Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

When our daughter was a baby, my husband and I were rabid garage sale shoppers. We were hooked when we realized we could buy clothes for 25 to 50 cents apiece for our quickly growing infant. We also bought baby gear like an Exersaucer and lots of toys. Glancing around our crowded toy room now, I’d like to go back and tell my new-mom self to go easy on purchasing garage sale toys.

Fast forward a few years, and now our firstborn is 9 years old. We also have a 5-year-old. Last summer, we didn’t go to a single garage sale. Garage sale season is just kicking off in our area again, and we likely won’t go to any this year either.

What changed?

Here are the main reasons why I don’t shop at garage sales anymore:

My kids are growing old enough that it’s harder to find their sizes.

Garage sales are overflowing with baby and toddler clothes that are in great condition. That’s because infants and young children grow so fast, they’re only in one size for a few months, and they don’t have time to wear holes in the knees. As my children have grown older, there aren’t as many garage sales offering the sizes we need. Older children often wear the same size for a year or longer, and because of that, they tend to wear their clothes out, which accounts for fewer big kid clothes at garage sales.

It’s now easier for me to go to a good resale shop where I am guaranteed to find lots of clothing in my children’s sizes for slightly more than garage sale prices but still cheaper than buying new.

It’s time consuming.

It takes time to read garage sale ads, plan which sales to attend, and drive around to multiple sales on the weekends. It’s also an annoying waste of time to drive to a garage sale that advertised clothing in my children’s sizes only to find two or three measly pieces of mediocre clothing.

Again, I’ve discovered that resale shops like Once Upon a Child or my local thrift store better serve my family’s needs now because I only need to drive to one location, and I know they will have items in the sizes we need, so I don’t feel like I’ve made a wasted trip.

I buy too many things I don’t need.

It can be hard to resist a good deal. Even if I already had enough clothes to get my child through the coming year, I found myself still buying clothes at garage sales simply because they were there and the price was good. Then we ended up with overstuffed closets that were difficult to navigate. We also ended up buying toys and books we didn’t need, as well as all the other whatnots and knickknacks that are common fare at garage sales. Now, when my kids need clothes or shoes, I can plan my shopping trip, go out and buy what is needed, and that’s the end. I now prefer that method over drawing out the shopping process for several months.

Garage sales are great places to buy clothes, shoes, baby gear, and other necessities for infants and young children. If you live in an area where garage sales are common, you definitely should check them out.

But garage sales aren’t for everyone in every life season. My family has outgrown garage sale shopping, but we still look back fondly on those Saturday mornings spent driving around town, chatting with each other and nibbling Pop Tarts in the car, and the thrill of chasing all those bargains. At this point in life, though, the joy of a less cluttered house and more efficient shopping trips is enough.

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Category: Family Finances

Tags: garage sales