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Thread: Garage Sale Tips?

  1. #1
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    Garage Sale Tips?

    Hubby and I have decided to downsize and purchased a smaller house. As a result, we are having our first garage sale. I have been to a couple of garage sales so I know to price items very cheaply, but any other tips? How should I display the sale items? What sells best? What should I have on hand for customers?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member Tink's Mom's Avatar
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    Have plenty of newspaper and recycled grocery bags on hand to wrap up breakables and other purchases.
    Make sure you have enough change. With the advent of cash machines, most people have $20's for even a $2 purchase.

    Make a sign with a mylar balloon for customers to locate your home easily...
    Other than that, a smile is always wonderful.
    Tink's Mom (My name is really Susie)

  3. #3
    Super Member Billi's Avatar
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    Things I find helpful

    Advertise on Craig's list

    Price cheaply but not so cheap you are not willing to deal everybody will ask for a lower price.

    Hang as many clothes as possible and have a blanket price on them ie all jeans $5 all button down $2.00 dresses?

    Put breakables, anything you think is worth more and electronics on tables.

    Try to group like items together kitchen item, linens, kids toys and games, electronics.

    Anything you want more than $5 on put a sticker on it.

    If you are selling functunal electrical items, toasters, radios, fans have a power cord available so you can show how well it works.

    Day of sale have a lot of smaller bills 1's 5's 10's even a 20 or two that way you won't loose early morning sales or have to reduce your price because you don't have change.

    Good luck have fun I'm sure you will get a lot more tips and ideas.
    Billi
    It's never too late to have a happy childhood

  4. #4
    DJ
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    Don't try to give anything away for free. I once had a perfectly good laundry tub that DH was adamant that we get rid of. I put a free sign on it. One gentleman really wanted it but wanted to know what was wrong with it because it was free. After a lengthy discussion, I wasn't able to give it to him, so I said "Okay, I'll take $1 for it." He bought it. LOL

    Hope it's successful for you!

  5. #5
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    Make sure you check everything so you leave no valuables behind in drawers and such. Pockets; check for change and receipts that may have any valuable information. My sister uses shirt box lids (old ones) to keep clothes displayed on tables in order. She attaches cardboard tags so people know sizes. She also keeps male clothing separate from female whether on a rack or a box. She keeps sm, med, and lg bags separate. At the end of (last day) she has a bag sale. $2 bag, Paper bags same. Often she takes a photo of a piece with the tag price and keeps record of it. You can do this with your phone. People will swap tags. Try to have an extra person or 2 to help with the sale. Go online and check some of your more valuable pieces and see what ebay may be selling them at. If some one says I can go on ebay and get it for this price, just tell them they don't have to pay for shipping since you can put it in their hot little hand today. I had a 3rd seat from a Suburban a co worker wanted. Good shape few people sat in it. He asked what we wanted for it and I said $100.00 after hubby saw it online for $75. Ours was in much better shape and the guy had his hot little hand on it. He paid the $100.00 and we immediately loaded it into his truck. Cover anything you don't want to sell. Don't be afraid to put a sign up stating "Restrooms unavailable to public" They will ask. Good luck and hope this helps.

  6. #6
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    Restroom. I don't think so. Just watch people. they will take things, believe it or not.
    keep small items near you when possible. watch kids. watch their parents. sad way to sell things, but one must. tags will help a lot, since you can't remember what everything was priced for. My SIL wants to pay no more than a dollar for anything. So good luck!

  7. #7
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    If possible mark on the sticker what the items are so they can't switch tickets. Have every thing up on tables if possible. Use a carpenter apron for your sales so you don't leave money laying around. Have an extension cord out to try any electric items. Box up a lot of little items you don't want to price individually and mark the price on the box. Have plastic sheets available to cover stuff in case of rain if you are not in the garage. If in the garage, make sure the door to the house is locked.
    Put signs out at the corners of your road if allowed. If you do put an add in the paper, be prepared for early birds knocking at the door before you are ready.

  8. #8
    Super Member NikkiLu's Avatar
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    Watch your money box (or whatever you keep your money in). My DD was helping a lady at her garage sale and all of a sudden their money box (a cigar box) was missing. HTH
    Nikki in MO

  9. #9
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    Plenty of change and smaller bills (and periodically take money into the house), keep the house locked/no restroom, have more than one person there, make it look inviting, make it easy for people to see what you have (be it clothes, dishes, records, books), drag stuff out of the garage where it's easier to see, put some of the bigger nicer stuff out in front so people just driving by are attracted to your sale, don't overprice your stuff, plenty of bags/newspaper for packing, be willing to take offers. Furniture is hard to sell because it's big and people have to get it loaded up and take it home. People don't want sets of dishes anymore. Fabric has always done well for me. Holiday items didn't sell as well as I thought they might. Books have always done well for us.

