EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE GARAGE SALE WORLD
When you need to furnish a house, top to bottom for ten bucks, ATTEND EVERY GARAGE SALE in your area both Saturday and Sunday. Stay away from THRIFT SHOPS. They are really costly these days. People who put stoves and fridges on their lawn are desperate to have someone haul them away for ten bucks.
WHEN DO I WANT TO GIVE MY OWN Garage Sale?
A.. NEEDING CASH FAST is the main reason. Moving to a new home and wanting to lose all that junk you cannot PAY TO HAUL AWAY is the SECOND most common reason, but general house cleaning or reorganization can lead homeowners into rethinking about either selling or keeping old or unused items.
B. Only have a garage sale when there are enough items to be disposed off, otherwise it will just be a waste of your time and energy. the exception though is joining another garage sale with a neighbor or friend.
C.. Do have a garage sale whenever you feel the need to get rid of amassed unwanted stuff and make a little extra on the side Best time to have a Garage Sale is GOOD WEATHER., NOT COLD NOT HOT.
Weekends are the best, especially saturdays since most bargain hunters have this day set just for such occasions.. Although setting your sale date on a holiday may sound ideal, most people that would normally be out bargain hunting might be out of town vacationing instead. . Set a time frame for your sale, ideally, longer hours means more potential customer, but be realistic with yourself (do you really want to have a sale from 7am to 7pm?). State your allotted time and include this info on your flyers and ads to avoid unnecessary conflicts with early birds and late comers (you dont really want people knocking on your door at 6AM or during dinner do you?) Before the sale:
It may sound obvious, but most people forget the key ingredient to a succesful garage sale: ADVERTISE. Make it easy for people to find your sale rather than relying on luck. A simple ad with the location, day and date of the sale would be tremendous help in getting more bargain hunters find you. Use signs and banners to advertise your garage sale, post them where allowed (check with your local authority) throughout your surrounding neighborhood. Create flyers for your garage sale Make a checklist of your items for sale (including description and asking price) . Clearly mark your items with price labels to avoid redundant price questions and confusion during the actual sale. During the sale: We can't stress this enough. but preparedness is key to everything. Have all the little details ready to avoid hassles and lost sales such as having the following items ready
1.. Have plenty of change (coins, dollar bills)
2.. Decide early on if you want to accept cash only or checks too
3.. Have some extra plastic bags for small or fragile items, it isn't
necessary but will make it more convenient and conducive for buyers to
buy your stuff.
4.. Have a power outlet, extension cords or batteries ready in case you
have items that may require testing prior to selling (ie. toys, radios,
power tools, etc.)
5.. Have a calculator handy to easily account for item totals or change.
6.. Have all your items tagged with price labels and keep your prices to
a nice round number. also don't forget, this is a sale not a hard-sale
so be ready (and price flexible) for people low-balling your items --
you can always say no thanks.
7.. Presentation always has a hand to aexp successful sale, arrange
items in a logical order, keeping smaller things in containers on table
tops while having larger or bulkier items at ground level. place your
best items or items that sell easily towards the back to force your
buyers to walk through your stuff.
8.. For small items, it easier to sell them bundled with similar or with
other small items too ( stapler with a pack of staples or trinkets
bundled in fours)
9.. When selling high priced items, it is best to keep a printed product
listing or a magazine depicting the original value to justify your price
and also let your potential buyer know that they are getting a good
10.. Keep the location where you intend to have your sale clean and
isolated from other things in your house that are not for sale. the
front yard or garage is the best (hence garage sale). park your vehicles
clear off the driveway and position your items to be clearly visible.
not only will this prevent confusion, but it will be conducive to
passing lookers to stop by and check out your sale.
11.. Although it is easier to sell things as-is, doing some cleaning and
polishing beforehand will probably net you the price you want for the
item as opposed to selling just junk. After the garage sale:
a.. Be sure to remove all the signs you have posted.
b.. Instead of throwing out unsold items, donate them to your local
charity. Or for fun, put them in a box by curb with sign.
NOW, HOW TO CONDUCT A SALE
Have enough change on hand to make change for at least 2 $20's early in
the morning while still having enough left over to make it through the
rest of the morning. If you do not have enough change, tell the person
that you can hold the items while they make change for their money at a
local store. If you are going to sales yourself, please don't try to use
a $20 at 8am. Stop before hand and break it, so that people aren't
trying to scramble for change at the last minute.
