Everything You Should Know For a Great Garage Sale!
A garage sale will enable you to sell unwanted items. This will decrease the weight of your move without having to throw or give away the items you no longer need or like. Movers charge based on weight and distance, therefore, the lower the weight, the lower your cost of moving.
A FEW WEEKS BEFORE THE GARAGE SALE
Phone or visit your local Licensing Commission or municipal authorities – some communities have precise rules on holding garage sales and require permits or at least a notification.
Check local, state/provincial and federal laws before selling firearms, ammunition or explosives. The selling of some other items – bedding, food, clothes, etc. – may also be covered by local or state/provincial ordinances. Visit other garage sales. As a customer, you will be able to learn from them and will have an idea of the general prices you can charge for your items. Visit resale shops, antique shops, flea markets, etc. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that some of your discards are worth a lot more than you thought.
Start saving shopping bags, cardboard boxes and newspapers. Your customers will find them very convenient on the day of the sale. Consider holding a joint sale with other families. You will have a large display of merchandise, the sale can be held in the home with the best location, and the families can share the work.
WHEN TO HOLD A GARAGE SALE
Saturdays and Sundays are the traditional garage sale days. Most people don’t work on the weekends. As a result, they have more time to spend, and they are more likely to attend your sale in larger numbers. However, try to avoid holding your sale during holiday weekends as a lot of people spend this time away from home. The best time of the year to hold sale is from mid-spring to mid-fall.
Hot weather won’t discourage your potential customers but cold, snow and icy roads will certainly stop them from attending your sale. You will have more customers in the early hours of your sale than during the rest of the day. For that reason, it is best to start early in the morning. Then stay at it until your customers dwindle and you decide it isn’t worth staying open any longer.
If you are holding your sale outside, plan alternatives in case of bad weather. If you have a garage, gazebo or roofed deck, try to move everything under cover. Some people bring their sale items indoors and worry about the mess later.
WHERE TO HOLD YOUR GARAGE SALE
You can hold your sale anywhere. Out front is best because the event is in plain view and people arriving by car will not miss it. A basement is less desirable because strangers hesitate to walk into your house, whereas a wide-open garage is more inviting.
WHAT TO SELL
Before sifting through your home, be sure you are in a “getting-rid-of” mood. Otherwise, you may find that sentiment prevents you from wanting to sell anything. Take a notebook with you and list everything you want to include in your sale. You can sell just about anything at a garage sale, but keep some things in mind:
- the larger the display, the longer the customers will linger and the more likely they’ll be to buy
- the things you may not need or want could be someone else’s treasures
- you may want to sell some large expensive items but don’t forget to include a lot of smaller low-priced ones; a lot of garage sale shoppers have a limited budge and are looking for inexpensive items
- parents will have more time to look around if their children are busy with a few toys you have included in your sale.
PRICE EACH ARTICLE
Think about prices beforehand and you won’t have to make on-the-spot decisions on the day of the sale. On a new article, a general rule of thumb is to charge no more than half the store cost. Prices on used items are lower. The main thing is to keep your prices at absolute rock bottom, remembering that low prices are the main attraction of any garage sale. People will want to bargain for lower prices – this is an important part of the sale event. So take this into account when you decide what you are going to ask for each item. They will probably sell for about 10% less than asking price.
Remember that a drop of glue, a piece of tape or a few stitches can increase the value of an item. Clean and dust everything to make them look their best.
- Keep your prices in round numbers for easier computing and less coin counting.
- Place price tags on everything to encourage buyers and allow them to identify bargains.
- Self-adhesive tags are quicker, more convenient and will make last minute changes easier than masking tape.
- Record all the prices and any price changes you make during the sale.
ADVERTISE YOUR SALE
Advertising your sale is an important part of its success. Run a classified ad in your local newspaper, the day before the sale starts – people who only get the evening issue will notice your sale and will be able to plan on attending. Your ad should include a brief listing of major items for sale, date(s) of sale, rain date(s), hours of operation, and your street address.
If you don’t mind people calling you to find out what color that rug is, you may include your telephone number. To catch the reader’s eye in crowded columns, spend a little extra to have a black line put around your ad or a catchy headline in larger type. Pin notices on bulletin boards in churches, schools, supermarkets, community centers and clubs.
If you have children do the legwork, you may want to run off flyers and distribute them around your neighborhood. Prepare a sign that you will put in front of your house on the day of the sale. Make it large and visible – the letters should be at lease 20 cm (8″) high, 1.25 cm (1/2″) thick, and on a white background. Use indelible ink in case it rains. If you live on a secluded street, you may want to install additional signs at the nearest crossroads and on the main roads. Don’t underestimate word-of-mouth advertising – telephone friends, tell co-workers, neighbors, etc.
THE DAY BEFORE THE SALE
Get paper and pencil or a calculator for computing costs and have your wrapping supplies ready. Display your items. Remove anything you don’t want to sell from your garage and if some things cannot be moved, put a big “NOT FOR SALE” TAG ” on them or cover them with a sheet. Arrange small articles on tables.
With some twine, hang poles from the garage ceiling for clothes racks. Assemble beds or dismantled pieces for people can see there’s nothing missing. For books and magazines, mark the asking price on a few big cardboard boxes and pile the books in them. Bundle “go together” items you want to sell as a unit and make grab-bags or surprise packages at a Make sure there is a nearby electrical outlet for your customers to test appliances.
Arrange all goods neatly to give your shoppers a good first impression but don’t make your garage look like a shop – it could turn off a lot of potential customers who enjoy the casual look of garage sales. Get plenty of change in a cash box and note how much you have on hand to start with.
If you sale is a family venture, enlist as many members as possible and give everyone their own specific tasks. Determine policies with your helpers and make sure everyone will stick to them. Accept only cash and post a big sign to that effect – cheques may bounce and you will have no recourse. Ask for a deposit if a customer wants an article “held” and set a time limit for holding the item. Bargaining is something you should expect. Know ahead of time how far you are willing to go, and then stay more or less firm. A good way of coping when someone offers you $5.00 on an item tagged $10.00 is to say that you’ll sell at his/her price if it has not been sold at the end of the day. Don’t forget to set your alarm clock for early rising next morning!
ON THE DAY OF THE SALE
Brace yourself for an early rush of business. Make sure you have brought everything out into conspicuous display. Let your customers browse in peace. You may want to have background music – some people feel more at ease if they can talk among themselves without being heard. Serving fresh coffee and donuts make your sale more fun. People will be encouraged to browse longer while they have a coffee. Be ready to answer people’s questions, to move things if it seems that more room is needed, and to lower prices if it seems that you might be left with a few items on your hands at the end of the sale.
FOR YOUR SECURITY
Keep your cash box discreetly out of sight and keep the larger bills on your person. Keep your valuables under lock and key. Never leave the sales area unattended. Watch for shoplifters. They’ll be watching you or will come with a friend who will try to distract you while the other appropriates wanted items. If someone looks suspicious, follow him/her around and ask how you can help..
AFTER THE SALE
Count your money, remembering to deduct the amount you started with and take the cash to your bank or put it in a safe place. Take down all the outdoor signs you put up. If you think you might ever hold another sale, make some notes now about this one so you will have these ideas handy next time.
If you have a few things left, considering donating them to a charitable organization in your community. Some you might like to call include: The Salvation Army, Good Will, Amity, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, churches, and various organizations specializing in the collection and repair of toys for needy children at Christmas. They may even pick up the goods from your home and give you a receipt for income