What we once thought was a fad has become more of a staple, reality TV. It’s everywhere, from singing and dancing competitions, to shows that follow workers around and show what they do on a daily basis. It seems as though maybe the most popular subcategory of reality TV now though has to do with finding hidden treasures. Folks are scouring the country to find antiques, collectibles, and in general basically anything that is worth a dollar or two, and it is intriguing to watch. Now you too can be an “American Picker” at Saturday’s World’s Largest Yard Sale. Here are some tips to help you be more successful…

The unique thing about hunting for hidden treasures is that it is different every time. Sometimes you will bump into a gold  mine, and other times you will find nothing at all. The biggest concern of a picker has to be finding the good stuff. That means you have to know what you are looking for and what you want to avoid. Improve your odds of scoring on your next yard sale outing by following these 10 yard sale shopping tips.

  1. Go early in the morning, as soon as the yard sales start. The good stuff goes fast.
  2. Take plenty of cash in small bills, and take more than you think you’ll need. Most sellers won’t take checks. If you find an unexpected treasure, someone else will likely snag it while you’re hunting for a cash machine.
  3. Plan your yard sale route in advance to make sure you hit the best of the advertised sales. It’s a treasure hunt. Think of your route as the map where X marks the spot — or spots in this case.
  4. Watch for vendors without a lot of traffic. Unadvertised and lesser visited sales don’t get as much traffic, which gives you a better chance to score big. You can pick up your original trail afterward.
  5. Drive your largest vehicle or pull a trailer, especially if you’re hoping to find furniture.
  6. Don’t be afraid to haggle when you’d like a lower price. If the seller won’t budge, swing back by later in the afternoon — when the sale is about to end and the seller is tired.
  7. Don’t overlook pieces that just need a little cosmetic work, but beware of costly repairs that exceed the item’s worth.
  8. Don’t head out without packing a yard sale tool kit — a collection of basic supplies to help you make smart, fast buying decisions and get your goods home safely.
  9. Imagine how you could use items instead of getting stuck on their original purpose. For example, a piece of iron fencing makes a good headboard or pot rack. You can reupholster chair seats with the good parts of a damaged rug, or use an old chenille bedspread as a tablecloth.
  10. Don’t buy something if you can’t figure out how to use it. It becomes clutter instead of treasure.