I may have mentioned them in the original post or in Yard Sales, Part 2 or Yard Sales, Part 3 but I have to spend a little more time on this whole thing right now: The church, community group, or neighborhood yard sale!
This is a little late for hitting the very best ones but this is still one of the best times to look for them--right about the time kids are back to school and all those darned school clothes are too small and new ones are being purchased. Christmas is coming and people want extra money for shopping. The kids are back in school so they aren't under foot all the time and people can actually concentrate on something besides where the kids are going while school's out for the summer.
Regardless of the time of year, whenever you see that there's going to be a group yard sale--ANY kind of group yard sale, get there as early as you possibly can, with your list in hand, and shop 'til you drop. These are the sales where everything in the world can be found (OK, not quite but lots of stuff), you don't have to drive all over the place to get to the same amount of stuff, and these folks are generally either pricing things to sell, are willing to negotiate, or both.
The most recent one I went to was a veritable jewel of a sale. I didn't find a tablecloth for my little table but those really are hard to find any more and I didn't find the "church key" can opener (when I got a can of pineapple juice I discovered I had no way to open it other than using my regular can opener and taking off the entire top and they don't sell them in grocery stores any more--I'll try the thrift stores). I did find a shower curtain liner. Actually, it was a shower curtain but it was kind of a frosted white one and all plastic rather than fabric on one side and it works absolutely great. In fact, since it's a shower curtain, it's constructed far better than the liners and I have an attractive inside of my shower as well as the outside. It cost $1. I also got a lemon press for $0.50. It's one of those things that looks kind of like a giant garlic press but is used for lemon and lime halves. It wasn't on my list but only because I didn't think to put it there. I've been looking for one of those for ages. I also got about 3 pounds of organic tiny white potatoes for $1. The non-organic ones were something like $1.50 a pound at the grocery store.
They also had canning jars--a whole box (file box size) for $3. I didn't need that many so I asked if they would consider letting me buy 1/3 of the box. They were very nice and allowed me to do that. It turns out there were just under 2 dozen jars in there of various sizes--those would cost about $15 to $20 new--depending on where you get them. I got 7 very nice half-pint wide mouth jars (just what I was looking for) for $1. The next time I was at the store I saw they were just under $10 for 12 of them. Of course those included lids and bands but I have the bands and the lids really aren't all that expensive. I was very pleased with my purchase.
I didn't even try to bargain with those prices. I might have been able to get them to go down on the jars just a bit since I was getting the smaller ones--or I could have taken a couple more--but I was very happy with my purchases for a whole $3.50. Based on what I've seen in the stores, I would have paid approximately $30 for my purchases--there you go--about 10% of retail.
For me, the biggest draw for these sales is not needing to go to a dozen or more places to get as much as was available at that one place. Oh, they're frequently inside as well (the church or organization ones anyway) and that's always a big benefit. It's not a catastrophe if it rains. I just thought of one more thing. They generally have very good parking available where at private ones I've parked as far as a block away only to find they had absolutely nothing I wanted.
Well, let's see if I can actually stop talking about yard sales for a while--at least until next spring.