garage sale tips

Garage Sale Tips

March 9, 2015 0 Comments

Garage Sale Tips:

This week’s blog is on garage sale-ing. It’s an art, isn’t it? You can have a garage sale and make $20 or you can have a garage sale and make $2000. It’s all in how you do it! I can’t say that I’m an expert but with a little bit of planning and preparation you can make a garage sale a fantastic success!

The first step to a productive garage sale is cleaning out your house:

I am a minimalist. It drives my husband crazy! His motto is “have a pair and a spare”. That mentality, in my mind, equals clutter in a bad way! I have one of most things and that’s enough for me. I make it work for our family. It also simplifies my kitchen cabinets, closets, and just life in general. It’s so important to me to NOT have physical junk in our lives that affect us physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. I go through each closet, cabinet, and room with a fine tooth comb. If I haven’t used it in the last 6 months and it’s not a critical item (such as a shovel, Christmas decorations etc) then it goes in the garage sale pile. This obviously excludes sentimental items like my grandmother’s wedding dress. I won’t be using that within the next 6 months, but it means something to me! On this note, I am NOT a fan of knick knacks. I have a bunch of candles on the shelves in my house, but those are from my wedding and we have power outages often and they are practical and come in handy! Back on topic, little figurines and random “things” don’t have much of a place in my house. Why have those around?  If they don’t have sentimental value or practical value then I usually don’t want it in my home.
On that note: garage sales are a great way to declutter your home emotionally and physically. It’s also a way to make a few extra bucks for not a lot of work. That being said there is always a time to get rid of things in your home regardless of the money you’ll make from it. Don’t hold onto items just because you know you won’t be able to sell it for what you paid for it. You have to look at the emotional aspect. Maybe you have an old diamond promise ring from an ex-boyfriend that you’d been hanging into because “it might be worth something”. I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous. GET RID OF IT! Perhaps you have something from your great aunt myrtle, who’s been in glory for decades, that was purchased for a lot of money and you’re afraid that you won’t get near the purchase price for it. Well, guess what! YOU WON’T! Garage sales are not the place to be sentimental. It’s to declutter your house and your brain. Whatever you’re hanging on to is only worth something to you and most likely no one else. Furthermore, it’s only worth something to someone who knows what it is and the chances of that are just so slim. Take the financial hit and free yourself emotionally from the crap and cobwebs in your head!
Once I’ve gotten enough items for a good sized garage sale (I’m talking at least 5+ six-foot-tables worth). Then it’s time to advertise. I advertise A LOT! Redundancy never hurts here! I start with social media advertising. I use my personal facebook and also my county’s “buy, sell, trade” facebook site. If it’s a massive or multi-family sale I put the sale on craigslist also. I do this once a day for about a week before the garage sale starts. The DAY the garage sale starts I post again with pictures of our items all organized and set out on the tables and/or bins. I try to keep up on those posts for when people ask questions as far as pricing or times that we’re opening etc. Also, I make some signs to put up around time with neon colored poster board. I will put keywords on there to let people know what we have. Some big crowd drawer words for us have been “tools, clothes, kid toys, gear, kitchen items, movies, lots of misc”. I list maybe 5 items that I know people go to garage sales for. You don’t need to list everything you have in your garage sale. There’s not enough room on the poster for that. I post the signs on the major roads and highways around our small town. Also at some of the more frequented stores around town. Lastly, I’ll post signs on the some tree’s or light poles roughly leading to our street and make sure it’s obvious that it’s our house on that block that’s the garage sale house! We’re talking yard signs, balloons, anything flashy!

The next step for a garage sale is the organization of your items:

This seems so simple, but it’s so important to at least group like items together. Clothes on a rack or clothesline are the best option for those. Books together where you can see the titles or covers do better for us. Also any kitchen items together etc. It’s really as simple as like items together. It just makes it easier to shop! We, women, know the difference between shopping at Nordstrom’s versus shopping at Forever 21, which is the least organized store on the planet. It’s worst than a thrift store! The organization is vital.  It makes things easier to see for your customers! If they see one thing they like, they might pick up a few other related items.
The next step is pricing. I’ll make this step super easy. I DON’T PRICE ANYTHING! Well, that’s not completely true. If I’m selling large furniture or a nice flat screen TV then I will stick a price on there for a negotiating starting point, but for everything else, it’s simply “make me an offer”. Or better yet, “if you promise to take it home, we’ll find something that works for both of us”. Seriously, it’s that easy. Why spend hours pricing stuff when the customers are just going to haggle anyway?! It’s just a waste of time. We’ve noticed that by NOT pricing things that customers (most customers, you always have “those people” that want all your stuff for a nickel) will actually pay equal to or more than what I would have priced it at because they don’t want to be rude or low ball you. I rarely will make a counter offer to the customer’s initial offer. The reason for this is twofold. First, it’s usually more than I would have priced the items myself and if they’ll take it away from my house the price is just right. Second, when they realize that I’ll probably say yes to a price they usually grab more items to purchase! It’s a win-win situation.
Whatever doesn’t sell goes back into bins for the next garage sale or gets donated to the Vietnam Veterans Association. They’ll come to our house and pick it up within a week usually. We simply call them, package the items in bags or totes, put it on our driveway and suddenly it’s gone. What’s awesome about this option is that we get a tax deduction too! Just be sure to make a itemized list of what you’re donating along with the retail prices for it. The VVA people leave me a little card that says “yes I donated and it was picked up by so and so”. I attach the card to the itemized list and give it to my tax lady. Easy peasy!

Lastly, what do you do with the money?

Whatever you want! We normally put it in savings for a rainy day. We go out to dinner the day of the garage sale. Seriously, who has time to cook when you’re wheelin’ and dealin’? If there’s something that we’ve been needing or wanting that’s a little more expensive, then we might use some garage sale money for that also. We make sure NOT to waste the money. It’s not free money, but it’s money that we didn’t have to work very hard for. We always tithe off of our profits because we feel that’s what we should do.
I hope these garage sale tips help you have an easy and lucritive sale! Let me know how it works!


Nila Rhoades