yard sales, and as I got older they were a teacher's dream come true. I've picked up some tips over the years that I'd like to share. If you have never tried yard "sailing" before, grab a friend, and give it a try!

Here are some of my latest yard sale finds. I hit the jackpot when I found a teacher who had recently resigned to stay home with her own kids. Once she found out that I was a teacher, she was practically giving her stuff away!

Fun Stamps for Stamp a Story

Brand New Markers

Prize Box Items

Math Station Game

Magnetic Labels 

Emoji Stamps

Here are some steps to follow:

1. Find out when and where the yard sales are. Some are still published the old-fashioned way in the local newspaper, but I usually use sites like Garage Sale Finder. (Not an affiliate!) You can also look for signs around your town. My favorites are church yard sales and neighborhood yard sales as there is usually great participation and selection. Don't overlook estate sales! You may think that everything is old and collectible type stuff, but many people who are simply downsizing have estate sales too. Most sales are held on the weekends.

2. Plan your route to make the best use of your time.

3. Get up early, and head out!*

4. Smile and greet the seller. This sets the stage for good communication. They may ask you if you are looking for anything in particular or mention some items and prices. The last sale I was at, the seller said, "Books and stuffed animals are free!" What?! Just in time for updating my class library!


5. Consider stating that you are a teacher. I have gotten many good deals this way as sellers are usually delighted that their items will have a new life with your students.

6. Negotiate prices. You are not being cheap...sellers expect this! For example, if the price of an educational toy is $5.00, you might say, "Will you take 3 for this?" The worst the seller can say is, "No." Usually, sellers accept reasonable offers. Sometimes, they might counter an offer back like, "How about 4?" So go ahead and make offers.

7. Pay for your items, say thank you, and head to the next sale!

*Hint: Heading out early gets you the best selection. Arriving later tends to get you the best prices. After all, sellers don't want to have to put this stuff away!

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  1. Woohoo! A girl after my own heart! I went to a sale today and bought a practically new (and very clean) working Cusinart coffee pot for my room for one dollar!

    1. What a great deal, Karen! Yard sales are so much fun because you never know what you are going to find!


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