Saturday, April 7, 2012

garage sale a to zzzzzzzzzz

well, this evening marks the end of 2 looong days of garage sales for us.

this was the second "HUGE YARD SALE" we have hosted in 2 months. and i've also hosted 2 teacher sales, where i opened up to teachers and sold kid's books, teaching supplies, toys, games, puzzles, etc. and WHEW!

a garage sale is a heck of a lot of work and doesn't exactly reap the most bountiful profits.

but it's an easy way to get your stuff out and into the hands of someone else. who will probably turn around and have a sale of their own somewhere down the line.

since i'm starting to feel confident about what works and what doesn't, i thought i'd write down my tips. and blunders.


before the sale....
a. host your sale when the weather forecast is good. that seems to be the biggest factor in your crowd- people don't want to be in 40 degree weather, only to spend 3 bucks.

b. sort your items into categories: electronics, home decor, silk flowers, seasonal, kids, toys, bedding, etc. people like to go to the section that suits thier fancy first thing.

c. also, go through your stuff and be selective. don't put out junk. or if it's broken, make sure people know.

d. if you are displaying bedding, find out the size, write it on a note and tie it with a ribbon. if not, people will unfold and make a mess of your bedding because they need to know the sizes!

e. borrow as many tables as your can. folding tables, coffee tables, picnic tables. people don't want to hunch over while they dig. return them to their owners with a sweet note or let them "shop" for free.

f. put your ad in the paper, on craigslist, facebook. we even put out a big sign a week before in front of the house. people need to know.

g. rather than pricing everything, this worked great. price everything you'd like to get certain amount from. couch is $100, purses are $2, radios are $3. then we offered wastebasket liners (from costco) which are cheap and a good size. we told people they could fill a bag for $5. they took away all kinds of little goodies and we weren't pricing every.little.thing.

h. ask your friends and family to help. you will need multiple people for multiplie jobs. two of us took money, two carried to people's cars and helped with big stuff, one sat by the exit in the shade and greeted and thanked people. many eyes can watch people and keep them honest.

i. stock your fridge with plenty of cokes, dr. peppers, tea and water. have snickers, twix, skittles and twizzlers readily available. tell your workers it's available.

j. decide: are you there to get rid? or are you there to make money? price things accordingly.

k. call someone to come take away all your leftovers. arrange it a day or two after. and on the day of the pickup, make sure it's all bagged or boxed to make it easy on the pickeruppers.

day of sale

l. put out signs on the road! arrows, bright colors and big, plain signs work best.

m. put anything out by the road that's freebies. people LOVE freebies and will take away your junk! we put mismatched cups, baby gear, random wicker baskets, old appliances, tools with no power cords, etc.

n. offer a power cord for people to test out appliances, electronics, etc.

o. don't be afriad to say no. we had an old sewing machine table from the 30's. we said, "we'd like 300. it's an antique. we'll go no lower than 200." a lady wanted it and waited around, hemming and hawing about the cash. she wanted to pay 150. we told her 200 and it's yours. she wandered around for an hour, probably hoping we'd say, ok, ok, you can have it for $150. but if you're set on a reasonble price. wait it out.

p. they WILL try to lowball you. if it says $20, take 10 but not 5! be firm. you won't hurt their feelings- it's not personal.

q. hide anything you don't want to sell. people will get into EVERYTHING! "is this for sale?" was such a common question from our folding tables to our canopy to my daughter's sippy cup to the house! they aren't afraid to ask!

r. don't let people in the house! not safe. they're scoping out your place. they will ask for other stuff. you are needed out with the others helpers.

s. don't let people (little kids especially) use your bathrooms. gagging will ensue. enough said.

t. if they say, "is it ok if i smoke?" for heavens sake, say no. there will be babies there and old ladies with wimpy lungs. come on, already.

u. have music playing! maybe oldies. probably country. you seem like a nice, normal homeowner this way.

v. wear sunscreen. thanks to my tank top, i'll have awesome tan lines.
and lip balm. i wore this.

w. let them make piles. then make them a close, but better deal. and you can say "it should be $23 but let's do $20" and they will be glad to hand over one bill instead of 4...

x. buy some cheap aprons from home depot for your "staff". stuff your money, sharpies, masking tape, chapstick in it. HELPFUL.

y. have someone bring breakfast tacos, pizza, burgers. you will be starving and will need energy to finish up your sale. feed your helpers.

z. seems obvious but NO CHECKS. cash only.

zz. have some way to designate SOLD items. we used orange flagging ribbon.

winding down

zzz. go through and trash anything that needs to go. really, this time, you can toss it. and if you really want your money's worth from it, take it inside and think about how you can get rid of it. eBay craigslist or you could always donate it to someone who will appreciate it.

zzzz. last hour, tell everyone coming through it's free. and people will offer to pay. if they try to pay more than twice, take the money. yes. they want to give it to you.

zzzzz. take in your tables and anything that you don't want taken. we even took in plants on the porch. i mean, they will take it if it's there. don't assume they will leave your stuff alone, even if it's obvious.

zzzzzzzz. pack it up and leave, if you can. or put it out by the curb. people want to dig around and take without you watching. they're embarrassed but secretly thrilled. FREE! FREE! FREE! they're excited. let them load it up! less for you to deal with.

zzzzzzz. thank your helpers. profusely. offer them any freebies they want. :) do the same for them sometime.

zzzzzzzz. the day of the pickup, make sure it's neat and easy for the workers to load up. rebox if necessary. keep your receipt for tax write off.

and go home and drink a glass of wine. and take a good shower. and go to bed early. it's a lot of work! but hopefully, you got rid of a bunch, you're garage is close to empty and you made some money!!!

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