Never leave the money unattended. If it's just you doing the sale,
use a fanny pack for change, and empty it several times through out the
day of big bills. If someone hands you a big bill, repeat to them what
it is, and leave it setting out until they get their change back. I have
had people try to rip me off this way before by telling me they handed
me a $20, when they only handed me a $10, so that I'm paying them to
take the item if I go for it! So guess what. I DO NOT. The experienced
cashier has the BILL THEY PAID on top somewhere. Maybe a paper
weight if wind. Makes change. Does this with both of you focusing on
the movements of hands.
I've also had people who have shown me a $20, asked if I had change for
it, and then put the money away while I checked. They then wanted change
for a $20 they never gave me. Keep the bill on top with a paperweight.
To do that you must GET the bill first. And as they may have friends
trying to distract you, have multiple people helping. If you ever have
to leave the cash table, take the box with you.
If you don't have tables, borrow some. I don't stop at sales where I
have to squat down and dig through a pile of stuff dumped on a blanket
or tarp or, heaven forbid, the dirty ground. I don't mind it when toys
or stuffed animals or large items are on the ground, or even boxes of
books & shoes and what not. But at least have a few tables for the
clothing. Something to hang some stuff on is nice, too, but that's
usually harder to pull off. You can also make tables out of plywood, old
doors, and saw horses. Get creative, but have something to set items out
If you have a garbage bag filled with unwashed, dirty, stained clothing,
don't expect me to dig through it and find a treasure.
That means if you have some stained stuff, put it under the
nicer stuff. If all the stuff on top of the table is gross &
stained, I'll be much more likely to think ALL of it is that way, and I
won't take the time to look through the rest.
Don't label the sale as something it isn't. If you have a card table and
a rack of clothing, don't tell people it's a huge sale. It's not. It's a
tiny sale. Microscopic. If you only have a few things, you might
consider asking some neighbors, family, or friends if they want to go in
together for a sale.
Arrange like stuff with like stuff- don't mix housewares in with
clothing, don't set dog food dishes on top of christmas decorations,
don't put women's clothing mixed in with kids clothing. I understand (as
everyone does) that during a sale, clothing & items are transported
around the sale and set down in different locations. During slower
periods, take the time to re-tidy things. Change some of the top things
around to show them off better, refold the clothing, etc.
If you have a picture frame, glass plates, mirrors, etc, don't set them
laying flat. They'll reflect the sun right into someone's eyes. Also
don't lean them at an angle towards the sun, for the same reason. The
best place is under shade of some sort, someplace where they will not
reflect into the sun. People won't buy what they can't see.
If you have an item you don't want, and it's not brand new, chances are,
other people are not going to want to pay full price for that item.
Price items accordingly. Some things just don't retain thier value. For
example, 7 years ago, you could sell a beanie baby for $20. Now? I
wouldn't pay more than a quarter. They're not worth anything anymore. An
item is only worth what someone is willing to pay.
Consider doing a special towards the end of the day- everything left
after 4pm is half off, all clothing is $.50, stuff a bag for a buck, all
books 8/$1, etc. Think of it this way- you'll sell stuff that you don't
want anymore, and make some money off it. Otherwise, it will just get
boxed up and sit for another sale, or be carted off to Goodwill, etc.
When you advertise online, you have the freedom to post a free ad that
is as big as you want. Take advantage. List what items you have, list
LOTS of items you have, where it's at, directions, things like whether
or not you'll have drinks or food available, whether or not there are
several people going in on one sale, etc. I see so many posts on my
group that look like this:
Sale, friday the 19th from 8-5,
1140 Eastwood drive. lots of stuff.
Now, personally, I like to know that the place I'm going to has something I might want. I'm MUCH more likely to
go to a sale that reads more like this:
Big 4 family sale, Friday the 19th from 8am until 5pm. We're located at
1140 Eastwood Drive, which is just behind Taco Bell. We're the 2nd house
on the left, past the apartment complex.
We have kids clothing available- toddler girls size 2-3T, boys size 4/5,
and girls size 6/6x. Some winter stuff, lots of outgrown summer clothes,
and some nice Christmas outfits. We also have kids shoes in sizes
toddler size 5, boys size 11, and girls size 12.
