When I first got into yard saling, my kids were 10 months, 2 and 4 years old. I had to learn really quickly exactly how to yard sale with children. Yes, it is easier to shop without young ones and if you have the option to go alone, you may want to.
However, when I hear someone say they can’t yard sale because they have small children, I know for a fact that if you really want to go it is entirely possible.
So, for all the mamas of littles out there, there is hope!
With a little trial and error, I think you will find shopping yard sales to be fun for everyone. Being outside and getting to talk with people can be really rich experiences for children and finding those deals is definitely worth the extra effort it takes to get out the door in the morning.
Here are six tips that helped me back in those early years.
- Adjust your attitude. Choosing a good attitude about the whole experience is imperative. “If there is a will, there is a way” is so true in this instance. Know that children take extra time and plan for it. But, don’t think that all your yard saling days are over for the next ten years.
- Find your family’s threshold. I kept an eye on the family morale for the first few trips out and noticed that after about eight stops or three hours, we were all in the verge of melt downs. So, fitting seven sales in became the reasonable goal in my mind.
- Pack a stockpile of fun! Now, I know you are having a blast, but your kids may not feel the same way. So, in addition to your regular diaper bag, spend a few extra minutes and pack a stash of snacks, books, toys, etc. that are just for yard sale mornings. And the trick with little kids is to keep changing things out, so for every stop I made sure there was something new to look forward to for them, seven things total, in our case.This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read a full disclosure.
- Listen to audio books during drive time. In between stops, we would hit play and listen to a favorite audio book. Some of our favorites for the younger years have been: Blueberries for Sal, The Velveteen Rabbit, Very Hungry Caterpillar, If You Give a Mouse A Cookie. And for grade schoolers: Farmer Boy, The Secret Garden, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Anne of Green Gables and The Indian in the Cupboard. We were able to find all of these and more at our library and at yard sales, ironically.
- Community yard sales and double strollers are your new best friends. One way to really step up the efficiency is to find community garage sales where you can just load everybody up in a double stroller and keep things moving. My kids got so used to this, that for years they thought community yard sales were called “double strollers.” We would drive by one and they would point and yell “double stroller!” So funny. “Double stroller” is easier to say than “community garage sale” when you are a toddler, I suppose.
- Be flexible with your baby’s needs. I hope this isn’t offensive to some of my readers, but there were times that if my youngest had fallen asleep or was playing peacefully, I would leave her in the car nearby while I shopped with the older two. I was always able to see and hear her. I would judge this on a case by case basis. It depended on the weather, the neighborhood, the distance I had to go from the car and how busy the sale was. A mother’s natural protective intuition is a force to be reckoned with and I trust my gut on these things. If for ANY reason you are not 100% comfortable with your baby waiting in your car nearby for a few minutes, then I recommend a baby carrier or simply moving on to the next house.
My kids are now 10, 12 and 14 years old.
I don’t pack a fun basket anymore, but they look forward to yard sale season all year.
Start em young, I say!!
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