OK–you finally finished your spring cleaning. You spent days sorting and purging through your belongings. You threw a few things out. You even repaired that old clock you’ve had for years. But what will you do with everything else you uncovered and discovered? If you’re willing to invest some time and energy, why not have a garage sale?
Garage sales are a great way to get rid of the things that you no longer want, need or cherish. But is it as easy as just dumping your stuff on the lawn and waiting for customers to drive by? Not if you want to make any money, it isn’t. Besides having decent-quality merchandise, the key to a successful garage sale is being organized.
Here are 3 steps for making your garage sale organized for happy customers and optimal sales:
Step 1 – Pre-Sale Organizing
• Select a weekend for your sale and make no other commitments on those days. You WILL be exhausted. Ask friends and neighbors if they would like to join you. It is a perk to be able to split advertising costs and have someone watch over your area while you’re grabbing a snack or running to the bathroom.
• Have you ever been to a garage sale where the items had no prices on them? One way of making ‘Garage Sale Day’ organized is to create a pricing system. This makes the selling easy for you and the buying easy for your customers. Purchase colored, circle-shaped labels from your neighborhood drug store or office supply store. Designate each color to be a different dollar amount, for example: Blue = $.25, Red = $.50, etc. Use white circle labels to write in prices higher than $1.00. Make signs that describe how much money each colored circle is worth. These should be posted around the area of your garage sale so you don’t have a constant stream of people asking you about prices.
• For making your system even easier, you can purchase a package of yellow, circle-shaped labels that already have the amounts $.25, $.50, $.75, and $1.00 written on them.
• Select one area in your home to be the staging area for pricing items and one area (most often the garage or an underutilized room) for storage of the items before the garage sale. Price the items accordingly using the colored, circle-shaped labels. Then move the priced objects into the pre-garage sale storage area. This space will enable you to see exactly what you have and allow you to group like-items together such as books, kitchenware, toys, etc.
•Start saving grocery store bags as well as heavy-duty shopping bags. Your customers will appreciate your preparedness and it will be easier for them to carry their new-found treasures.
• Some of these new-found treasures will be breakable. Start saving newspaper, old wrapping paper and bubble wrap. These packing materials will help your customer get their breakable purchase home in one piece.
• Borrow and gather card tables, crates, workbenches, and other horizontal surfaces for displaying items.
• Make signs and put them up on nearby streets facing oncoming traffic.
• Check with your town regarding permits for having a garage sale.
Step 2 – During-the-Sale Organizing
• Post your pricing system signs around the area of your garage sale.
• Wear clothing with pockets. Pockets come in handy for holding some or your garage sale supplies such as pens, markers, and extra price stickers.
• Wear a fanny pack around your waist. Your money will be close to your body without spilling out of your pockets. The pack should have a minimum of two pouches. Dollar bills go in one compartment and loose change goes in the other.
• Know exactly how much money you started the day with so you’ll be able to calculate exactly what you earned.
• Set up your belongings outside by category -all kid’s stuff in one area, sports equipment in another area, etc. Group items with other like items to the best of your ability. If a customer is looking for toddler toys and they’re all in one place, it’s very likely that they’ll buy more since everything they need will be right in front of them.
• Have at least one other person working with you. It is difficult to sell merchandise, wrap breakables and field questions by yourself. Take turns helping customers, straightening up the merchandise, and taking breaks.
Step 3 – Post-Sale Organizing
• Bring everything that was not sold into the room that was used as a staging area and make final decisions on whether or not to keep unsold items.
• Throw out anything that became damaged, dirty, or broken as a result of being at the garage sale.
• Donate the ‘leftovers’ to a charity such as The Salvation Army or the charity of your choice. The Vietnam Veteran’s Association will often pick up donated goods at your home.
• Clean your lawn/driveway of any debris from the garage sale.
• Count your money and determine your profit.
• Place your fanny pack, the colored stickers, your pricing signs and other supplies from the garage sale in a container. Label it ‘Garage Sale Supplies.’ Now you’re ready for your next garage sale. Job well done!
by: Stacey Agin Murray