Monday, May 12, 2014

༺ How To Throw A Successful Garage Sale ༻

Last weekend I threw my first ever garage sale, and I rather like to think it was a success. The first day was wonderfully busy, the second dismally slow, but thankfully we got rid of at least 2/3 of the goods we had out for sale. Plus, we made just over $1,100.00 from our sales! Yay!!

So here’s my little list of tips and hints ~ things I learnt for next time.  Hopefully they might help you if you decide to throw a sale yourself.

How To Throw A Successful Garage Sale | Lavender & Twill

Tips On How To Throw A Garage Sale


      Put up signs! Lots of signs!

      It’s best if you can post signs on main traffic thorough ways to “divert” traffic to your sale. Don’t forget to add signs at crossroads and T junctions to point the way so that people don’t get confused as to which way to go. The signs can just be cardboard and marker, that is usually sufficient. You can also print out A4 posters to hang on community notice boards and local shop windows.

      ~ Make clear signs

      Remember that these signs are probably going to be mostly read by drivers, so they must be clear and concise. Use extra thick text, a super fat marker or paint, and keep the message short and simple so that it’s easy to take in. On my main signs I just put:
      Garage Sale
      (when it was being held)
      Time (if it fits and you want too)

      On my directing signs I wrote:
      Garage Sale
      This Way  --->
        (giant arrow pointing in the left/right direction to my house)

      ~ Check the signs

      If you are going to hold the sale over two days, make sure to go check your signs are still up and pointing the right way. We had quite a few of our signs spin around in the wind, and one had fallen down. It could be a good thing to check them after the first day to make sure your signs are still effective.

      ~ Use balloons

      These will catch the eyes of people driving by. You don’t need to put them up at every sign, just the main ones and at your venue.

      ~ Online ads

      Advertise with your local notice boards; Craigslist if you are in the US ~ Gumtree and All Classifieds if you are in Australia like me. Don’t forget to see if there is a garage sale register you can sign up with { for us Aussies!}, and Facebook can be a great way to bring over your friends. You could also Tweet the details of your sale at your local Council; we didn’t do this, but I wish I had!


      ~  Pick your dates

      Try to avoid public holidays, because everyone goes away, and keep an eye on the weather.  I started going through my house, shed and garage three weeks before our chosen weekend gathering up stuff to sell.  We also decided to host the sale on a Friday and Saturday. It was a bold move ~ I wasn’t sure that anyone would come, but as I said before, we did the majority of our sales on the Friday, and hardly any on the Saturday, so there you are!

      ~  Stockpile your goods

      Put everything you want to sell in the one room so that it’s easy to lay out when you are ready to sell. Try to keep small things together in boxes so that they don’t get scattered everywhere. Remember ~ anything and everything can be put out for sale! I sold a lot of stuff I didn’t think I would ~ I had a box of overflowing office supplies that pretty much all went to my surprise.

      I even sold a canvas I’d painted when a lady saw it sitting out for the rubbish bin.  She loved it, and gave me twice as much as the asking price for it when she wanted to know how much it was.  That was easily the highlight of my garage sale I can tell you!

      ~ Pricing

      Think about what you want to sell your items for. You have to forget about how much you paid for them originally and think about how much they are worth right now, as they are. Also, if you think you have some valuable items, do some research and price them accordingly.  Plus, don’t forget that sometimes a little cash for an item is better than having to take it to the tip. So don’t hesitate to go low to sell out!

      ~  Clean up

      Clean up any goods that are dirty or dusty, and clean up your venue so that it’s easy to lay out your stuff.  Also remember to put away anything that’s not for sale. It’s easier than have to tag it all “Not for Sale”.

      Also, consider what you will do with your leftover items. You are not going to sell everything, and if you have furniture leftover you might need to organize a trailer to haul the stuff away. You can take the goods to your local recycling centre, to a charity shop, or to the tip.

