Garage sale season is upon us! Before you commit to having one, ask yourself this one important question, and be realistic:
Do I have enough to sell to make it worth my time and effort, or should I just donate everything and be done with it?
If you decide to proceed, be ruthless when going through the house looking for items to sell. Pick an area where you can gather everything that’s “gotta go” and encourage other family members to add to the pile.
Here are some tips for holding a successful garage sale:
- Signs should be big, easy to read, and neatly written. Quality signs signal a quality sale – half the success is in your marketing and advertising. And remember, people should be able to read signs from a moving vehicle!
- Get other neighbors to join in. People are more likely to come if they know they’ll be able to hit a handful of sales at the same time.
- Advertise in your local paper and on Craigslist. People scan the listings and plan out their route, so make sure they’ll find your sale. If you have some big-ticket items, include photos in your Craigslist ad.
- Price everything, and price it to sell. It doesn’t matter if you paid $10 and it’s practically like new; if you’re not using it, the main goal is to get rid of it, not to recoup your cost.
- Be willing to haggle. If you know you want $25 for something, either mark it, “Price Firm” or mark it $29 so you can come down and still get what you want.
- It’s also ok to say “no” to a ridiculous offer. I’ve sometimes told people that I’d rather donate something to a worthy cause than to sell if for what they’re offering me.
- Display items on tables; hang clothing on a rack/clothesline. People don’t like to stoop to the ground or rummage through messy piles of stuff.
- Put “like with like” so people looking for tools can easily find them, books are all together, holiday decorations are easy to see.
- It pays to clean things. A damp microfiber cloth works miracles on dusty glassware, dishes, and decor items.
- Make sure to have plenty of change on hand. I recommend $50 in ones, $30 in fives, $20 in tens, plus $5 in quarters. That should be enough to get you started. It’s amazing how many people will offer you a $20 bill for a $1 purchase.
- Have a check-out table set up, and keep smaller, easy-to-steal items near you on that table. I’m sorry to say, sometimes people try to help themselves to things that are either easy to pocket or highly desirable, such as collectibles, jewelry and video games.
- Schedule a charity pickup for leftovers the day after your sale. Promise yourself the stuff is NOT going back into the house. It’s time; let it go.
- List leftover big-ticket items on Craigslist if you want to take one more shot at selling.
Sometimes you can tie a sale in with another event in your area such as a festival, a garden walk, or a real estate open house. Anything that brings people to your neighborhood is a good thing when you’re having a garage sale.
The more effort you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. Make it a fun experience for people – offer treats, have some lively music playing, mix and mingle and even if it’s not true, act like you’re having fun! People are more likely to buy from someone with a smile on her face than from Ms. Grumpy McGrump.