The Art of the Garage Sale
All it is is “stuff.”
So why is it so difficult to get rid of it? Because there is always an emotional value attached and that is how we make or break a garage sale. There is definitely an Art to the Garage Sale and we don’t always understand it the first time around.
There is something very cleansing about a garage sale, but the social element is not to be missed. I can remember my first garage sale some time ago and there was a group of people termed “early birds” who would show up an hour before the stated time and be hovering outside your house and as you were setting up your tables. The term was apropos as they would bargain to buy your stuff for an amount less than the asking tag, so they could then scoot off to the flea market and resell their newly acquired merchandise. They were a special breed, all to their own.
The last few sales I have experienced didn’t have “early birds.” Just regular friendly people that were looking for something they may have needed or not, but at a reasonable price. So it is like a cocktail party at a friend’s house, where you may not know many people, but you find yourself mingling and sometimes making new friends. In our case, we met a lot of new neighbors from the surrounding blocks and that is fun.
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Gail’s Garage Sale To Do List
1. Over time assemble the items you want to sell in one area that is easily accessible (i.e. a spare room or part of the garage itself).
2. Price each item after you decide you will part with it. (This makes it so much easier than spending hours before the sale doing this under a time pressure.)
3. Collect large pieces of cardboard for making signs.
4. Pick your date. (There is no special way to figure this out, so make it convenient for yourself, but be sure the weather will be in your favor.)
5. Let your neighbors know you are having a sale. First as a courtesy, as there will be more traffic and crazy parking during the time of the sale; and second, they may want to have one too – and that will attract more customers if it is a multi-family sale.
6. Make sure your significant other or a friend is actually doing this with you, as there are times when you will have to leave the merchandise, and you don’t want to leave it unattended. Plus, someone has to organize lunch or snacks and beverages, as it can be a long day.
7. Make the signs ahead of time. (Make them eye catching and with letters as large as you can. Keep it simple; consider using your computer with a readable font; or print in block letters using large markers, preferably black.)
8. Scout out the best strategic places to put the signs for maximum visibility ahead of time and then place arrows (if necessary) on the signs at the last minute. Set the signs up the night before or before you set up your tables on the day of the sale. Be a good neighbor and remember to take the signs down. If you know a real estate person, you could ask to borrow their folding signs and set your sign on top.
9. Advertise on craigslist the night before the sale. If you make the listing earlier, make sure you make a change to the listing, the night before so your ad will go to the top of the list. Make the ad enticing and show photos of some of your items.
10. Organize yourself for the actual day of the sale (e.g., get tables, have at least $50 worth of change in coins and bills, wear a fanny pack or have some safe place to keep your money and to retrieve easily for making change, and have a chair or two to sit on.)
11. Allow two hours for set up the morning of the sale, depending on how much you have to sell. Be creative in how you arrange items. Be sure to keep the sun off items such as silver, CDs, vinyl records, tapes, etc.
People love to talk and exchange stories. And a lot of people that go to garage sales go often and love the outing. So don’t be SHY. Bring out that sunshine that you may have buried inside of you and have some fun with it. You will be amazed at how much fun it can be and how much money can be made from things that you may not think anyone would dream of buying. And the wonderful part is that you know that someone else is going to enjoy an item that you no longer need or want.
JUST A WARNING. The hardest part of the sale is pricing items. Because you have an emotional attachment to some of the items, it is natural to price them too high because of how you see their value (also you may have purchased an item originally and know the cost). Bargaining is part of the game.
$ MONEY TALK $
9 Ways to Make More Money at Your Yard Sale
If you’re ready to clear some clutter out of your house and make extra money in the process, then grab your price tags and a pen—it’s time for a yard sale!
Your odds of making more money increase if you do a little prep work rather than just sticking a “yard sale” sign on your front lawn. With a few extra touches, you could earn enough from selling your clothes, books and treadmill to finish off your $1,000 emergency fund or even pay off a debt!
Here are six ways to get the most money from your yard sale.
1. Keep a box handy.
Many people wait until the last minute to search their closets for items to sell. That causes stress and you may even overlook things that can be sold. Instead, keep a box in your garage marked “yard sale” throughout the year, and when you discover something that you want to sell, throw it in the box.
2. Clean up for more cash.
If you are selling a large item such as an elliptical or dining table, clean it up and make it look ready to use. Get rid of any dust or dirt. People are more impressed with items that look nicer and are willing to pay more for them.
3. Host a multi-family yard sale.
Ask neighbors, family and friends to join you for a multiple-family yard sale. Buyers are drawn to larger yard sales because they are more likely to find what they are looking for. And more foot traffic could mean more sales for you!
Mix some new ways of advertising—like Craigslist, your neighborhood association’s Facebook page and your personal Facebook page—with old-fashioned ways such as posting signs around the area. The more you get the word out, the more people you’ll have stop by to shop.
5. Name your prices.
Determine which items are common and which are rare and set prices accordingly. Paperback books may only bring 50 cents or so, but an autographed novel can fetch a higher price. For bigger items, know the minimum amount you’ll take for them and price them slightly above that so you have room to negotiate.
6. Offer package deals.
If you have similarly themed items, sell them together. Someone may not want to buy a set of weights for $50, but they might change their mind if you throw in workout DVDs or a yoga mat. You may even try a “bag fee,” where you give someone a shopping bag for $5 or $10 and they can take whatever they can fit into the bag.
7. Offer light refreshments.
Free cookies and lemonade will bring the customers around and put them at ease. They’ll be more likely to buy as a result.
EVERY DOLLAR BUDGET