      ~ Invite your neighbours

      See if your neighbours, or your family and friends want to join in the fun! The more the merrier! You may want to think about how you will organize the items, or split the proceeds however, as you will want to make sure everyone gets their fair profit from their item sales.

      ~ Petty Cash

      Go to your bank and withdraw enough Petty Cash to get you through the day. You will need notes ~ mostly 20s, 10s, and 5s and of course gold coins and silver change. Make sure your record how much you have of what so that you can know how much profit you make! I carried my petty cash in a handbag that closed up so that no-one could dip into it.

      Day Before:

      ~  Put up all your signs and make sure they won’t slip or fall. Packaging tape works quite well here.  It’s also a good idea to place the signs further back from corners or traffic lights so that people driving by have enough time to read the sign and change direction if they are not already coming your way.

      ~  Put out your larger pieces to sell ~ furniture, hardware, etc, around the edge of your venue so that they are easy to see and then organise your smaller pieces in the middle. On a table is best, but if you don’t have one available, a groundsheet is a good idea so that things are easy to see and won’t get grubby. Don’t forget to cover anything that shouldn’t get damp with a tarp if you are leaving it out over night.

      ~ Arrange your goods.  Try to group similar goods together; electronics, knick-knacks, china, household goods, books, etc. It’s also best to hang clothes up so that they are easy to browse through. Put small valuable items out close to you. We had an HTC Legend mobile phone for sale ~ only $10.00, but somebody decided that they didn’t want to pay even that and stole it, which I found a bit upsetting!

      ~  Price tag.  You may or may not want to go through and price tag your goods.  I did, and I found it helpful, but in some cases it’s easier just to put a sign on the larger items, or a notice on a box, such as “$1.00 each item” etc. If you do price tag, remember that you might have to lower the prices towards the end of your sale so that you can sell. The more you sell the better ~ after all, that means less to clean up when you are done, and more cash in your pocket.

      ~ Make arrangements for pets. You don’t want dogs running around amongst your customers, so either keep them inside, or perhaps send them to a friend’s house for the day. Babysitting might also be necessary depending on the ages of your children.

      On The Day:

      ~  Get up EARLY! You can put out a big “OPEN” sign next to all your “Garage Sale HERE” signs! Hang up your balloons and any signs you might need to point people around the back if you are holding the garage out in your back yard. However, it is probably better to hold it out the front it you can.

      ~ Expect early buyers; I think most of these are dealers usually; they may show up before you are ready to open, so be prepared and don’t let them fluster you as they race around picking out the best stuff you have for sale and trying to get as cheap as humanly possible.

      ~ Keep your house locked. You don’t want people randomly wandering around inside your home!

      ~ Be ready to negotiate ~ my favourite line was “What are you prepared to pay for it?” That way you can hopefully start some haggling.

      ~  Keep arranging your goods about so that there are no ‘empty’ spaces and everything is clearly on display.

      ~  Be friendly, but let buyers have the space to browse and take their time.

      ~  Lastly, enjoy yourself! It can get hectic, boring, disappointing, and exciting all in the same day, so have fun with it.  : )


      ~ Take down all your signs; you can get fined in Australia for littering if you leave them up.

      ~ Take away your leftover items.

      ~ Count your cash and see how much money you made!

      So that’s what I learned about hosting a garage sale. It was definitely worth all the work ~ we cleared out a lot of stuff from our house, and it’s great to be free of all the clutter.

      If you have any tips, or your own garage sale stories to add, please do comment!



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      1. Excellent advice! That is an incredibly good profit to make on a yard sale. Wow!!! Congrats! We're planning to hold one on the last weekend of this month - my first in a decade and Tony's first either (as they're next to unheard of in Italy, where he grew up) and I'll be elated to make $150.00 from it. (I'll let you know afterwards how we did there.)

        ♥ Jessica

        1. Ooh, best of luck Jessica! I hope your garage sale goes super well.... :)




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