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Farm Auctions = DIY Heaven

I’m here to talk to you about a new experience I recently found out about.  The Farm Auction.  It’s not what you think.  They aren’t auctioning off the farm….okay maybe it is what you think.  Many times they do auction of the farm but that is not why people go.  It’s the items they are auctioning off to accompany the farm (and the farmhouse).

If you’ve ever been to Flea Markets you have seen the metal Milk Jugs that are being sold.  Rusted, dented ones can be sold for upwards of $70.  $70 for a rusted piece of metal.  Well if you ever go to an auction, I recently purchased a nice non-rusted one for $20.  I primed it, painted it, and stenciled my last name on it.  It currently sits outside my house as a silent sentinel letting people know we live here.  I wanted to get another Milk Jug to fix up for the blog and went to a local Flea Market.  It was there that I realized the mark-up that the sellers have.  I understand why they have a mark-up (they need to get paid too) I am just not willing to pay it if I know there is a cheaper option.

Old Rusted Milk Jug

So here is what to expect if you ever go to an Farm Auction:

1. Show up a few minutes early

You want to get there early and scope out the items.  Auctions go fast and when people start throwing prices around you want to know if you want anything in that box of junk or if you let others waste their money on it.  The most recent auction I went to, I saw some old windows that I loved.  You can check out the blog on those windows here.

Since I got there early, I had time to shop around.  I only wanted one of those many windows.  I saw more windows over by the fence away from the auction.  When the auctioning got to the windows they sold all ten of them for one price.  I didn’t want to bid since I didn’t need all those old windows (though they went for $6).  I knew that when they bid on those two windows leaning against the fence I would have a better shot.  Sure enough since I got there early and knew what I wanted I got the two windows for $2.  What a deal!

2. Figure out how to get you number and where to pay the cashier.

You have a number which is how you bid.  It’s not like Storage Wars where you can just nod.  If you buy an item they write down your number so you can pay for it later.  This is why you need to know where to pay the cashier.  Periodically someone will go give the list of who’s bought what to the cashier.  My husband had to work so we were only able to stay for a few hours.  Since we knew where to go, we paid and loaded up the truck in under five minutes.  Also if you pay but want to stick around to the end, you won’t need to wait around in the long line.


I feel like this is a little self-explanatory but before the bidding starts know how high you want to go.  My husband wanted a broken arc welder.  I did not want said broken arc welder.  He promised me he would not go above five for it.  When the bidding started and a few people started bidding higher and higher my husband held up his sign.  We got a broken arc welder for $10 (though he promises he can fix it).  He knew he could push the price but if we would not have discussed it before the bidding even started we might have ended up with scrap metal that we paid way too much for.

4. Trust the people around you but take time to put stuff in your truck.

You are at a farm auction.  Farmers are good people.  If you bought a ladder you do not need to immediately pick it up.  It can sit there for hours and no one will touch it.  However, it would be so incredibly easy to take someone that the person did not buy.  I bought a Singer Sewing Machine for $10.  There were plates balanced on top of it.  When I wanted to grab the sewing machine to leave I had to move the plates.  A person walking buy goes, “Need help putting the plates in your car?”  Everyone assumes that if you are moving it to your car you bought it.  You can trust the people around you but it is easy to steal, so maybe stop periodically and load up your truck. Which brings me to my final point.

5. Bring more money than you think you need and a way to bring it home. 

My husband has a nice truck but it has a short bed.  This makes it difficult to load it with things (even if you think you aren’t going to get anything big).  He decided to go with a buddy to an auction and they took his buddy’s truck.  His buddy’s truck does not have a tailgate.  You see where I am going with this?  My husband bought a bench grinder, they loaded it up but on the way home, it fell out of the bed.  A trailer would have made the trip a lot easier.  A waste of $10 is nothing in the long wrong but it sucked for the boys who had to pick pieces up from the road.  I broke my sewing machine made in 1902 for the same reason.  We only used one tow strap to hold it down and part of the wood flew off into the bushes.  It scraped up the side of the wood but I can fix it.

What's at a Farm Auction for me?

You will spend money.  I can guarantee it.  You think you won’t get anything but then you see that perfect piece that you know you can fix.  You know you can use it.  Trust me, there is a lot of junk.  But when you find that one piece of perfection buried in the junk you will become addicted to Auctions.

Final Thoughts:

If you want to go to a Farm Auction you can check out:  There are so many different items and each one is different.  Even if you walk away with nothing you will have fun.  PROMISE!  Let me know about your experience at farm auctions in the comments below.  You will not regret going!

Happy Thrifting!!