    We've had many sales, made decent amounts of money a few times and vowed we'd never do it again! (Sorry). A few years ago we had a sale, had MANY people walk through, had really good prices and people were looking for specific things like collectibles of certain things like matchbox cars or Barbie or Star Wars. The first day, always, we've had dealers swoop in right away and take anything that could be put into a flea market or antique mall. When the weekend came, it was families looking for usable items (so that's good). But when it gets to the point you have good turnout and good prices and only make a couple hundred dollars, it's not worth it for us anymore. It's a lot of work to get it all organized. I've mostly seen nice people at my sales. I don't have any memories of anyone trying to rip me off or take anything. But I do sit where I can see everything/everyone. Kids are cute when they come and have their own money.

    Have fun! And good luck to you!
    Lori

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  10. #10
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    My best friend who lives in Oregon is trying to get stuff ready for a garage sale including fabric. Thanks for the post. She is a member here but I am sending her all this info.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  11. #11
    Super Member KalamaQuilts's Avatar
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    If you are doing fabric price it by the pound and have sacks to put it in as they gather. $2.00 a pound is the going price around here.

    use or make an apron with pockets, tool aprons are good, keep your money there and take the excess in the house ever so often so you aren't pulling wads out in your hands.

    Good signage from every direction with something that makes yours stand out, 3 balloons or red neckties or something.
    The further ones only need to say MOVING or ESTATE or whatever you are calling them. Within 3 blocks they should have the address. Look at some signs this weekend on a little drive and tell me how many you see that you can read

    If you can get a couple of neighbors to do one the same time it will really bring traffic up. (on their own property)
    Be friendly friendly friendly to every person that comes by, if nothing else but approaching them and saying good morning. Then leave them alone Friends that ignore traffic and sit around chatting to each cost themselves a lot of lost sales. Your sale may not be Macy's, but each person who stops is a potential paying customer.

    Friday 8-5 or later if you are in a high traffic area
    Saturday 8-4
    Sunday if at all 8 to noon, 1/2 price on everything.

    Don't let the dealers talk you into letting them in early. Yes, they need stock for their shops but what have they ever done for you that the customers there on time haven't?

    Don't pack the stuff left, back in the house. Pack it up and take it to donation

  12. #12
    Power Poster ube quilting's Avatar
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    See if you can search Martha Stewart for garage sale info. Years ago she had a great article on setting up a sale.

    Make it like a party, have some fun music playing.

    If you are selling anything that uses electricity, including lamps have a extension cord ready at that table so people can see stuff working.

    Make sure anything glass is clean, You would be surprised what people will buy if it looks cared for.

    Keep like things together.

    Make pricing easy for you. I found it best to wear a carpenters apron w/ pockets so you don't have to keep going to one spot and not be able to keep your eye on the money.

    If it is going to be a nice day, have some coolers with canned drinks and even if you priced it just to pay for it, people appreciate your thoughtfulness.

    Have good signs posted the week before.

    It is a lot of work, just remember your goal, to get rid of "stuff". Everything that goes is a good thing!

    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  13. #13
    Super Member donnalynett's Avatar
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    Don't place knives, scissors or other sharp objects low enough for a child to grab. Charge "early birds" double. I prefer to start the sale at 7am because they are going to be there at 7am if you advertise you are open at 8am. 7am - 3pm works great for me but I just couldn't handle more than a 2-day sale. If you are selling earrings, cut an index card in half and insert the posts through the card. It makes it much easier to display the earrings and the pair doesn't get separated. Good luck and have fun!

  14. #14
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    ditto on keeping your money ON you in an apron, instead of a cash box. I did a lot of flea markets and always did it that way. Large bills went into my pants pockets, ones and change in the apron.

  15. #15
    Super Member Sandygirl's Avatar
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    Expect to be aggravated that your belongings are notworth much at a garage sale and that everyone will want to pay Less. Too much work and time spent for little $$$ . I, frankly, hate garage sales.

    Enjoy! And good luck.
    sandy
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  16. #16
    Super Member Twisted Quilter's Avatar
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    I usually have a couple of garage sales a year, so I pretty much have this down to a science.

    Start pricing items 2-3 weeks prior to the sale.

