Sometimes the best place to find things for your kitchen is a yard sale

Around here if you want something new for your kitchen, you go yard saling.

I googled it to make sure I spelled it correctly and discovered according to the urban dictionary yard saling is slang for when you are skiing and you’re on the slopes and you lose your hat and goggles and skis and poles.  And when you wipe out you shout YARD SALE.


Not exactly.

I’m talking about when you see a sign and it says GIANT FAMILY YARD SALE in all capital letters and you follow the successive directional arrows down winding roads until you turn the last corner to discover a broken down washer, a basket of old t-shirts and a Christmas tree and realize the capital letters might have misrepresented themselves.

It’s yard saling season.

Hope springs eternal.

And if I only had $5.00 to shop, here’s what I would buy.

White dishes are a key find at a yard sale, and on my list of must get items.

7.  White dishes

You could buy about eight of those plates for $5.00.

The dishes don’t have to be fancy or stamped with a name or used by a pilgrim.

The key to dish success is quantity.

Buy platters and bowls and urns and vases and luncheon plates and then layer them all together.

They look amazing and purposeful and no one will ever guess you got them next to basket of t-shirts.

Baskets are another "must have" when you hit up a yard sale.

6.  Baskets

Color and style don’t really matter when you are buying a basket.

All that can be changed.

Don’t let that orange color oddly found on some baskets stop you from pulling out your $5.00.

You can spray paint or add ribbons and buttons or paint numbers or add handles to your basket.

All you need is Pinterest and a little imagination.

It may sound strange, but croquet sets are a great find.

5.  Croquet sets

At the risk of stating the obvious, the possibilities are endless.

The texture and patina of the wood alone is worth .50.

You could make the mallets into hooks and stack the croquet balls in a basket or take the wire from the hoops and make a topiary form.

Or you could go all old school and simply play croquet.

If you find old windows, get them, they're an amazing yard sale find.

4.  Old windows

I never met an old window project I didn’t like.

You could make a chalkboard.

Or a memo board.

Or a transom window.

Or just hang it on the wall and add a wreath and a burlap bow and call it a day.

Oversized bins are another key item to snatch up when you find one at a yard sale

3.  Over-sized bins

I have walked away from many an over-sized bin before I discovered this tip.

Make two bins out of one.

This is a wall organizer I made out of a large bin.  You can see the DIY here.

This tip also applies to crates (or even a table), too.

Linens are a great find as well, so long as you look carefully before you buy.

2.  Linens

My favorite thing about linens at a yard sale are the possibilities.

They can become chair covers or pillows or no sew valances like these in my kitchen that I made from an old slipcover.

You can find them with monograms or palm trees or embroidery or fruit baskets.

And if you don’t want a project?

You could use them as….wait for it….linens. 🙂

An armoire is a great yard sale find as well

1.  An armoire

Every now and then when the stars align and the sale is about to end and the sellers are tired and they don’t want to take something home, you strike yard sale gold.

It’s what keeps a yard saler going.

It’s what makes a heart beat faster.

It’s what makes the steering wheel turn when you see a capital letter sign.

Because you never know.

A $5.00 armoire might be just around the next corner. 🙂

PS  What would you spend $5.00 on at a yard sale?

Seven things to buy at a yard sale if you only had $5

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


    1. Image for RedBird Recrafts RedBird Recrafts

      Wooden Alphabet blocks a very large bag full! wooden doors, wire mesh fencing, large clocks that still have working mechanisms in an ugly facade, milk glass anything, cobalt blue glass anything!, hose clamps, wall-mount bottle openers, hooks-that is just my top ten...along with the baskets, and windows you have already mentioned!

  1. Image for Leslie Leslie

    Love your view at a yard sale!! I need mine fine tuned to see more possibilities for have inspired me once again.

  2. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    Hm, good list! I'd buy things that could be turned into unique lights or stuff to make signs/chalkboards, board games, who knows? It's all in the hunt. Oh yes. Yard art items. Let's not forget those! Ha! Hope you have a blessed Easter! Cecilia

  3. Image for Courtney @ Foxwood Forest Courtney @ Foxwood Forest

    It's always guaranteed that one can find baskets at a yard sale! I can always find planters/pots for small flower and herbs as well!

  4. Image for Sherry Sherry

    Good morning just in from shoveling our latest 8 inches of snow-so I look for shovels, old garden tools to use or just look at, and seen better days wicker pieces . Have a good one Karianne

  5. Image for Patricia Patricia

    I just bought a thrift store chair for $7.50 (didn't quite make the $5 limit ... but close!). Our visiting cat (from down the block) likes to nap at our house and left a big rip and tear on one of a matched set of chairs. My husband wanted to let him back in (well, he is cute and has a musical purr) so a replacement chair was the compromise. After I cleaned up the thrift store find and re-stuffed the back pillow, it looks great! Kitty's happy, husband is happy and I have a chair I don't mind if it gets a little wrecked...

