Hi, my name is Connie and I’m addicted to garage sales. Strolling around the “perceived clutter” of other people’s belongings to find love-worthy items looking for a new flame, is like going to a speed-dating event. But instead of picking one candidate you can choose as many as you’d like, and as opposed to a speed-dating pick, you might keep your new lovers forever. Today, I’d like to share some tips that will make your garage sale truly stand out.
1) It All Starts With Grooming
Your garage sale can only be as successful as your preparation. Most people think that the preparation consists only of gathering all items you no longer need or want and assigning prices. In my opinion, it doesn’t end there. Giving your items a good swipe goes a long way, as it will make them look shiny and appealing.
2) The Value Is Important
Keep in mind that a garage sale is not to reap a profit of items you’ve bought in the past but to get rid of them. As a rule-of-thumb, bargain shoppers are prepared to pay about 10-25% of what you’ve paid for the item. If it’s still rather new, however, consider charging more. So, have a critical look and ask yourself how much you would pay for that at someone else’s garage sale.
The price label is just as important as the price itself. Use stickers (or in the worst case scenario adhesive lables) directly on the item as opposed to writing card-board signs with your prices. This will help especially if you have many potential customers at your sale at once, competing for your attention.
Try not to lower your prices 5 minutes after you’ve started. You can always lower them towards the end of the day, or switch to “volume pricing” (e.g. $5 for all remaining books together).
3) Don’t Bad-Mouth Your Past Lovers
If you go on a date, do you talk about all the negative qualities you have? If so, it’s no wonder you’re single. If you don’t love yourself, don’t expect others to do so. The same is true for your “clutter.” If you tell stories about how much you hated a certain quality of the product, the story of a book, or the look of that “ugly” sweater, people will likely refrain from buying it. Instead, tell the nice things that you liked about the item and how well it has served you faithfully in the past.
4) Timing Is Everything
Try to have your sale on the weekend, but there are more things to consider when picking a day. If there’s a major sports event going on that weekend or it’s just before or after a public holiday, chances are, you won’t get much traffic. Rain can also ruin your sales, so look up the weather forecast and pray that their predicted sunny days will actually be bright.
There are many ways to advertise your garage sale. For example, you can print or write signs (on flashy coloured paper, with as few words as possible). If there are intersections of main routes close to your location, use them to create awareness for your sale. As a rule of thumb, locations where people have to stop for a few seconds or minutes are best (e.g. bus stops, traffic lights, etc.).
You can also post a note about your garage sale on Post a Note in the “Community” category. People who are looking for fun things to do on the weekend will look here and find your ad. Plus, it’s free, so you don’t have anything to lose.
Contact your local newspaper. Some newspapers charge only a small fee when you advertise a garage sale with them. If you organize a garage sale with other neighbours and friends, you could also split the costs.
6) Show Off
Have your most visually appealing items in front, where people who are passing by can see them. It will draw their attention to your garage sale and they might stop by for a while. Keep the sale area clean and keep a bit of space between the items, rather than piling things. It will make browsing easier for potential buyers.
Hang your clothes so you don’t have to re-fold them over and over again. It will also allow potential buyers to quickly browse through them and pick whatever they liked best. Before you display your clothing, however, go through the pockets. Remember Cal’s mistake in Titanic? The same could happen to you. You don’t want someone to find a $10 bill in pants they paid $5 for.
If it’s a hot day, try to keep mirrors and other reflecting items in the shade. Not only will this avoid “blinding” your customers, it will also reduce the risk of fires, as mirrors have, in the past, caused card board boxes to catch on fire. (True story.)
7) Money, Money, Money
Don’t forget to go to the bank the days before the sale to get sufficient change. Get a lock-able cash box, like the one on the Post a Note site, to store your cash. Because it’s difficult to keep your eyes on the money and your items at the same time, you may want to get some help from a friend or family member during busy times. Keep the cash box secure at any time throughout the sale to avoid theft.
8) Keep Your Prospects Happy
At the best garage sale I’ve ever been to, the seller’s wife was offering lemonade and cookies to buyers who arrived. It seems like such a minor detail, but it made people stick around longer and as a result buy more. You may also want to keep an extension cord handy so people can test electronic items they intend to purchase.
9) After the Sale
No matter how successful your garage sale will be, chances are that you will still be left with some items. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to store them all until your next garage sale. You can post them on Post a Note either individually or in bulk (for a price or for free). Alternatively, you can drop them off at a thrift store or donate them to charity.
But Most Importantly: Have Fun with Your Garage Sale!
- Your Post a Note Team