7.27.2011

Katie's Unofficial List of 19 Garage Sale Tips

Over the years I've had the opportunity to help many family members and friends prepare for and put on garage sales. And I've found that it is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I love turning clutter into cash! I feel that I've been a part of some very successful sales. I've also done my share of shopping at garage sales.  So here are my tips...


1. Prepare & Purge. Approximately one month before the sale begin purging items from your home. Look at your belongings and ask the following questions:
    • What can I do without?
    • Is this item truly useful or do I love it and find it beautiful?
    • What can I sell that will bring the most money? (this is especially important if you're trying to raise money to buy something else or pay off debt)
2. Clean. Make sure all items are clean and well presented. No one, I repeat, no one is going to buy dirty clothes or clothes that are clean but all wadded up. If something needs laundered, get it done ahead of time.

3. Big Items. Have as many big items such as furniture, cars, garden tools, etc. in your sale as possible to help generate traffic.

4. Timing. Hold the sale the same weekend as nearby community sales or neighbor's sales if possible to help generate more traffic.



5. Collaborate. Consider holding the sale with other families. Pick the home with the location nearer the busy roadways if possible. This will mean that some of you will have to transport your garage sale stuff, but that's a fun little challenge to see how much you can fit in your car...haha! Check out these photos of us going to a friend's house one day.

6. Advertise. Place ads in the local paper and on Craigslist. Be sure you list big ticket items and give clear {and accurate} directions!!! (This may sound obvious but you'd be surprised that some people have trouble giving directions to their own home...)



7. Signage. Place highly visible signs at major intersections directing traffic to your sale at least the night before if not a few days in advance.



8. Bundles. When selling childrens' clothing, group like sizes/genders together and sell a whole bundle for $5 or $10.

9. Sort. Organize adult clothing by size and type (ex: all size 8 shirts in one pile), etc.

10. Organize. Group like items together just like a department store would. (All housewares together, all clothing together, all sporting goods together, etc.)

11. Price everything. If you don't want to price everything individually have signs on tables (everything on this table $1, etc.) Just be sure you know what you're charging for all items ahead of time. Not having a price decided on ahead of time erodes the buyer's confidence in you as a salesperson. Or...that's what I thought at some disorganized sales. But maybe I'm too judgemental...?

12. Offer bulk discounts. Also consider deals such as 25 cents each or 5 for $1.

13. DO NOT overprice. After all, you're going to the trouble to put on the sale, you do want to make some money, right? Price things in a way that they will actually sell. If you find yourself wanting to price something too high hoping that no one will actually buy it for that price, why on earth are you putting it out for sale anyways? Furthermore, people go to garage sales for bargains, so don't try to make a fortune off them. Besides, they're doing you a favor hauling your unwanted things away.

14. Start EARLY. Garage sale bargain hunters love to come early. If your sale starts at 8 a.m. people will probably begin arriving at 7 a.m. Be ready for them! (My mom once had people showing up for her sale while she was still in the shower...)

15. Draw Attention. Consider placing balloons or something else bright at your driveway. Also be sure to drag big items out by the road so that cars passing by will be able to tell you're having a sale.



16. Create Atmosphere. Have friends over, play music and sell cold drinks out of a cooler. You will create a fun, relaxing, refreshing atmosphere where people will be more apt to buy. If it's a hot day, set up lots of fans to cool the garage, etc. Or if it's cold, set up heaters and serve hot chocolate. This goes a long way! We once sold slices of pie and bowls of chili at a fall garage sale...



17. Work the Sale. If you're really trying to generate cash, your job is not just to sit still and collect money...you can get a friend/family member to do that. You need to work the sale {picture friendly but not too annoying used car salesman...} 



If you see someone glancing at something, go over and demonstrate it and explain what a great bargain it is. I recall Dave doing this to convince a middle aged man to buy his paintball gun and accessories. It worked!

18. Closing Time. Begin practically giving things away 1-2 hours before closing up to reduce the amount of stuff you'll have to deal with afterwards.

19. Cardinal Rule. NEVER under any circumstances bring the unsold items back into your house! This is the cardinal rule of garage saling. Anything leftover should be donated immediately.


Then you can come home and enjoy your decluttered spaces and celebrate with your money! Perhaps buy some home remodeling supplies for your next big project. Or you may even find that beautiful antique dresser you've been looking for while at Goodwill!

6 comments:

John Terry said...
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John Terry said...
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John Terry said...
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John Terry said...
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John Terry said...




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