Don’t you just love a good garage sale? How do you make your garage sale unique and stand out from the rest? Here are some good tips to keep in mind before, during and after the big day!
1. What’s your goal? Your goal should be to rid yourself of excess clutter, and NOT bring it back in the house. Price things right. Check out prices on line first and price your stuff accordingly. Gone are the days on twenty five cent anything, unless it came from the dollar store. Don’t forget, the dollar store has things for $3 now!
2. Ask your neighbours if they’d like to join you, this way you can advertise as a street sale!
3. Tell your friends you’re holding a garage sale, and for them to tell their friends and so on. You can also recruit them to help you sell. (and give you bathroom breaks!)
4. Purge & Prepare a month in advance. Go through closets, drawers, your kids stuff and the garage too! The more stuff you have out, the better your sale will be. If it looks sparse, some people will keep on driving! Gather everything in one spot (usually in a garage, hence the name “garage sale”!). Let friends drop off stuff a few days before.
5. Make some clever signs. Signage should be bright, bold, funny or clever. And post on social media- the message should be fun and bright too.
Some examples like:
The Purge on Elm street (this works especially well if your street’s name is Elm street!), 2 Hot Chicks Garage Sale, Gorgeous Granny’s Garage sale Or HUGE Divorce Garage sale (selling only HIS stuff)… You get the picture- Just keep it positive!
The BIGGER and the more you have out, the better. Put up a sign on your lawn a few days before (with the hours so people aren’t knocking on your door at 7am!) Add you address and arrows to every sign you put up on every street corner. Put your ad on Kijiji, Craigslist and Facebook on the Thursday before your weekend sale. Tell everyone what the sale is about – it could be mainly toys or housewares, but people want to know what kid of merchandise you have- you don’t have to write every piece, just the categories of stuff like; clothing, house wares, c.d’s, toys etc..
6. On the big day, it’s very important that everyone selling puts on a happy face and says hi to every customer. Yes we know it’s a lot of work, and you’ll probably be grumpy, but you do catch more flies with honey. If you’re more approachable, people will want to buy from you. Feel free to share stories of the items too. I bought audio c.d.’s from a woman who told me they really helped her when she lost her father to cancer. Wow- how could I not buy them after that story!?
7. Merchandise! There is an art to merchandizing. I’m convinced that people like to find that gem so they can brag about it to their friends. Use tables, chairs and other stands to make your sale seem somewhat organized, but not too organized! Put like items with like items. If you have a box of stuffed animals, or clothes, keep them in a big box and let people rummage, display a few cute ones and when they sell, take a few more out. Put one price on the box for all items. If the items are breakable, put them on a table. Don’t forget to move stuff around during the day, or add more items to the sale as you go, to keep the items interesting. It’s fine to keep small items in a box on the table to let people rummage through too.
8. Display – Put the coolest, most eye catching, and biggest items you want gone at the front of the driveway!
9. Price Tags -I generally price things as I go. I keep a roll of painters tape with a marker handy. If something isn’t priced and I really don’t know what I should price it at, I have had good luck saying ‘$5 bucks’ on smaller things I just want gone. If it’s something someone wants, they’ll take it, if they want to negotiate, there is wiggle room. If you start at a buck, then you’ve missed an opportunity to make a few more $$! If you find in your area that 5 bucks doesn’t work, then keep trying till you say a price people are willing to pay.
10. Price in Multiples –dishes, purses, clothes, books, – make one big sign and advertising “fill a bag for $5” or “5 books for $5.” this works especially well when you have a lot of the same types of things and you want a lot of it gone fast.
11. Start collecting change ahead of time. We usually have around $20.00 in change, coins and bills. Either wear a fanny pack, (yes I’m serious!) or have a secure box somewhere on the porch or somewhere else no one will wander up to. Take the bigger bills out and put them in the house as soon as you get a chance.
12. I let my kids sell water, lemonade, popcorn or cupcakes, only if they don’t abandon it half way through!
13. Be ready to negotiate. You’ll find that people may want to negotiate. If they want to negotiate, have your final price in your head and stick to it. Know your merchandise and feel confident you’re offering a good deal. If you offer a bulk discount, the more they buy, the more they save, and you get rid of more stuff. This tactic works well too. I don’t negotiate on some items because I know it’s a great deal and I could sell it on Kijiji or elsewhere. Be a confident seller. This goes for buying too, if you see something you want to buy- negotiate by being confident the price you’re offering is fair. No one wants to feel like they’re getting ripped off.
14. Slash prices as the day progresses. Write it directly on the price tags by crossing out the original price. Keep reducing until the last minute of the sale and practically gave things away!
15. Clean Up – take pictures of all the high-ticket items that didn’t sell, pull them back inside the garage and later post the pics, descriptions and price on Kijiji, or Craigslist, or other local market places. If you really want it gone, lower your price then you were asking at the garage sale. Pile everything else up in the car and drive it to your nearest thrift shop or schedule a pick up. You may even be able to get a tax slip so you can write off your donation. If it’s not a huge valuable piece, and the weather is nice, just bring it to the curb. Some people will take it, or bring it to the thrift shop for you.
16. Have no Regrets!! Be happy that you cleared out the things that didn’t bring you any joy anymore. Clean your house (when you’re not exhausted from the sale- it does take a lot out of you!) and revel in the extra space you have! You did great!