Garage and yard sales are great for turning trash to treasure! What one person may feel to be unnecessary, bulky or broken can quickly become a staple in your apartment decor–that is, if you know how to maneuver through a garage sale well. While there is, of course, going to be some junk at a garage sale, with these shopping tips you can find valuable items at a bargain price.

Take a Walk Through

If you are going to a large garage or yard sale, you’ll want to do a quick once over before making any purchases. When you find something you love, pick it up so no one else does and keep perusing. After you’ve seen everything, you can go back to the beginning and see if there was anything you weren’t madly in love with, but could be a great addition to your home. Don’t forget–you need to use your imagination to turn trash to treasure.

Look for Potential

A drab shelving unit may not catch your eye quickly, but imagine slathering on a coat of paint or adding fabric to the backing. Most things that you buy at a garage sale will need a bit of TLC to turn them from trash to treasure, as chances are the former owner didn’t care too much for it prior to the sale. Why else would he or she be selling it? Think outside the box when you are looking at items. What was simply a ceramic pitcher to the seller may be a flower vase to you. If you like the look of something, buy it. Since garage sale items are often extremely affordable, it won’t be the biggest deal if you wasted a couple bucks.

Have Cash Ready in Hand

A lot of items at yard and garage sales aren’t even priced, as sellers are expected to negotiate with price a bit. Bring small bills along so the seller doesn’t have to break anything, and you can quickly hand over the appropriate amount. If something is priced at $12, offer $10. Unless that price has already come down from something higher, you’ll likely get the deal. This is especially true if you are walking through a sale on the last day or later in the evening when sellers are eager to get rid of everything. Don’t be afraid to bargain a bit!