It may not feel like it, but spring is here! And with spring comes cleaning and organizing. Some of you may have some…piles of stuff that you’re unsure what to do with. Why not throw a garage sale? Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, has some great and simple tips to throwing a successful garage sale. Get out those signs, organize those piles, and get to pricing!
6 Simple Tips to Throwing a Successful Garage Sale This Spring
I am sure that all of you read my article last week, spent all day Saturday and Sunday organizing your house and now you have a pile of stuff that you just aren’t sure what to do with. No? Not yet? So let’s imagine that you have organized your home and carefully put things into the piles of keep, give away, or reuse/sell. All of these categories have an action to their name; but only one is going to make you some money! Been eyeing those darling shoes, maybe planning a Disney vacation (stay tuned on that one!) or maybe you just want some extra cash to help pay for the spring baseball league for your little Salvy. I know we all have a need to get a few extra dollars in our pockets, in that case let’s have a garage sale!
To begin, I hate garage sales. I hate going to them, I hate negotiating to get the best deal, I feel awkward walking around people’s garages! But some people are downright experts at them. My mother in law for instance is a pro. I gave her an “ask” last year; size 10 tap shoes because my oldest was starting tap in the fall. By the end of the day she had in her possession not one but two pairs of tap shoes, one in a 10 and another in a larger size. And this was just the beginning, she has a driver (aka my father in law) and she knows what the rest of the sale holds just by looking at the few things in the front. She is as close to expert level as you can get. So some of you out there are experts in going to garage sales but how are you in having garage sales? I am no expert either but I thought I could get close by doing a little research which I will share with you. So get your pile of stuff and price gun ready!
#1 Get a Tough Skin
First, get a tough skin! I get that this is your stuff that you worked long and hard for. That incredible collection of beanie babies that was once worth well over $400 has now been reduced to a few pennies and that makes us very upset. Get some tissues and put the 5 cents sticker on them because they are moving out! And that goes for the rest of your stuff too. Even though you paid $20 brand new does not mean that you will get $15 out of it, depending on the item you will probably get $5. Rule of thumb is 20 percent of what you paid for it.
#2 Plan your work and work your plan.
Make sure that you, your family and your home is safe. The house should be locked and by no means a stop for the restroom for anyone. Doors, gates, windows should be locked and blinds should be closed. Get a babysitter for the kids or organize a playdate for that day mainly because you don’t want to have to keep an eye on them around cars and the busier than normal street but also because chances are if you put a toy in the sale, even though they haven’t played with it (or even seen it) for 3 years, they are going to want it back! As for yourself, make sure that you have a cell phone or house phone nearby. Larger bills and money should be hidden; if you can bribe a friend or spouse with lunch and have them sit with you, all the better!
Clean out the garage for two reasons. First because you want to make sure that all items that you aren’t selling are out of eyesight to potential buyers and unfortunately thieves. If you can’t hide them, it’s best to put a tarp over them so there is no question. Second, you are going to need a place to lay out everything to make it easier on sale morning to just drag out and go.
Speaking of sale day…
#3 Plan your date just like you planned your wedding.
We can’t predict the weather but aim for a time when the weather tends to be drier and milder. Most people go with a Friday and Saturday morning but you could throw in a “moonlight madness” sale if you want to catch those after work and especially if the weather is threatening. Also like your wedding; it is important to let people know when it is. There are several online advertising avenues that will allow you to list for free; there is always the local paper and bulletin boards at the local grocery store. Extra credit if your town or neighborhood has their own designated garage sale date—load up on their free advertising! Timing depends on you, unlike your wedding, the earlier the better so people can go before work or before starting their normal Saturday, make sure it is convenient for you and count on one person there at least 30 minutes earlier! Once that is done that’s it—like it or not people will be at your house at 6AM on Friday to buy your stuff! You better have things to buy or a lot of doughnuts! And change—don’t forget this important thing, the first sale of the day will be a 10 cent item paid with by a $20 bill. Make sure that you have fives, ones, LOTS of quarters, dimes and nickels.
#4 Utilize tables as much as possible to get your stuff off the ground
Make tables if you have to out of saw horses and plywood. If you have to have things on the ground put something under them, like a sheet, blanket or tarp. If you didn’t store your belongings on the ground in your home; people aren’t going to want to buy them if you put them on the ground during the sale. The only thing that should be lower than table height (albeit still off the actual concrete) is kids toys. You want those right at eye level for those little munchkins to see, touch and buy!
#5 Make sure items are clean & all parts are in tact
Speaking of toys, this is going to be your draw along with baby furniture and baby clothes. All new parents say they want all new things for their baby (and they may spend the money on that first one) but chances are for a second or third kid they are looking to garage sales! Make sure your items are clean and all parts are on, near, or if they are missing make sure they are clearly marked; if it is something that doesn’t impact the use of the product most people aren’t going to care that much. For baby clothes; try and hang as many as possible, especially outfits and new clothes that may have the tags still on them. For anything that is damaged or stained, put this in a free bin. It could entice buyers and some of those clothes can be used for other things like doll clothes.
#6 Organize, organize, organize!
One site I read said to organize your items like you would see in a department store keeping like things together (kitchen, bath, etc.) Also organizing one area for men’s items is always great as well. If you are lucky enough to have your spouse help you then park them over there; it will help fill their time too! Make sure there is enough space to walk around and try not to hover over people as they shop but be available for questions or negotiations. As I was looking through my stuff in the “give” pile, I noticed that I was throwing it away because it was just a drawer without the dresser (don’t ask me how this happens) or a bedside table with no rhyme or reason. Instead of taking up room in my “I will find something on Pinterest to do with this later” file why not search on Pinterest now for something to do with it, print out the picture and tape it on the drawer; now someone could be “Pinspired”! I also laughed at my cousin for doing this at a garage sale we had many years ago but it worked for her every time! She had plenty of kids’ highchairs and strollers, she went online and printed out the product specs for the same or similar item along with any recalls associated with it and made sure it listed the price. Everyone who bought said it was because of this attention to detail and it showed them what an amazing deal they were getting!
Good luck my fellow garage sellers! I will report back my learning’s after mine scheduled for May!
From iFamily to Yours,