  6. Image for Barbara Bussey Barbara Bussey

    I loved the pilgrim line too! Great ideas! Especially the croquet mallet idea. I have 4 of those right now, just waiting to be turned into a towel rack! I've been to many disappointing sales, but that diamond in the rough, still beckons! Take care, Barbara

  7. Image for Susan Susan

    Everyone should put white Christmas lights on their garage list because I was able to get tons of these for practically nothing and then string them up over my deck to look like garden twinkle lights. I used this tutorial to put them around my deck: I was able to attach the conduit to my deck rails and so it was even easier and cheaper. Because I used white Christmas lights, the whole project cost less $20!!

    1. Image for RedBird Recrafts RedBird Recrafts

      Susan that is a great idea! I am planning on making a hanging "chandelier" out of a hula hoop for over our patio this summer....C'Mon Spring!

  8. Image for Lenore Lenore

    What I have found with yard sale signs and we say it in these parts: Good Sign = Bad Sale (like you mentioned) but the reverse is often true: Bad Sign = Good Sale! My heart has beat too quickly at many GIGANTIC, HUGE, ETC. SIGNS and get there to see, well, not so much. But then you get those bad signs that you can barely make out but decide that you have to attempt follow them and VICTORY!!! And one word to people having yard sales, I might not be from your town and don't know your area but I am GOING TO BUY YOUR STUFF but BIG ARROWS (maybe that's 2 words) on your signs would surely help!! Make it easy for me PLEASE! I LOVE JUNK! One thing I would buy with my $5.00 would be old black and white photos, sepia photos of your relatives because I know you will throw them out if I don't rescue them!

    1. Image for Libby Libby

      Oh, I'm so glad there's someone else who buys those photos...........I can't stand to leave photos of someone's granny or their sweetly swaddled baby to be trashed! :D

  9. Image for Jeanne @ I Dream of Jeanne Marie Jeanne @ I Dream of Jeanne Marie

    I was just hoping yesterday for some yard sales this weekend. I like to hunt for "treasures" and little props and "accessories" for my dolls; like tiny chairs, mini stuffed animals, flowers, baskets, tiny straw hats, mini sized books, small scale fabrics, pictures that would make good background scenes, and anything else on the mini side. I do sometimes find great things for my house and love to "repurpose" them if necessary. My hubby and I LOVE yard sales and have even been known to do a little "dumpster diving!" You can google that too, if you need to... Thanks for a fun post, KariAnne, Blessings, Jeanne

  10. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Now, you've gotten me excited for yard sales! Too bad our roads are ice covered...but soon! Then I'll be looking for old baskets, a bird bath, and glass paperweights! You never know what you'll find! ;).

  11. Image for Michele @ The Vintage Vixen Michele @ The Vintage Vixen

    Love all 7 items on your list, especially the white dishes!!! They are perfect for every season, holiday or event because they can get dressed up or down for anything. I would also buy Mason jars because I can NEVER have enough of those gems!!! Michele

  12. Image for Peg Peg

    $5.00 huh? I'm always on the lookout for ironstone, vintage books, old cookie cutters or old muffin tins with interesting details, or primitive wooden spoons and rolling pins, or silver plate utensils with yummy patterns, and anything with hunting dogs!! Love!! : )

  13. Image for Susan Susan

    Any size or color wood candle sticks! Spray paint them white with the new chalk paint from Krylon. Then distress a bit with sand paper. It's called chalky finish. I got mine at Hobby Lobby, but I've seen it at Michaels also. Than I look for wood platters and spray paint them, glue them on short candlesticks and you have a cake platter!

