Barn sale tips for first-timers

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 9, 2011; 3:25 PM

If you're planning your first barn sale excursion, here is what to keep in mind:

- Make a list of anything specific you're looking for before you go. There's so much to see, it's easy to get sidetracked and forget your priorities.

- Bring measurements of the spaces you're trying to fill in your home and a tape measure to use when you're shopping.

- Have cash. Some barns accept only cash and checks; call ahead to confirm.

- Drive a big car whether you're in search of large pieces or not. You never know what you're going to find.

- Wear layers. Some barns don't have heat, and you may have to wait in long lines. In extreme weather, it can get very cold very fast.

- If you see something you love, buy it. Dealers don't have multiples of most antiques and vintage items. If you walk away from something, assume it will be sold before you go back for it.

- Go early. Serious shoppers arrive on the first day of the sale before the barn opens. No matter how early you get there, expect a line out the door and in front of the cash register.

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