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REI Garage Sale: How It Works & Tips to Help

When REI opens it’s warehouse to members, the event begins before the doors open at 10:00 am.  Here are a few tips I learned at my first Garage Sale:

1. Get to REI early.  Nick and I arrived at 10 am, and there was already a crowd of people surrounding the front door.  Once the doors open, you receive a numbered ticket in the order you arrive.  I was #162.

2. If you are around #162, you have about an hour and a half to leave the store, get breakfast, or run around the parking lot.  Actually, limit your time to an hour just in case.  We stayed in REI until our number was called, with the exception of leaving for 15 minutes (I had to find something to eat).  Luckily, I brought tea in my thermos, so I was happy sitting around and drinking tea.

3. If you choose to stay in REI, grab a few books and magazines for entertainment.  Playing in the tents is frowned upon.

4. Once your number is called, stay in the warehouse until you are completely finished shopping (a few poor souls left and were not allowed back in).

5. Be nice.  There’s no use in pushing and grabbing.  It’s just stuff.


Overall, the sale was a success.  We were at REI until 1:00 pm, but I walked away with a Swiss Army travel wallet (for about $12), and a pair of polarized Native sunglasses (for about $20 – these are originally around $100!).  I did have to “fix” the sunglasses, however, which is why I got such a deal; the nose cushions were missing, so I found a pair of similar glasses that were completely broken and replaced the cushions).

Nick walked away with even more: Asic running shoes for about $20, a Colombia travel hat for about $12, a North Face shirt for about $13, and a Thule cargo net for $13.

Good deals, but I know REI like the back of my hand now.  I’m looking forward to the “search for gear” to be over and the trip to start!

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