Garage Sale Success
If you're like most Americans, you have lots of stuff. We are a country of consumers. We buy, buy, buy, and most of it ends up in boxes in our closets and basements. Unfortunately, we don't clear out our houses as frequently as we clutter them up. To avoid the pack-rat syndrome, consider having a garage sale. A garage sale is a great way to get rid of unwanted junk, plus make some extra cash. Here are some tips to help make your sale a success.
You can never start too early when it comes to collecting items for a garage sale. I keep a large box in my basement for garage sale items all year long. During the year when I come across an item I no longer need or want, I throw it in the box. An even better idea is to mark the items before they go in the box. Marking your items will take longer than you think. Don't leave it until the last minute. If you do, you may be up very late the night before your sale!
You'll want to include the following information in your ad: Date and times of the sale, your address, and special items you have for sale that will draw customers. Be sure to mention specific items that are in demand (Little Tikes toys; collectibles; furniture items). If you're selling kids' clothing, list the sizes you have. If a lot of your items (especially clothing) are name-brand, it doesn't hurt to mention the specific name brands as well. In my area, people make tracks to sales with kids' clothes from BabyGap and gymboree.
Make sure that you have signs strategically placed in your community. Place them in high-traffic intersections within a few miles of your home. If you live in the boonies, include directions in your ad. Use bright (yellow or lime green work well), paper with BIG lettering. Using your home printer works well, since the ink in laser printer/copiers won't run in the rain. Staple your bright, easy-to-read sign to cardboard for stability. Drive by your own signs to make sure that they are visible from a distance.
Price Your Items
Mark every item. You'll avoid a lot of questions and haggling this way. Groups of similar items like books or video cassettes are an exception; it might be easier to just mark them 25 cents each rather than mark each one. Items such as this are also great to offer a deal: 25 cents each or 5 for $1. A general guideline is to price items at 1/4 or 1/5 of the retail price. However, this is a VERY general guideline. You may be able to get more on some items and much less on others. Obviously new items will bring more (especially if the price tag is still on it!). You'll want to consider the demand for the item you're pricing. Clean and repair your toys. It is amazing how much more money a shiny toy will bring than a dull, dingy one. When pricing, use quarter-dollar increments. Making change will be much easier.
A Note on Clothing
I've found that people are willing to spend good money on quality kids' clothing at garage sales, but not adult clothing. If you have a lot of adult clothing that is in good condition and still in style, consider taking it to a consignment shop instead. Kids' clothing can sell anywhere from $1 to $5. If it's stained, however, don't mark it more than a quarter.
Make it a Group Thing
Invite friends to join you. You'll be able to advertise a wider variety of merchandise and attract more shoppers. You can split the cost of the ad and take turns at the checkout counter. Plus, you'll have more fun that way! You may also want to recruit neighbors for a block-wide sale.