    Buy matching tablecloths at the Dollar Store to make items more appealing. Yard sign & balloons are a must have.

    Restroom routine...NEVER, NEVER, NEVER! Politely direct them to the nearest gas station or McDonald's.

    Try to have someone working with you, one to answer questions and collect money, the other to watch for shoplifters.

    Mark down items about 2 hours before closing, unless you don't mind keeping them. If you don't want your leftovers, post an ad on Craigslist 'Garage Sale Leftovers', must take all. Box everything up and wait for a response.

    Pack a lunch the night before and try to enjoy the experience.
    If you choose the behavior, you accept the consequences...Dr. Phil

  17. #17
    Super Member Podunk Princess's Avatar
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    Most things have been covered already by others, but I wanted to add a comment. We lived in the Sun City area for many years before we retired and some of your buyers will be "different" than those found in other parts of the country. One method of "shopping" that was used most often by buyers is to arrive in groups (especially family-aged groups) and spread out over your sale area. That way they are able to distract you in one area while another person in their group helps himself to things for free. Unfortunately, having extra helpers is almost a must for yard sales these days. Hope your sale goes well and you make lots of $$$$$.
    Miss Rita

  18. #18
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    Have a spotter...a friend or relative that will walk among a group as if shopping too, that way it will help in stealing, sorry to say but it happens..

  19. #19
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    What I did was list everything on CL. I made lots of some things (ex. a box of cloth, 10 shirts etc.) and listed big ticket items separately. You will be surprised how far people will drive for a 5 or 10 dollar item. It took a little longer but I didn't have anything stolen (including money). I never listed my phone number, I could weed out people from their emails and only dealt with people I wanted too. Of course, I never set appointments for when I was home alone and I also said to bring correct change because I did not keep any cash at home. If I were going to really be selling a lot of valuables I would use a company that handles estate sales. It will surprise you how many people come to yard sales to steal.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Onetomatoplant's Avatar
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    I don't have anything to add to all the wonderful advice you're getting, but I have a rule for my garage sales - it never comes back in the house. At the end of the sale, I load whatever didn't sell goes into my truck and straight to Good Will, the second-hand shop, whatever. Also, if you're on Facebook, check to see if there's a buy-sell-trade page for your area. You can ask to join the group and advertise your garage sale on there. It's also a good place to advertise anything that's more high dollar than the rest of your stuff.

    have fun!
    I love the smell of Best Press in the morning!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Cagey's Avatar
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    I put all fabric items (clothes, upholstered furniture, and more valuable items in the garage in case of rain or wind. I try to put as much stuff on the driveway so it is very visible to cars driving by. Makes a small amount look like a lot.

  22. #22
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    I don't have garage sales -- I just keep a box in the house and when I find something I don't want anymore I put it in the box. When it is full I take it to Salvation Army or Boys Club and donate. I don't make any money but I don't have the aggravation of a garage sale.

  23. #23
    Super Member DebbieJJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nammie to 7 View Post
    I don't have garage sales -- I just keep a box in the house and when I find something I don't want anymore I put it in the box. When it is full I take it to Salvation Army or Boys Club and donate. I don't make any money but I don't have the aggravation of a garage sale.
    I wish! My DH loves nothing better than going to -- AND having -- yard sales. He's wanting me to advertise one right now, but I keep putting it off. We're just not ready to have one yet, and I don't plan on being ready for a looong time!
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  24. #24
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Maybe if your items did not sell at a garage sale, you should re-think donating them to a thrift shop. Do a little sorting first and throw out the things no one will want. Only donate the really good stuff. Saves the thrift shop from having to throw them out.

  25. #25
    Super Member quilter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandygirl View Post
    Expect to be aggravated that your belongings are notworth much at a garage sale and that everyone will want to pay Less. Too much work and time spent for little $$$ . I, frankly, hate garage sales.

    Enjoy! And good luck.
    sandy
    I'm with you Sandy, garage sales are so much work and people want you to give the things to them for almost nothing, then there is the theft issue. Save the aggravation and donate to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.
    Some towns have a furniture bank that will pick up furniture and give you a tax receipt. The items go to families who are in need. I did that, it felt better than selling my sofa for $5, and I got a $200 tax receipt.
    At the end of the day with a garage sale, you have washed and packed and stored the stuff and negotiated with people for the day and there is not much to show for it.
    'He cannot be a gentleman which loveth not a dog' -John Northbrooke
    Try to be as nice a person as your dog thinks you are.

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