Garage sale season is upon us! Before you commit to clearing your clutter for cash, ask yourself this one important question, and be honest:
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 answered, “Boy howdy, do I have enough!” go through the house gathering items to sell. Create an area for everything that’s “gotta go” and encourage family members to add things. The more, the merrier!
Here are my top ten tips for running a successful garage sale:
- Get other neighbors to join in. People are more likely to come if they can hit a handful of sales in a row.
- Advertise in your local paper, on Craigslist and facebook. Folks scan listings and plan their routes, so make sure they’ll find your sale. Photos are helpful, especially if you have big-ticket or unique items.
- 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. Most people read those signs from a moving vehicle!
- Price everything, and price it to sell. It doesn’t matter if you paid $10 and it’s practically new; if you’re not using it, the main goal is to get rid of it, not to recoup your cost. Use the computer to research prices.
- 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.
- Create “like with like” categories so people looking for tools will readily find them, books are together, holiday decorations are easy to see, and kitchen items have an area of their own.
- It pays to clean things. A damp microfiber cloth works miracles on dusty glassware, dishes, and decor.
- 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. BUT! It’s also ok to say “no” to a ridiculous offer. I’ve told people I will happily donate something rather than sell it for a foolish price.
- Make sure to have plenty of change on hand. I recommend $75 broken down like this: $28 in ones, $25 in fives, $20 in tens, plus $2 in quarters. People will give you a $20 bill for a $1 purchase.
- Have a check-out table and keep smaller, easy-to-steal items near you there. Sadly, sometimes people help themselves to things that are easy to pocket or highly desirable, such as collectibles, jewelry or video games.
After the sale:
- Schedule a charity pickup for leftovers the day after your sale. Promise yourself the stuff is NOT going back in the house. It’s time; let it go. However, sometimes it’s worth it to relist big-ticket items on Craigslist or other online venues if you want to take another shot at selling.
If possible, time your sale to coincide with another event in your neighborhood such as a festival, garden walk, or real estate open house. Anything that attracts people is great 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!
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