Top Ten Things I Look for at Yard Sales

The top ten things I look for at yard sales…a fascinating topic for all of us sellers and wannabes! Many of my blog sisters like vintage thermoses, picnic baskets, and white ironstone, but they’re not on my list.

 

Since I’m buying for online selling on Etsy/Ebay/Artyah, I look for smaller items that are easily shipped. While in the booth business, I searched for furniture that I could refinish or paint. Shipping is so costly these days, I tend to stick with lighter items.

 

  1. Ceramic Christmas trees are always good sellers for me. I buy them even if they are missing the little bulbs as I have a stash from where?? Yard sales! You can also find them on Ebay. This and #8 are about the limit of size and weight I will ship.

 

Top ten things I look for at yard sales
Ceramic Christmas Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Vintage rotary dial Princess telephones…especially in unusual colors like pink or aqua. I’ve just had the boring colors of yellow or beige, but they sell well (if they are working).

 

 

3. Vintage Metal Recipe Boxes! (or wooden ones if pretty and cute.)

 

 

4. Mail Sorters or Bill Organizers! Even in this day of paying bills online, people still apparently use these:

 

 

5. Vintage Purses! I love them and collect evening bags, so I can’t resist buying them if they are affordable. See two favorites below…a Lou Taylor box purse on the left, dating from the ’80’s. What a rarity to find a purse in such pristine condition! The buyer loved it and it went all the way to Australia! The other, a black and white Spectator purse, dating from the ’60’s.

 

 

6. Vintage Safety Razors! (especially if adjustable.) Luckily, I do find razors at yard sales sometimes. They are increasingly hard to find.

 

 

7. Men’s Pipes and Pipe Paraphernalia! Hard to find at yard sales, but sometimes I get lucky! Grab them if you do! Both of these below were from yard sales. They are always high at estate sales.

 

 

8. Vintage Luggage! These are about the limit of weight and size for me to ship. The one on the left was in terrible shape when found. It required a lot of repair to get in acceptable shape. In fact, this style is usually in bad shape if you can find it at all.

 

 

9. Dolls, doll clothes, old doll trunks. Composition baby dolls, Vogue Ginny, vintage Barbie. Hard to find at yard sales, and too high at estate sales because I only go the first day. Once someone gave me a composition baby doll at a yard sale, and I promptly sold her for $20! That doesn’t happen every day!

 

Tip: Avoid dolls with white mold on the eyes, which starts from exposure to wet conditions. I’ve read that once it starts, it is extremely hard to remove and often comes back. I can vouch for that! It was very hard to remove.

 

(I apologize for the quality of some of these photos, which I took before I learned how to photo edit.)

 

The doll trunk was full of Vogue Ginny outfits, shoes and hats. Unfortunately a find that like that doesn’t come along every day! Though the Midge doll was vintage 60’s, she was in less than stellar condition!

 

10. Anything quirky or unusual has a market. I once sold 6 vintage dried up Howard Johnson ballpoint pens. Priced cheap because they didn’t write, I figured nobody would want them! Ha! Wrong! Wish I had a picture.

#1 Who would want these specialized coffee filters? Someone did!

#2 Bed springs

#3 Hair ribbon~5 colors…this surprised me.

#4 Do you know what this is? Just checking to see if you read this far….

#5 Do you know what this one is? Leave me a comment if you know!

 

 

So these are my top ten things I look for at yard sales. But what sells for me may not sell for you. Everything takes time! Hope you enjoyed the tour!

 

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Top Ten Things I Look for in Yard Sales

37 comments on Top Ten Things I Look for at Yard Sales

  1. I would guess the mystery item is some sort of gadget for clipping dog’s claws or for manicure pedicure. The other item with about 10 of the same appears to be thimbles.

  2. Florence, the first picture is those thumb or finger things (I don’t know what the official name is) that help you sort through paper without the paper sticking together. I don’t know what the other picture is though!

  3. Florence yes I read till the bottom and as far as I can tell #4 is those things we put on our fingers to keep them moist. What were they used for? I love those vintagy handbags.

    1. Yes, things to help you get a grip on papers as you’re sorting through them. I couldn’t believe how quickly they sold! Figured they wouldn’t sell at all, so just goes to show you people will buy anything…LOL.

  4. I wish I still had my Ginny Dollar and Barbie. What about ash trays, are they collectible? I knew about the things for your finger when filing but not the flag holder. Fun post

    1. Yes, I wish I had my Barbie too. I sold her a few years ago on Ebay…probably could get more now. Oh well. Ash trays…I need to do a post on those some time. I sold one recently that was vintage and a spin top. The others that do well are mid century mod designs. I have another one in my Etsy shop that is dead in the water, so design matters.

  5. I would certainly have bought the little finger things! I use them when slicing okra pods so I don’t cut my thumb with the knife!!

    1. What a repurposed use Carlene! Would never have thought of that! Wonder if they would work shelling peas? Used to turn my fingers black & sooner or later the quick on fingers was punctured from shelling.

  6. Love to see what people have on their list to look for at yard sales. You gave me a few new ideas. #4 is rubber fingertips for quickly going through stacks of papers. I was an accountant for 40 years and I had a couple in my desk the day I retired. lol

    1. Funny, how people who were/are office workers all know what those are! To me, as a nurse, we had something similar looking but they were called “finger cots.” So in my mind, that’s what they are, but it’s not what they were used for. Just think, Sharon, you could have brought those home from your desk drawer & sold them!

  7. Such a fun post, Florence–you surprised me with some of your categories. Ceramic Christmas trees and safety razors, for instance. I’ve never tried to sell either, but perhaps now I’ll give them a try 🙂 Thanks for linking up your post with us at Vintage Charm. Sharon’s featuring your post tomorrow at the party–

  8. Pingback: Vintage Charm #39
  9. Florence, what a great list. Now I have a few new things to watch for! I have a vintage German dollhouse that I want to pass on to my niece. I have the original dolls but their clothing is disintegrating. I’m always hoping to find similar dolls in better condition – or just clothes for the ones I have. And hunting for them is half the fun.

  10. I never thought about safety razors before. The find that my husband loves the most (and he’s REALLY not into vintage stuff) was when I found one of the ceramic Christmas trees at a thrift store. I thought he’d think it was ugly, but his mom used to have one, so now he insists that I put it out each year.

  11. Florence, this is a great list of things to look for at yard sales! Those recipe boxes are so cute, and who wouldn’t want a rotary phone?! So cool! My husband has some of those old razors from his great uncle, pretty neat! I remember my teachers using those finger grippy things when grading papers. All great finds! Happy hunting to you!

    1. Thanks Keri! Interesting to see what people like from this list. Lots of people are surprised about the razors. Glad to hear you like the phone! You as a young person too! Saw a cute video on FB recently about little kids trying to figure out what a rotary phone was! It was hilarious.

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