Some housewares items, including Wilton cake pans. Antique kitchen
tools. Also available Precious Moments plates, collectible figurines,
and more. Cold drinks available for $.50/each, in a can.
We welcome early sales, but please know we will not be completely
set up until 8am, so if you come early, you might not get to see everything.
------------------------ See the difference? Take the time to let us
know what you have, and that you have put a lot of thought into the
sale. A last minute sale post will still get you some business, but the
more details, the better.
Leave some room between the tables. During busy times, you might have 2
or 3 people trying to look at the same table, or tables that are back to
back. If they don't have room to get through, chances are, they'll go
around to the other side, and skip that part all together.
Get an idea of how much things go for before pricing larger items, such
as old video game systems. I've seen play station 1's at a RECENT sale
(within the past month) that was selling for $100, used, with 1 game.
You can buy the PS2 brand new for $150, and the PS1 new for under $100,
and the single game does not make it worth the extra money to buy it
used. Price accordingly. You can usually get a good idea on eBay,
however- your items usually won't sell at the same price, so mark it a
bit lower. (Recent in this case was in 2005 when I first wrote this- but
the advice still stands! Even more so now that tech toys are even more
popular- always look around first and price your items accordingly!)
If an item is broken, price it accordingly, and mark on it that it's
broken. In my early yard sale days, I was niave, and bought a cordless
phone still in the box for $5. I thought I made out great. Too bad it
wasn't the same phone inside the box, it was one that was probably 15
years old, one of the earliest cordlesses available, and it didn't even
work. Bravo to the people who scammed me, but not all people will be as
nice as to just toss it in the trash, and you may have to deal with a
Do not accept a check. You don't know the person, and you certainly
don't know that the check is good, or even a check on an existing
account. You will get burned on at least 1 check, and likely never see
the money from the person who writes it. I can not stress this one
enough. I know far too many people who have gotten checks that wound up
costing THEM lost money when the check bounced, and caused other things
to bounce with it. Tell the person you will gladly hold the item for an
hour so they can get cash and come back, or that you would be glad to
hold the item with a deposit until the following week (if you are
Label, label, label your items! I hate constantly asking someone what
the price is for that item. Colored dot stickers with a pre-made poster
with the matching prices for those colors is an easy way to price stuff.
Large signs saying things like, "All clothing, $.50/piece, 2 piece
outfits $1, etc". If you have multiple people, use initials on the tag,
so there is no confusion later on the money.
Know your prices. Chances are, people will try to swap tags to lower
prices for themselves. My MIL tried to sell a $350 prom dress once for
$20. A girl swapped the tag for $5, and kept acting all excited about
what a great deal it was, and how she couldn't believe her luck, because
that's all she had left. Too bad we saw her switch the tags- had she
asked, we likely would have given her a deal, but trying to cheat at it
Be flexible in pricing, and be willing to barter down. If you have an
object you want $10 for, and won't go lower, then price it up at $12 or
$13, so that there is room to barter down. You may get the extra out of
it, and you may not. Serious yard "sailors" are turned off by sales
where bartering isn't accepted at all, though.
Make sure to DATE any signs you post. Don't put just the day (Ie: Fri &
Sat), put the date with it. So many people just leave their signs up
after the sale, so come the following weekend, people are chasing sales
that are no longer there.
Also on the note of signs, make sure they are large, and that you use a darkly contrasting color in THICK lines to write out the sign. Keep signs short & simple- people driving around usually don't take the time to stop and read through a page worth of items at the sale. Use arrows- big, dark arrows. These can be used to point people right to a sale. Having a sign with just an address isn't bad, but not everyone who is out knows your neighborhood enough to know exactly where that address is. For the sign itself, use a bright, eye catching color, such as neon pink, or bright yellow. Balloons are always a good way to help catch the eye, as well. If you do add balloons, go with Mylar- they'll catch the sun, and attract the eye!
That brings up another point- be kind & courteous to our
environment- remove your signs! Remove all of them at the end of the
sale, and leave nice clean corners in it's place.
I hope that helps everyone when setting up a sale this season. These are all things that I, as a very avid yard "sailor", look for when I stop at sales. (Most of this article was found elsewhere online)
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