It is that time of year again!
I always get excited for garage sale season! Not that I have a laundry list of things I need, but I seem to always find something I want. Especially now with having a 1 year old, I now have a list of clothes and toys I wouldn’t mind trying to hunt down. I thought about having a garage sale myself, but found another use for our items instead. Also, I am one to typically just donate the items we no longer need, so I haven’t had my own garage sale in years! Though, I find they are a GREAT way to get rid of unused and unwanted items.
Garage sales are a purposeful way to encourage the whole idea of reduce, reuse, recycle. While you are reducing the clutter in your own home, you are helping someone else reuse it because they find purpose in that item. At the end of the sale, whatever doesn’t sell, you can recycle it by donating it to your local donation center of choice. Sometimes it’s the motivation that can lack when it comes to putting on a garage sale. So here are 12 easy steps to put on a successful garage sale.
1. Gather items – go through every box, bookshelf, drawer, corner, every INCH of your house, looking for items you can put on your garage sale. Decide:
- Do I really LIKE it?
- Do I like it enough to keep it?
- Can I live without it?
- Will I miss it?
- Could I use the space more wisely by getting rid of it?
- Do I have it out of guilt?
2. Write down everything you are putting on the garage sale and write down a price next to it. Writing down every item (or most) will help if the price is lost in the setting up process and help you when you are ready to donate the item and submit it for a tax deduction. When pricing items, remember you are pricing to sell. You are choosing to put it on the garage sale because you no longer feel you need the item – don’t let it come back in the house because the price may be too high. Price to sell.
3. Price each item. You can buy colored sticker circles or just use masking tape. Do not price each individual book, but set up a table with hardbacks and paperbacks, each with a sign with the base price. Think about having a box or bin with all $1.00 priced items and so forth. This prevents having to price every individual item.
4. Decide when to have the garage sale (check to see if a permit is needed). Some have city-wide garage sales. Join in on those because the flow of people will be more instead of an individual sale. Some towns require a permit and have set rules on where you can sell items (how far out of your garage). Permits can cost between $5-$20, depending on the town you live in.
5. Advertise. Make signs. You can buy pre-made garage sale signs or you can use old political signs and cover up the advertisement with your own sign. Make sure your sign is clear and easy to read. When there is too much information on a sign, people can get lost in what to focus on. Put up signs wherever people may be led to come to your sale. There are also free websites that you can advertise your garage sale on such as www.yardsalesearch.com. Newspapers (typically for a fee) offer advertising. Consider advertising on facebook or if it is a community-wide sale, create an event and invite your facebook friends.
6. Clean out your yard/garage. This is important because you want to create an inviting environment. Try to take everything that is NOT on sale and move it to another location or hide it the best you can so that shoppers aren’t tempted to buy what you are not willing to sell.
7. Get cash and change. Consider getting 20-25 $1.00 bills, 5-$5.00, a few tens, and quarters! Keep all of your money in a money bag or container.
8. Set up your tables. This may seem like a daunting task, but how you set up may determine whether someone buys or doesn’t buy something. Make your items easily visible. Some people don’t have time or don’t want to dig. Hang what you can. Create “curb appeal” by putting items that will attract people at the end of your driveway. If people drive by, you want them to see something that will catch their attention right away. Group like items together. Antique shops can be overwhelming because each item is priced separately. Put yourself in the “buyer’s shoes.” Make it easy for yourself and for them.
9. Ask someone to help. Having a friend or family member available to assist can take much of the pressure off the day of. This person may even be available to help you set up.
10. Morning of. At this point, everything should be priced and now you just need to open up your garage and move everything out that will be sitting in the driveway. Set up your table in a visible, but out of the way area. Make sure when someone is ready to buy, that you do not block the traffic of those still shopping.
11. Near the end of the sale, mark everything 50% off or buy 1 get 1 free, etc. It may be hard to see some of the items go for 50% off, but just remember, you do not want these items back in your house. The whole point of the sale is to get rid of what you no longer need. You may want to put out new signage or just add a bright colored star that says what the deal is, and attach it to the sign you already have sitting out there.
12. When the garage sale is over, do NOT bring the items back into your house. Put them in boxes that will go straight to a donation center. Remember, you can get a tax deduction on those items too, so you are not at a complete loss! Goodwill’s website has a price listing for items when you donate – so grab a piece of paper and pen, write down everything you are donating, and write down a price as well (if you haven’t done this already). If you do not have time to do this when you donate the items, just take a picture of them while they are still on the tables at your garage sale (after it is over) and make a list later, using the pictures.
Hope your next garage sale is successful and even more so, that you are able to get rid of what you no longer need!