  14. Image for April April

    Love a good yard sale! Have you checked out "Everything But The House"? Yard saling from home!! Side topic--love the chandelier in your pictures today! Can I ask you where you got it? I'm light shopping and feel inspired by your chandelier;-)

  15. Image for JanL JanL

    I look for baskets and towels at yard sales. It amazes me that people who change their decor colors will sell their 'wrong-color' towels that often work in our place. These are also frequently found if it is someone downsizing or possibly selling a relative's items. Although we are not heavy-duty garage salers, last summer my 7-yr-old grandson got up on a Saturday morning & MADE A LIST of what he wanted to do that day- garage sales, Library, Park were on his list.. His list was very specific to find: "Nerf Gun", "Legos", and "Soccer Net". I followed some of those less-than-fancy yard sale signs and at our first stop, indeed there was a box of Legos!! Unlike me, he is very business like so he asked if she had Nerf Guns. As I'm explaining "what she has is out here", the lady said "Wait a minute!" She returned in 5 minutes with a huge assortment of Nerf Guns from her storage shed. They had been her 17 yr old son's gifts for every occasion through the years and he was ready to give them up, but she had never considered putting them in the yard sale. Since these were his first Nerf Guns, when we left I explained the safety protocol & need for inanimate objects as targets. We stopped at the next really-bad signage sale, and lo and behold he found an actual brand-name Nerf target!! After going to the Library, we passed a sad little 'Sale' sign... and yep, we found his desired Soccer Net at that sale. He has made me a believer in really thinking of what to look for and it will appear.

  16. Image for dawn@joyfulscribblings dawn@joyfulscribblings

    Love these ideas Karianne! I really wish in my heart I was a DIY'er and transformed things into unique pieces. Instead I just sort of repurpose things or occasionally work on a simple craft. I would probably spend $5 on books. My books would sit on my bookshelf or be used to elevate my home decor, but I know you or your sister would create them into works of art!

  17. Image for Winnie Winnie

    Over the years at Yard Sales, I have always kept an eye out for vintage large kitchen utensils and cook/bakeware, constantly upgrading what I may have found in the past! Now I have the BEST collection of old baking pans of all shapes and sizes, and my old crocks full of beautiful vintage untensils for cooking are show stoppers! Now it's always fun to be in the kitchen! I probably would still drop $5 if I saw a better one somewhere!

  18. Image for Terri Terri

    I am in agreement with the "comment" above... "Wood candle sticks" .. any size or shape... They make me smile!!! Chalk paint them .. and Voila'... :) .... But now I wish I had not passed by so many old brown baskets!!!!!! Geeeezzzz!! Live and learn!!! Oh.. and thanks for the tip about the pilgrim!!! What??? Who knew??? lolololol......

  19. Image for Linda Andersen Linda Andersen

    All of the things you mentioned! By the way, the color Rice Grain, what category would that fall into, creams, beiges, I don't know.....thanks, my number one inspiration :) Linda p.s. it's raining here too and cold...yuk...

  20. Image for Cookie Cookie

    Love all of your ideas because I buy most of those now along with Candle holders, glass jars or mason jars, boxes along with baskets, garden accessories, etc. I have yet to buy an old window...almost did last year I. Florida but we just rent and I can't store a lot here! Love garage sales....could open a store with all that I would buy

  21. Image for Cindy Cindy

    I struck yard sale gold once...well it wasn't actually a yard sale, it was Good Will. An upholstered chair was being discarded because the fabric had "sun rot". The cushions, shape, and frame were in perfect condition!!! With my mother's senior citizen discount (lol), I walked out with that chair for $6.50! I couldn't believe it!!!!

  22. Image for Cindy Trobaugh Cindy Trobaugh

    I love this post! it said all and everything I think about Yard Saling and I too had Googled it at one time..wood candles sticks,linens and wire/metal baskets of any kind, which are a true weakness for me.I have scored some really great end of the day deals and the after the sale ends curb alerts! Smiles.Cindy

  23. Image for Carol Carol

    I love estate sales. I've bought a midcentury solid walnut dresser with 6 drawers and I have put my linens in it, It was only $50 and since them I have seen one for 3 times that much. I got a hand embroidered tablecloth for .25 because it had spots on it. Some beautiful baskets, Lenox Christmas figurines and so many other things. I have some beautiful plates that are on the wall that cost $2 a piece. I told a friend that I would like to see if I can do an apartment we want to rent with estate and garage sale things and he thought that sounded like fun. Have a blessed Easter.

  24. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    $5.00??? What would I do with $5.00? Just thinking about it takes up endless possibilities of thoughts! Think I'll keep my brain right there for the moment as it brings a smile to my face!!!! Wishing you a Happy Thursday!!!

  25. Image for Char Char

    Last spring l had a yard sale (the last step in spring cleaning ). A young couple stopped by looking for glass vases for their wedding reception. They had a very tight budget. Once I knew what they wanted I went back into my cupboards and donated every florist vase from every anniversary that I could find. Yard sale karma . . .

  26. Image for Donnie Donnie

    Hammered aluminum or pewter trays, candlesticks, mercury glass, kitchen items with red and white polka dots, small chairs (think old school chairs), wooden boxes, scrabble letters, legos (for when the grands visit), white dishes & serve ware, and anything unique and amusing!

