Spring is often the time for out with the old and in with the new. So it must be "garage sale time." Whether you are planning to move or just want to clean up or de-clutter, Spring is often the time homeowners start planning a yard or garage sale. Below are some tips to get you started.
Planning a Garage Sale
Rather than discarding what you many no longer need or want, try selling it at a garage sale. A garage sale can be a profitable and fun way to make sure items are reused.
The following are some tried and true tips for a successful sale:
1. Pick the date
Make sure that the date will not conflict with holidays or special events that compete for attendance. Weekends are more successful than weekdays.
2. Bigger is better
Check with friends, relatives and neighbours to see if they would like to join you or if they have anything for you to sell on their behalf. More people mean less work and more items means more shoppers. Sharing on advertising costs increases your profit margin, too.
3. Get good sellers
Appliances, furniture, toys, tool, dishes and other such practical household items are popular. Records are also a good seller. Clothing does not usually have a high resale value, although kids clothing is the exception. Arrange kids clothing by size, and label each item. Clean everything. Make sure your items are working. If not, label them as such. For specialty items, include important information on labels. If you have items that you do not think will sell, have a “free box”. You’d be surprised what people will take and find uses for. If you have a truck, consider offering free delivery for big items within a certain distance – Customer service sells.
4. Promote your sale
If you have a community paper that is delivered to every household in your area, advertise in the classified section. Otherwise, advertise in the newspaper read most often by people in your area. Include the date, time (start early as most sales end by 1 or 2 p.m.), address and list some of the more desirable and unique items. If you don’t want early birds, include that in your ad but expect them anyway. If you are hosting the sale with others, split the advertising cost and remember to advertise the number of households participating in the sale.
5. Signage is key
Make sure the signs you make are large, clear and if possible, waterproof. Use well made, creative signs because they will attract more buyers. Some newspapers provide garage sale kits if you advertise with them, which usually includes a few signs. You should have enough signs to place at the intersection closest to your house, in front of your house and on the main streets near your house. Always include the date, time, and address on the signs.
Make signs for goods displayed at your sale. For example, “House wares”, “Kids Clothes”, etc. Make a sign that reads “Reduced Prices”. You can post this halfway through your sale.
6. Rainy day plan
Have a contingency plan for wet weather. Consider putting up tarps or holding your sale under cover.
7. Set fair prices
If you are not sure how to price your items, visit a local thrift store or garage sales. Don’t price your items too low initially, because people will bargain with you.
Put prices on everything using masking tape or removable stickers. This saves you from inventing prices on the spot and eliminates the need for everyone to ask you for prices. If many people are selling their goods, use different coloured tags (or different coloured dots on masking tape) and record sales by colour so you can correctly divide the money at the end of the day. Have lots of change and small bills on hand.
8. Make it social
Invite friends or neighbours the night before for a preview sale. If you have a street sale with your neighbours, have a BBQ afterward. At your sale, sell donuts and coffee. This will encourage people to stay longer, socialize and have a better opportunity to look at your wares.
9. It’s sale day
Expect early birds. Clear all paths and move any cars out of the driveway. Set up some tables the night before and carry them out first thing in the morning. Display your goods in an attractive way on tables, boxes or even the front lawn. For example, reuse coloured cardboard to display jewellery, and then attach the cardboard to a bulletin board. Group similar items together. If you are selling clothes, place them on hangers to display on the fence or a coat rack. Have an electrical outlet or extension cord accessible if you are selling electronic items. This enables potential buyer to test the items before they buy. Cover any items you do not want to sell with old sheets or move them out of sight. This helps prevent potential theft and stops people from trying to buy your lawnmower or garden tools.
Offer laundry hampers as shopping baskets. This allows shoppers the luxury of browsing without dropping their armful of goodies. Have extra shopping bags and boxes available for shoppers who purchase numerous items. Keep the money with you at all times. Use an apron with pockets or have one person dedicated to handling the cash. Remember to lock your house.
Be flexible and accept reasonable offers. Consider throwing in related token items, and post the “Reduced Prices” sign at lunchtime.
10. Clean up time
At the end of your sale, take down all signs and posters. If you have useful items remaining, donate them to charity or try selling them at a local flea market.