Sunday, September 19, 2010

Garage Sale 101

In order to live a more clutter free life and make some additional money, it is always good to have a yard or garage sale from time to time.  Our Community has one every spring and fall and we join in almost every time.  It always amazes me how much stuff we seem to accumulate in our house, garage, back yard, etc.  Even though I have cleaned out my closet numerous times over the last few years, I still have a huge amount of clothing that I never seem to wear.  This past Saturday we threw our own garage sale without the help of the community advertisement and the additional houses selling stuff too.  I was absolutely amazed by the amount of people that showed up and was so very happy to see almost all of our items go. 

When we decided to have our own sale without the rest of the community, I was a little worried.  I knew that the traffic was obviously higher on the day of the Community Sale as I am drawn more to a community yard sale than one that is all alone.  My thinking is that I can see more at one time and I won't be driving all over town from one to another, so I assumed that others shared my "Garage Sale Laziness" also.  I was so WRONG.  In the week before the sale, I gathered items from the house, and mentally made note of the furniture that needed to be moved out.  The night before the yard sale, my husband and I moved all the items for sale to the garage and tagged most of the stuff with prices.  We set up the tables that would be pushed out, cleaned the garage, and cleaned up the items for sale as well.  I had advertised on Craigslist a few times that week, and had already gotten a call about some of the items that we had for sale. 

The morning of the sale, I meant to get up at 5am, but I didn't actually get out of bed until 6am.  By 6:30am my husband and I were pushing the items for sale out to the driveway and setting up.  Even though I had advertised that the sale started at 8am, at 7 o'clock on the dot, a van pulled up and 6 or 7 guys came into the driveway to look at the items we had for sale.  I had about 3/4 of the stuff out and tagged, and by 7:05 we had sold an entire bedroom set and loaded half of it into the van.  After that it was a steady stream of people until about 9:45am.  It died down around 10am, and by 11am we had sold the majority of our items.  It was a great success and I highly recommend it.  If you don't have tables, you can always use 2 sawhorses with a board on top, or for clothes, just place them on a blanket laid out.  While I didn't think that we would make as much money without the Community Yard Sale support, but we ended up making more money and I think it was because we did not have any competition and people only bring a certain amount of money.  In a community yard sale, they could spend all their money before they get to your sale.  I found out that we sold more furniture and big items in our own sale, but sold many more small items and knickknacks in the Community one.  Set yours according to what you are selling.   Below are some tips that I learned along the way:

1.  Get change the night before.  Go and get $20 in change, mostly ones and keep in an envelope in your pocket.
2.  Advertise, Advertise, Advertise  - Put your ad on Craigslist and any other free listings in your area.  Include as much detail as possible as people are looking for specific items and it could be just what they are looking for.  Mention it on the Bluffton Today blogs and your Facebook status.
3.  Have some plastic grocery bags available for customers to carry away their goods.
4.  Clean your items before you put them out.  Customers are looking for gently used items, not gross dirty items.  A rag and some cleaner can do wonders for your stuff.
5.  Place signs at your entrance and at every turn telling customers how to get there.  Put your address on the sign as well.
6.  Get out there early and be ready, we have always sold the majority of our items between 7 and  9am.
7.  Be ready to haggle, I'm not that good at this so I leave it to my husband.  But price your items $2 or $3 above what you want to sell them for, so you have a little wiggle room.

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