  27. Image for Khadija Khadija

    Ohhh, thanks for this list. Good ideas. I have a hard time passing up wooden coffee tables. I can make them into benches or stack them to put books on or use them at the dinner table. I love beautiful dishes too. And baskets and teapots.... but I don't let myself buy too much anymore. :)

  28. Image for Graham Graham

    Right now it's blue and white porcelain and vintage bed linen with lace trim and I'm a sucker for things that need to be "rescued." Much of my "fine jewelry" comes from garage sales. I got two great Amber necklaces for a dollar each at one and a Bakelite one too. And like Donnie, anything unique and amusing! If it makes me happy, it'll find a new home.

  29. Image for susan b susan b

    Not a yard sale, but in winter its the next best thing..... I got a HUGE white ironstone tureen at Goodwill on Sunday. All pink tags were reduced to 49 cents. I had seen it earlier in the week for $14.99 less 50% - so I knew it would be on the Sunday sale! Woo Hoo!!! Shout out to my sister for battling the crowd so I could read a book :) And for $5.00 I'm always up for those old fishing baskets and for some reason - around here no one keeps handmade pottery, so I grab it!

  30. Image for Terri Wilson Godfrey Terri Wilson Godfrey

    Love your post! I live in two places, Massachusetts and West Palm Beach, FL. Every Saturday I go out with a friend and we do yard and estate sales, and yes, of course, LUNCH! The contrast in décor from New England to down South is very interesting. I've decorated our condo in FL with such a variety....Spanish, Asian, cottage, and more. A lot of what I find in the south one would never find in Mass. For $5.00 I've bought a solid wood desk in Florida, a wrought iron plant stand, a 36 x 48 painting in an ornate gold and black frame, a small dresser, and a rattan étagère similar to what's found at Pier One. I don't find these bargains every week but when I do it's a fabulous find! Love your creativity, Kari.

  31. Image for Debbie from MountainMamaOnline Debbie from MountainMamaOnline

    I love buying vintage glasses at yard sales - and furniture. And baskets. And linens. And paintings. What else? Anything that can become a planter. Garden ornaments. birdhouses. Did I mention I love a good yard sale? And I work at a ski resort. Your definition was spot-on, my friend!! xo

  32. Image for Terri @ Designing Wilder Terri @ Designing Wilder

    My yard sale weakness is old silver for sure! I never attended a real tea party in my life, but I do love the thought of it! I had to pass by a sale earlier today because I didn't want to be late for an appointment, then it started snowing and the became not so enamored with the thought of going back. Maybe tomorrow!!!

  33. Image for Karen Karen

    This has nothing to do with what I would buy at a yard sale for $5.00, but do you have somewhere on your site the DIY for the recipe for Cranberry Bread on the wall? My cherry pie and apple pie are the hit of EVERY Baptist and Holy Roller pie fellowship. Grown, married men have donated $100.00+ to the missionary fund for one of my pies! It would be a total "hoot" to put one of those recipes on one of my walls in my kitchen. Thank you in advance.

  34. Image for Nancy Nancy

    What timing! It's Antiques Week here in Texas (Round Top, Warrenton, Marburger Farms, etc) and now I know what to look for in addition to my usual favorites! Can always use the inspiration............Thanks!

  35. Image for Cindy in Oklahoma Cindy in Oklahoma

    I've been looking for old bread boards at little junk shops around town. Can't wait for garage sale season to see what I can find. Books, bears and bottles used to be my weaknesses...especially if they were priced below $5! hmmmm..Do you think I have some sort of weird obsession with the letter B? haha!

  36. Image for Liz Thomas Liz Thomas

    Yes, I agree with all seven, I would add old silver trays, pale blue-ish green bottles, wooden boxes/crates,and Christmas trees (that live in my workshop year round like a forest), just loved reading everyone's responses!!!

  37. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    I'm probably one of the most practiced yard "salers" around! I met one new friend when first moving into this area, and we yard "saled" as often as allowable with our young kids! This helped me learn nearby Dallas streets really well! We would occasionally take our kids along (when little), but the older they got, the more they whined ~ afraid to be SEEN by anyone who knew them! Now, "time changes things" and these same girls love their own yard sale hunting! More recently my favorite things to seek are pretty much the same as yours, plus "anything even close to being Christmas" that our Church ladies can embellish, or change (a little or a lot!), for our Annual Bazaar! Because longtime rules apply here ~ we can't just re-sell! I also look for very small frames, art canvases, vintage toy vehicles, buttons, lace, tiny glass bottles, original paintings "that speak to me," and much more (I have to stop here!), mostly to use in my small & seasonal "Art & Craft Fairs" business! Hugs and Smiles, ka ~ Hope all this talk doesn't cause traffic ~ and competition ~ to surge! Seems yard sales are already a really favorite & fun pasttime of many! kj

