Some people plan on having a garage sale to downsize or get rid of items that they no longer love prior to listing their homes or once they sell their home. If this is something you are considering, here are some practical tips on having a Garage Sale/Moving Sale:
You can advertise your Garage Sale on Facebook and Kijiji for free, however you may want to look at advertising in the local newspaper as well.
Arrange for your classified listings to run on the day(s) of your garage sale and on the day before. Some bargain hunters plan their outings a day in advance. Be sure to include the actual date of your sale so you don’t get people on the wrong day. Also make sure you don’t advertise too early, as the bargain hunters may forget about your sale if it is too far in the future.
Listing your garage sale as a Moving Sale or an Estate Sale (if that is the case), will gain higher priority on the garage sale shoppers routes as they typically have more and better merchandise to offer than regular garage sales. Think about listing your garage sale with additional resources, such as community message boards and church bulletins. One of the many services I offer my clients is advertising of their garage sale on my Facebook Page as well as on this website.
Pricing Your Items
Pricing your items can be one of the most time consuming details of hosting a garage sale, it can also be one of the most crucial. If you set the prices too high, your items won’t sell. If your prices are too low, you will lose money you could have made. To make the process a little easier, here are a few suggestions for garage sale pricing:
Why not let the shopper suggest a price to you? If someone is interested in something and ask you the price, ask them what they are willing to pay for it, you may just be surprised and have saved a lot of time and energy not placing masking tape stickers on everything!
If someone appears to be interested in an item, but maybe too shy to ask, you could always suggest a price to them. For any larger ticket items (such as furniture), you can always research ahead of time so that you have an idea what to charge. There are many websites that can help you on pricing for a garage sale.
If you choose to price your items individually, use a fine-point marker to write your prices, it’s easier to read than pen and stickers are nicer than masking tape. Check your local dollar store for stickers, and who knows, you may even find some preprinted ones!
Place similar items on a table together. Make a simple sign with big lettering that says “Books $1 each” or whatever price you’ve set. Be mindful of placing stickers on anything paper (books, old magazines, old album covers), the sticker may actually damage the cover.
Assume you will get bargain hunters out that will want to haggle prices. Keep this in mind with big ticket items, and price them higher to factor that in. Anything that you are not willing to negotiate the prices on, write “firm” on the price sticker.
When you are getting your items ready for sale, make sure you check all hidden places. We have all placed money in pockets or in drawers, make sure you find them before your bargain hunters do, or they might get a better deal than you had offered!
The Day of Your Garage Sale
Wake up early, make a pot of coffee and give yourself at least an hour before the garage sale starts to set everything out and put up your signs.
Organize similar items together so they are easier to spot. If you have a lot of a particular item, “buy 3, get 1 free” is a great selling feature.
If your garage sale is hard to spot from the street, place a sign in front of your house so people can find you.
Another one of the services that I offer my clients is the use of three Garage Sale signs for the day of their event.
Once you are set up, take a deep breath and get ready for the action!
The Big Event
People see garage sales as an interactive shopping experience. They will want to ask questions, they will want to bargain and they may want to socialize. Be prepared, they will probably want to pick up all of your breakable treasures too!
Position your chair so that you can easily spot people walking up and make sure you greet them as they approach. Saying a quick hello makes them more comfortable about standing in your driveway and going through your personal items. They will also be more likely to buy from a friendly face over someone that may be reading or on their cell phones.
If parents with small children come to your garage sale, finding something to give the kids for no charge or throwing in freebies for people who buy a lot of stuff will build goodwill and may earn you an extra sale from those who are watching. Also if someone is mildly interested, if you throw in something for free, they will usually buy.
Safety – Keep your house locked during your garage sale and keep your money and your phone with you at all times.
After the Big Event
You’re going to have leftover items, the issue is what do you do with them?
You can always just put it all on the curb with a free sign, or consider taking the leftovers to a Goodwill or other value store. There is also many companies that will pick up donations for free. It is good to consider what you will do with the remnants before the big day.
If you have large items left over, like a couch or a TV set, consider advertising them on Facebook or Kijiji.
After it is All Said and Done
Garage sales can be a benefit in many ways, they help you clear out the clutter from your home, they have the potential to make some money, and they appeal to the environmentally friendly by keeping good items out of the landfills. When you hold a garage sale you also encourage reusing and recycling old materials. You can achieve all this and possibly meet some new friends as you enjoy the sun and fresh air.
If you have some garage sales tips that have worked for you and would like to share, please post in the comments below.
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