Summer Clearance Cornerstones: 5 Things to Buy Before Autumn Arrives

By Chris Birk on 6 September 2010 5 comments

The apex of back-to-school anxiety, Labor Day, signals the unofficial end of summer.

But it's the start of a fleeting, beautiful season for students of saving: summer clearance.

End-of-summer sales are nearing full swing as the calendar turns to September. Retailers slash prices in a mad dash to clear shelf space in advance of the looming holidays. The final days of summer are a great time for consumers to grab a range of products at steep discounts.

Granted, some of these purchases put a premium on patience. Items like patio furniture, garden equipment and barbecue grills won't spend a ton of time outside the box before cold weather approaches. In that respect, the end-of-summer sale is an exercise in forethought, not to mention supply and demand. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to buy a gas grill in September than in the first few grilling days of June.

Still, implements of fire and flame aren't the only great bargains to be had as autumn nears. Here are a five other hot-ticket items at those summer clearance sales.

Patio Furniture

OK, this isn't markedly different from grills, but it's definitely worth mentioning. Patio tables, chairs, swings and the like tend to take a nose dive in price at summer's end. Fire pits are a bit iffy, mostly because they still get good use on those cool fall evenings. We'll stick garden equipment in here, too. Start making amends now for this year's poor tomato crop.

Swimming Gear

September sales are a great time to nab bathing suits, pool equipment, and other aquatic gear. Pick up a couple sets in preparation for next year's family vacation. Give your children some room to grow and purchase swim suits in larger sizes.

Linens and Things

You might hear it called a "white sale." Bedding, towels and other household linens are often on sale around the Labor Day holiday, thanks in part to the hordes of college students who require careful outfitting. It's also a great time to get beach towels.


Back-to-school sales start earlier than ever these days. There's so much competition in this tight space that consumers ultimately benefit big time when it comes to price points on technology essentials like laptops and computer accessories. It's also a great time for parents and other non-students to upgrade or to snatch up an early holiday gift.

Camping Gear

Stores like REI tend to feature deep discounts on camping and hiking items toward the end of summer. Keep next year's tentative vacation plans in mind when shopping. Depending on your location and climate, you might also find great deals on other outdoorsy products, from bicycles and sunglasses to fishing poles and kayaks.

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Guest's picture

i work for a major retailer. Patio furniture, grills, etc. go on clearance in mid july to early august, so if you waited for this article to shop, you are too late.

Chris Birk's picture

While you can definitely get a head start in mid-July or early August, I don't think it's too late to capitalize on end-of-summer sales. In fact, I've seen even steeper discounts at some of the Big Box stores in the last couple of weeks, making me wish I'd waited a bit longer to buy our new grill (which I purchased in mid-July).

Thanks for reading.


Guest's picture

Great, timely post. I love me some off-season shopping. I bought some inexpensive jeans and sweatshirts early this summer, and just picked up some shorts on clearance last weekend. I didn't think of the linens. I'll have to add sheets to the list along with the grill.

Guest's picture

Last year (end of Sept) hubby and I had been looking for a lawnmower. We managed to pick up an electric mower (removable battery) the reg. price was $450 and we offered the manager $150 (ended up settling on $180) all because it was a floor model and the store really didn't want to have to store it over the winter :) There are deals out there, you just have to keep your eye open, and know what you are looking for.

Guest's picture

in regards to electronics, if you can wait, I think Black Friday (day after thanksgiving) is the perfect time for electronics.