There’s an event that comes around twice a year that I make SURE I attend. The Visiting Nurse Association hosts their famous VNA Rummage Sale in the spring and fall at the Fairgrounds in Far Hills, NJ, and it is the largest rummage sale in NJ. My husband found about it two years ago when he was working in the area, and since that first time we decided to check it out, I have been completely hooked.
Now when I say that this affair is massive, I mean MASSIVE! They have tents and tents full of every item imaginable, in every category you can think of from holiday, clothing, household items, antiques and tools in VERY affordable prices. But wait, it gets even better! All proceeds go towards the health care of families in need. This is how it works; the VNA recruits volunteers, receives donations, then every single donated item they sell goes towards helping change lives. It’s a win/win for everyone.
Now if you want to check out this sale next spring, here are some tips I’ve gathered over the years to make your trip a little more successful.
Tip #1: Go early!
The early bird definitely gets the worm, and if you want the better items offered at this sale, you better get there early. Both early in the day, and earlier in the weekend. Also, this is a town wide event that attracts thousands of people, so parking is very limited. In order to avoid spending an hour roaming around looking for parking (been there), get there before the sale opens to get into their free parking lot.
Tip #2: Mind the weather.
The VNA hosts this event rain or shine on the Far Hills fairgrounds, so be prepared for a day of shopping in less than desirable conditions. If it is scheduled to rain or has rained up to a couple days beforehand, wear shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy. I learned this the hard way and had to throw out one of my favorite pairs of flats.
Tip #3: Make a list of what you are looking for, and sort it by order of importance.
Things go fast at these types of events, so think of what you want the most and head to that section first. This year I really wanted to pick up a pair of bikes for my husband and me, and because we didn’t get right to the front of the line, (Yes, there will be lines) I missed out. Well, it also didn’t help that one single person literally claimed dibs on every single adult bike available! Not cool.
Tip #4: Bring cash!
While it isn’t exactly necessary, it helps if you bring cash along with you. The VNA has credit card machines in every station, but it always gets you onto your next item hunt a little faster if you don’t have to wait on a receipt to sign. Plus, they have a snack stand that will only take cash. If you plan on staying the whole day, be sure to check out the food they serve there.
Tip#5: Take a large, heavy duty shopping bag along with you.
Depending on where you found parking, (You may be blocks and blocks away) you will want to bring a large shopping bag along to help keep your hands free and keep you from making trips back and forth to your car to put away your purchases.
Tip #6: Leave your haggling skills at home!
While this won’t be the case in about every other garage sale, flea market, and rummage sale, you will not need to be haggling for better prices here. Because everything for sale has been donated, you don’t need to worry about the item’s owner adding sentimentality to the prices. Plus, you’re helping out a charity! Bargaining for even lower prices will be in bad taste.
Tip #7: Look carefully at each item in the category tent you’d like to make a purchase inside of.
Because there are countless items available for the picking, and limited space to display each item, you will need to be a little more diligent in your hunting. Plus, don’t look at everything at its’ face value, you could bring an outdated item back to life with a little polish, paint job, or even by a good cleaning job!
Tip #8: Think long term.
Because the prices will be soooo good, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to think ahead with some of your purchases. Start thinking of things you will need for your home in the future, gift ideas, and even start your Christmas shopping early!
Tip #9: Happy Hunting!!
It really is tons of fun looking for your own little (or big) treasures. I’ve collected quite a few things the past couple of years, and things I never would have been able to find in stores. I’ve even been lucky enough to find matching china and glassware that I have accidently murdered in a dishwashing gone bad!
I hope to see you all next year on line to find some amazing treasures. (Unless you are looking for a bike… in that case, I’ll be keeping an eye on you!)
Where do you like to shop for your best bargains? Do you have your own tips? Share with us, we’d love to hear from you!