Sep 02 2009
If you are preparing to move, chances are you don’t want to pack and transport any more items than you need. It is often recommended to hold a garage sale in the last few weeks leading up to the move. The tips below will help you with planning your garage sale and ensure success earning you some extra cash for the move while getting rid of all those items you don’t need or use anymore.
1. Plan ahead – Clear a weekend in your schedule for the garage sale and don’t plan anything else. Garage sales are hard work. You will be up late the night before organizing things and up extra early in the morning putting all of your items out for your customers. Depending on how much you sell, cleaning up can be quite a chore too, so give yourself ample time to set up, clean up and recover without having to rush off to a soccer game, basketball practice or a barbecue as soon as your sale is over. Also, check the weather. If the forecast is calling for pleasant weather on the weekend, you’ll certainly have a better turnout than on a rainy day. If bad weather is expected consider postponing the sale until the following weekend.
2. Try selling online first – If you have valuable items that are garage sale worthy, you might want to try selling them online the week before you have your sale. If they sell online, that’s great, if not you can add them to your sale.
3. Advertise – If you want a good turnout at your sale, advertise in the local newspaper, post signs in the neighborhood and spread the word to friends and neighbors. Be sure to list larger items in the newspaper ad such as furniture or appliances. If you have children’s toys or clothing, bookshelves, desks, etc. list them in the ad as well. This will draw the attention of parents wanting to save money on necessities or hoping to find good bargains for their kids when the school year begins. If you have a particular collection of something, indicate it in the ad too, catching the attention of hobbyists, collectors, etc.
4. Involve your kids – Put the kids in charge of cleaning out their own rooms. Help them sort toys, books, clothes, games, etc. If they are having trouble trying to decide what to put in the sale, compromise. For instance, if they have two similar items, let them keep one and sell the other. If they have toys they haven’t played with in quite some time tell them if they sell three in the sale they can have a small portion of the profits to buy something new when you move into your new home. Better yet, let the kids run their own table or stand at the sale. This will motivate them to get rid of more stuff.
5. Price everything – No one wants to shop at a garage sale if they have to ask what the price is for each item they pick up. Price everything giving people an idea of how much you want for your items.
6. Welcome early shoppers – People who arrive at your sale early are looking for the best selection at a good price. Sometimes, some of the most expensive items are sold at garage sales well before the opening time of the sale. If your plan is to get rid of as much stuff as possible, and the shopper is willing to pay a fair price, does it really matter what time you sell an item?
7. Don’t be afraid to haggle – Shoppers are at your sale because they want bargains. If you’re willing to haggle over prices, they are more likely buy more things. The focus of the sale is to get rid of everything, so if someone is willing to buy two boxes of children’s toys instead of one if you drop the price by a buck or two, do it. You’ll get rid of more stuff and they’ll walk away thinking they got a great deal.
8. Arrange items so they are easy to see – Lay everything out on tables or neatly arrange items in boxes so shoppers don’t have to dig through piles to find things they want. This can be discouraging and sometimes sends shoppers away empty handed. Furthermore, group like items together in a box and sell all the contents for one price. Put 10 children’s books in a box marked $3 instead of marking each book for $0.50. The shopper will keep the items they want and discard the rest. You just got rid of 10 books instead of seven or eight. Or perhaps you have three beach towels you want to get rid of. If a shopper wants to buy two of them, give them the third one free. You just got rid of another item and they got a deal. And if the shopper doesn’t really need the third towel, they can cut it up for cleaning rags.
9. Make big items visible from the street – Another way to attract shoppers is to place big items near the street so those driving by get curious and decide to stop. Bikes, weightlifting machines, gym equipment and furniture are good items to place near the street that will help draw a crowd, and once shoppers are at your sale they are likely to find something they want to buy.
10. Invite neighbors to join you for a neighborhood sale – This tactic always attracts more attention if the garage sale is advertised as a neighborhood or block sale. Not only does it increase the number of visitors, but it will counter balance the selection of items you have for sale by offering wider variety. It is especially effective if you only have a small collection of things to sell.
11. Make plans for the items you can’t sell – Have a plan for all of your leftovers. No one wants to haul boxes of items they want to get rid of back in the house or garage. Instead, make arrangements to drop leftovers off at a local charity, church or school fundraiser, etc. Load your call immediately and drive the leftovers to their destination.
12. Have enough change – Be sure to have enough change to last the length of your sale. It is suggested to have $80-$100 in bills and $30-$40 in coins.
13. Think about your needs – A garage sale can seem like it lasts forever, so think about your basic needs. Have a cooler nearby stocked with cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches for you and the kids or other helpers. If you draw a good crowd to your sale, it could be hard to find an opportunity to run to the fridge for a snack. Ask a neighbor, friend, or older child to handle things for a minute or two if you need to run to the restroom or stash some of your profits inside.
14. Sell cold drinks – Many garage sale shoppers like to visit several sales in one day and start out very early in the morning. A cold drink is appreciated along the way, especially in the summertime. Stock a cooler of cold drinks such as lemonade, soda and juice boxes. Not only will your shoppers be happy to buy a cold drink but it is an easy way to earn some extra cash at your sale.
So, when moving time is drawing near and you are ready to start packing, you can lighten the load by holding a garage sale first. And with these handy tips, there is no doubt your garage sale will be a success.