Garage Sales: Tips From Having My Own
Every year I like to reorganize and clean out some things, so I always decide a garage sale is the way to go. Sometimes as I am preparing for it I start to doubt if it’s really worth the effort, but in the end I always end up being happy that I made some money and got rid of a few things that were taking up space in the house. I’m sure you remember from my previous post on downsizing, that we lost about 1,000 square feet in the past couple years, so you can see I really need to get rid of things because I don’t have the space anymore.
Pros and Cons to garage sales (in my opinion):
PROS: make some money, get rid of unwanted items, free up space in your house, meet the neighbors, you don’t have to transport items to be donated
CONS: a lot of effort (pricing items, bringing them out into the driveway and organizing them for the sale, spending hours waiting for people to come), you don’t always get what you think the items are worth, you don’t know who will be coming to your house, it’s mentally hard to let some items go (I have a hard time letting go of some baby items)
If you do decide that you want to have a garage sale, then here are some tips for you (and I’ve had plenty as I’ve moved seven times in the past 12 years):
1. Price Items:Do your research! Know what the item is worth. I use Amazon and eBay to check out the item’s value and know the market for it. You might feel bad later finding out you sold something worth $50 for $2. Also, if items are priced you have a place to start with negotiating. Big items are a MUST for pricing. Some small items you don’t care about as much can be made up on the fly.
2. Organize In A Timely Manner: It takes a few days to a few weeks to prepare fully. You need to search for items, organize them, research and price items, and prepare to get them put out the morning of. It seems the most traffic is early on since people like to be the first to get there as not to miss out on great items and deals. There are some almost “professional garage sales shoppers” out there. They know what they are in search of, how to go about getting a great deal, and the value of items they are getting. This is another reason the research part is so important. They will take advantage of you.
3. Advertise Everywhere: Put the garage sale online a few days to a week before the sale! You can advertise for free on Craigslist, as well as other online resources like local newspapers (I used The Patch). Make sure you put signs up everywhere people will see it the day of. Make them large, bold enough to read, and bright! Eye catching colors are best. Place them on main roads leading to smaller roads as well. Lastly, don’t forget you can advertise in the paper too!
4. Be Prepared: Make sure you hit the bank first and get change. You know the first customer you have will pay with a $50. Murphy’s Law. Also, watch the weather forecast. Know if you are preparing to sit out in the heat, or if storms are in the forecast ~ have a plan. We had plenty of water at ours since it was a 90 degree day, and in fact my daughter set-up a lemonade stand where she sold lemonade, candy, and bottled water! It went over well!
5. Prepare Mentally: You are going to have the occasional experience where you feel bad because you let something go too cheap. You need to think about it while you are negotiating. Are you going to be okay with letting it go at that certain price? What’s your goal? Are you trying to get rid of it or make money off of it? Is it a personal item? Will you be upset you passed up on their offer? Remember, you are in charge! You CAN say no!
6. Final Tips: Plan it for a weekend that is not a holiday weekend that people are traveling on, start early in the morning, and team up with neighbors around you because have a “multi-family garage” is even a bigger draw! Get your kids involved and make it fun for them! My daughter sold lemonade and my son sold shells he found for one cent each. They had a blast!
If you decid to have a sale, then do the best you can! It might be worth the shot! You can always donate to charities or try to sell items on Craigslist or eBay if they don’t sell. At least it will force you to clean out your house a bit and make a little money. GOOD LUCK!
What are YOUR tips for a successful garage sale? I would LOVE to hear them!