Are you in the middle of your spring cleaning? Maybe you are getting ready for college kids to come back home for the summer. Maybe you just decided that it would be nice to be able to actually pull your cars into the garage again instead of using it like a giant storage unit! Whatever your particular motivation might be…maybe having a good, old-fashioned garage sale is the answer. If you have never had the pleasure of having a garage sale before, you might think to yourself, “Well how hard can it be?”. The answer to that kind of depends on how organized you are and how motivated you are. There are definitely some steps you can take to help things go more smoothly and have a more successful sale overall. Let’s visit some of those, shall we?
1. General Planning: Before you get too carried away, it’s always a good idea to take stock of the items you would like to get rid of. How much do you have? If you just have a small to medium amount of goodies, maybe asking some of your neighbors, family members, or friends if they have things they would like to contribute would be in order. It’s hard to draw many people to your sale without ample items for them to peruse. Plus, the overall process is more fun if you share! If in the end, there doesn’t seem to be enough for a good sale, maybe consider donating your things to Goodwill or another similar charity. The tax deduction you get may be more than what you would get trying to sell. Another option if you have just a couple of bigger items you would like to get rid of is listing on Craigslist or Offerup or a similar site and just selling those items that way.
2. Organize Your Items: Establish a spot in your home where all items for sale will be put prior to the sale. Obviously if you have a garage with space in it, this is the best spot! I know, duh…right!? About a week before, start moving all your items to this spot. Keep your items sorted as you go: Clothing together, baby things together, furniture together, etc. This will make setting up go much faster and smoother. If you have other people contributing items, give them a firm deadline to when you need the items in place so you can get them sorted and ready to go.
3. Cleaning Up and Pricing: Once you have gotten all your items together, it’s time to clean them up and price them. Yes, clean them up. Things sell better if they aren’t presented under three years of dust! Once everything is sorted and cleaned up, start pricing. If you go to garage sales regularly, you will have a pretty good idea of what things go for in your area. This varies greatly depending on the part of the country you’re in and sometimes even depending on the neighborhood you live in. If you haven’t been to one in a while, try and hit up a couple before you have yours. Try to remember that folks are looking for bargains at a garage sale so try not to price things emotionally. Be honest about what you think you could actually get for your items. You can just use a roll of painter’s tape for your pricing and this way, it won’t damage the finish on your items and can be easily removed. If you are putting together several items in a lot, like baby blankets, consider placing them in clear bags with the price for the lot on the bag. This will help avoid any confusion at your sale.
4. Plan the Layout: A couple of days before, think about how you would like to present your items. Make sure you have ample tables, etc. that you will need to set up your sale. Neat and organized sales where it’s easy to look through items and see what is actually there usually make a lot more money. Many people don’t like to have to paw through boxes of stuff looking for items. So try to make it as easy as you can for people to see the items you actually have.
5. Advertise: How you do this step can vary greatly depending on where you live. If you have community boards in your grocery and discount stores, hang signs advertising your sale a few days ahead of time. Mark clearly the date and time of the sale. Make sure your address is easily visible. Believe it or not, I have seen signs for sales where there is no address….it makes you pause and go, “hmmmm”! You can also take out a small classified in your local paper. They have a section just for garage sales. You can also advertise on some of the selling sites like Craigslist. Finally, place some signs around your neighborhood early the day of your sale. Make sure they are big enough to read from inside someone’s car and that the address and days are clearly marked.
Okay, those are my top five garage sale tips……I have had a few in my life, some more successful than others. The main thing is to be organized and plan ahead. Enlist some help and have fun! Whatever doesn’t’ sell can be donated and before you know it, you’ll be able to actually pull your car back into your garage again or have a room for your kidlet to come home to!
Now, what will you do next to love where you live?