Decorating can be tough, but here are some great creative decorating shortcutsNothing makes my heart beat like a yard sale sign.

Especially one that says “MULTI-FAMILY.”

And you know what goes perfectly with yard sales and signs and heartbeats?

A yard sale decorating short cut.

This week, I’m sharing 14 days are full of tips to make your decorating life a little easier.

We’ve discussed the one thing every lamp needs and how to transform a builder-grade door for under $10 and an easy way to makeover furniture and a unique hardware DIY. and budget centerpiece ideas and how to pick paint colors that make your room smile and how to decorate with thrift store finds and a 10-minute project for each season.

And today?

We are shortcutting it through yard sale signs across the country.

Here are 8 yard sale must-haves for under $5.00.

8 Things to buy at a yard sale for under $5

Let’s start with this.  Did you know yard saling is an actual word?

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.

And then?  You pack up your car and close the door and head towards the next sign because hope springs eternal.

I hoped and this is what I found.

Great find #1, bicycle wheels

Bicycle wheels

This might look like a bicycle wheel, but really?

It’s a possibility waiting to happen.

You can make a clock.

Or a chalkboard calendar.

Or decorative art that looks like you are super athletic.

White dishes are also a great find at yard sales

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 great yard sale find, in varying shapes and colors


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.

Keep an eye out for license plates as well, the decorating possibilities are endless

License Plates

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

They look like art waiting to happen.

Hang them in rows on the wall.

Lean them up in bookcases.

Collect all 50 and never have to play the license plate game again.

Also keep an eye out for old windows- there are so many projects for them

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.

Oversize bins are another key yard sale find

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.

Watch for linens as well at your next yard sale day


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 another great item to look for at a yard sale

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  And now a word from our 14-day shortcut sponsor.

You can read the reviews of my first book, So Close To Amazing, here.

You can pre-order it here.

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


  1. Image for Barbara Barbara

    All of these are great! And some yard sales are awesome and some are not we have found.....but it's exciting to anticipate that you will find a great treasure! Pre-ordered your book- can't wait!!

  2. Image for Taste of France Taste of France

    FACEPALM. I wheeled two antique racing bikes to the garbage pickup just days ago. When I looked hours later, they were still there (unlike most of the stuff I put out, which gets snatched up within minutes). Had I only thought of a clock then..... As for sheets, I have been buying up antique linen and cotton sheets for our vacation rentals. Especially the ones that are elaborately embroidered. Those that aren't perfect--they have a spot or a tear--get used at home, or I cut around the blemishes and make pillowcases, because antique pillowcases are hard to find. To buy such high-quality cotton or linen would cost a fortune new. I also sewed together pairs of sheets to make duvet covers. Two duvet covers for €8.

  3. Image for Julie Julie

    As a participant in both kinds of yard saling, I find the kind where you find a treasure, the best! I was walking away from one not too long a go, but, decided to look in the small junk box, lo and behold I saw a bottle stopper, thought to myself...pretty little thing. I got home and looked more closely, it was marked "sterling" and "Tiffany", not bad for .50 out of the junk box! Thrill of the hunt, I seem to have 2-3 duds for every great sale!

  4. Image for Marti Marti

    Love this list. I've also found the best stuff at the worst looking sales. Two large galvanized tin tool caddies for a couple of dollars each this summer!

  5. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Have you ever been to the World's Longest Yard Sale? It's at the beginning of August every year on Highway 127 starting in Alabama all the way through Michigan. I haven't been in a few years, but it's so amazing - especially down in the Crossville, TN area where it's a mix of yard sales and giant flea markets. I used to rent a Uhaul and take a van full of women. We'd stay in a different hotel every night and spend our days laughing and having the best adventures and meeting the most interesting people. I'm like you, my heart beats a little faster when I see a sign that says multi family yard sale!

  6. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    I used to frequent yard sales on a regular basis. But, I'm in the purging season of my now, I only go occasionally. I have found quite a few treasures at thrift stores, however! Your bicycle wheel is my favorite of all time! ;)

  7. Image for Patricia Patricia

    Every year our high school rents a couple of those 'storage' pods and then they send out flyers into the neighbor encouraging folks to clear out their garages and basements and closets and drop off their 'stuff' in exchange for a tax donation receipt. The high school volunteers then organize a fabulous yard sale and the finds are incredible. My favorite $5 finds have been Bowling balls turned into garden gazing balls, a pair of vintage ice skates, and a whole bag full of red/ black plaid shirts! Everybody comes out a winner in this event!

  8. Image for Colleen Colleen

    This post/list is so close to my heart. I could not decorate without yard sale and flea market finds. (I love your explanation of the word yard saling, by the way :) ) Those signs along the side of the road definitely make my heart skip a beat and I even have my kids doing it now. Thanks so much for sharing at #HomeMatters Linky Party!

  9. Image for PJ PJ

    I thought I had read every one of your posts, but somehow I missed that bicycle wheel clock which I absolutely love. Our local church rummage sale is this coming weekend. I will be looking for the "goodies" that you mentioned. You continue to be so amazing!

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