Thursday, May 28, 2009

Garage Sale Tips

The neighborhood garage sale is only a week and a half away. I've still got a lot to do to get ready. The flood in our basement slowed down my progress. But, now I'm ready to get back on track. Since any garage sale I've ever had has been a flop, I've been doing a bit of research on how to have a successful garage sale. Some of it I've learned from my own experience, some I've read and some I've learned at garage sales that I've gone to.

1. Post good garage sale signs. This is one mistake that we made during my last garage sale. Our signs weren't very good. Since this is a neighborhood garage sale, I know there will be shoppers in the neighborhood. Still, I'm not sure any of the neighbors on my street are participating, so I'm planning on making a sign to put at the end of the street to direct people to my house.

2. Price everything. I've been to several garage sales where items weren't priced. I find it annoying to have to ask how much each item costs. As a garage sale shopper, I'm more comfortable when things are already priced. I think it's smart to do the same when I'm hosting the garage sale.

3. If there are a lot of little items and you can't price each individual thing, label boxes or tables with the prices. For example, put a sign up that says "books - 4 for a $1".

4. Have plenty of plastic grocery bags on hand for customer purchases.

5. Have the kids run a lemonade stand or sell cold soda or water, especially on a hot day. I think this is a great idea for a neighborhood garage sale, where people will be walking around from block to block. I've been to neighborhood garage sales where I've wished I could find a cold drink somewhere. Likewise, I went to one in the fall a few years ago when it was quite chilly out. A family was selling homemade chili right out of their crockpot. It was a great idea and they actually had a line to buy the chili!

6. Start the day with plenty of change.

7. Be ready for early birds. When my neighbors had an estate sale last month, I was surprised at how many cars were already out there an hour before the sale started. I don't mind early birds. But, if you do, post a sign saying "no early birds" and be sure to put that in your newspaper ad.

8. Place a garage sale ad in the newspaper. Since I'm participating in a neighborhood garage sale, I don't need to do this. The church that organized it has already taken care of the advertising. If I were holding a garage sale on my own, I would definitely place an ad in the local paper.

9. Be reaslistic when pricing items. If your goal is to declutter and you simply want to get rid of things, then price your items to sell. As a shopper, I've left garage sales where things were priced to high. The garage sales that price used clothing at a higher price than what you could buy the new item for on clearance at a store always make me laugh.

10. But, don't give everything away for free, either. Someone once told me that things marked free are hard to get rid of. I've always had a "free" box at my garage sales and it usually goes untouched. I think this is because people assume that free items are defective in some way. If it's not defective, you should put a price on the item, even if you don't want much for it.

I'm hoping to declutter a lot at our garage sale. My son is excited to have a lemonade stand and hopes to sell a few old toys. My husband is ready to unload some computer stuff. The whole family is gearing up for a good day!

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