  38. Image for Ann C Ann C

    I gave up garage saling last year because I was trying to downsize. But you have put the bug back in my mind. I would spend $5 on treadle sewing machine drawers. I use them to keep things in and hung on a wall as shelves. Baskets, especially if they have lids. Vintage table clothes. Bowls. Especially white ironstone bowls. Large like tureens. I wish I understood what creates our love of particular things. You croquet sets me bowls. If you ever read or know what it is I'd love to read about it. Thanks for sharing.

  39. Image for susan yoder susan yoder

    The problem non-garage salers have is this: they don't understand the thrill of the chase. Yep. You have to enjoy going to sales, you have to have patience and more than anything perseverance is the key. You may look for years before you find that gem for the price you can afford, but what happens in between is AMAZING. It's all the finds you run across without ever knowing you need them...Oh ya, I'm totally, happily hooked. ;-) And I can't wait until they start popping up in My area. I even built my home in an old established, wonderful garage sale habitat!

  40. Image for Tania Tania

    What a great list! I would totally buy every single one of those things you mentioned... except for baskets... I don't know what my deal is but I can't seem to see the possibility in most of the ugly ones! I love old books too... and plain white Madonna's or Mary statues... they can't have any color though, just plain white :o) Tania

  41. Image for Patricia Patricia

    How I loved reading this post. When i was first married, I allowed myself $5 of go-crazy money and I always headed for the local flea market. My favorite $5 find was a grocery bag full of 'crystal' depression glass tea cups rimmed in silver no less - all 12 for $5. I still use them and set them out alongside my finest Waterford. Hankies ( make great valances), wooden cutting boards and boxes, cake stands, white velvet textiles ( can never have too much white velvet ), crystal doorknobs and chandelier drops, and I'm a fan of odd nickel plated trays, urns, sugar bowls etc that look amazing spray painted white or mirror silver. :) such a happy post. I want to go junking now!

  42. Image for Gwen Gwen

    I haven't been to a yard sale in years and years but once I went to the church one and got a whole bag of all the strawberry shortcake dolls in great shape for about $2. I suppose with inflation that would be $5!! My girls played their hearts out but they were for my red haired freckled niece to have for her children. You guessed it. She didn't have girls. Has always lived in major cities and now in Europe so she didn't need my bag of for her future posterity Strawberry Shortcake dolls!! Thank goodness I let my girls play with all of them!!!

  43. Image for Julie Julie

    Absolutely YES, YES, YES to all 7 of these awesome finds. I do it all the time and love every single item I buy....after all, it's the possibilities of every piece. that keeps us going...right? ;)

  44. Image for ananda ananda

    OMG i knew i would get into trouble whenever i visit! now i am going yard sailing tomorrow morning!! please come join me! ;) happy easter karianne! <3

  45. Image for Kay Kay

    Stationery (note cards, note pads, anything paper!), new condition toys and school supplies for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, fabric. Oh, my heart is beating fast! Love garage saling!

  46. Image for Pendra Pendra

    Now that the snow is gone, I am looking forward to Garage Sales, as they are called here. I love anything I can look at and see it have a new purpose.

  47. Image for Ashley Ashley

    I also look for baskets (wire, woven, etc) or really any larger storage containers, Christmas ornaments, mirrors and frames, and definitely linens like you said. Fabric is so expensive anymore! Also, we collect interesting artwork so that's always a plus. Xo

  48. Image for Emmajune Emmajune

    Sipping coffee and watching the clock right now, Yard Sales at 8, 9 and 10 today ! Wohoo ! I love the hunt ! I have come home with a boxful of treasures when I only had $3.00 ! My favorites are vintage linens, cameras, clocks , mirrors, childrens books, drinking glasses, aprons ... anything old that reminds me of long gone parents and grandparents homes. Happy Yard Saling everyone !

  49. Image for Liz Liz

    I cannot walk past white, glass or silver jugs big or small no matter i love them. They become vases, centrepieces and the small (tiny) ones individual gravy boats. Plus they just 5 look lovely sitting on open shelves. We don't seem to have good a "yard sale" here in Oz as our American cousins though...sigh maybe i ahould emigrate lol Tell you what after reading this and the comments im going to be busy next Garage/Yard sale. Thank you all.

Comments are closed.