Thursday, May 28, 2009

Garage Sale 101

Okay, if you know me personally, you know that I am a garage sale junky! I love to get great deals on my kid's clothes, toys and even strollers at garage sales. I have purchased a few clothing items for my husband and myself at garage sales, but I have found that thrift stores are usually better for adult clothes. And for small appliances, garage sales are the best! Everyone gets stuff as presents that they don't really want and they are willing to part with it for cheap!

Why am I sharing this with you? It's because I am having a garage sale this weekend! My friend and I decided to go together and sell all of the stuff we can't stand to look at anymore! She is selling tons of kid's cloths and I'm selling tons of kid's toys. Making the extra money will be nice, but frankly, I really just want to get rid of the clutter!

Because I've spent sooooo much time digging through strangers stuff at garage sales, I consider myself something of a garage sale expert. So, I have come up with 10 tips for you to use at your next garage sale:

1. Clean your stuff! I will NOT pay much for dirty toys. I understand that most of the stuff in garage sales have recently been in storage, but I'm not going to buy things that are dirty and covered in spider webs.

2. Put in batteries that work. I know that people usually don't want to spend money to make money, but I promise you, people are more likely to buy stuff or even pay more money for it if they know it actually works. Have an extension cord ready to plug in small appliances so people can make sure they work too.

3. Take your stuff out of the bins! I, like you, store all my kid's clothes that don't currently fit them in bins. I understand that it is very easy just to grab bins and throw them in the driveway, but you will not make as much money this way. If you don't have enough tables to put everything on, go to the store and buy a tarp and put the clothes on the ground (arranged by size and gender, of course!). People are more likely to buy more when they can see everything.

4. I'm not going to pay retail prices! I have been to so many yard sales when they were selling their used kids clothes at the same price I can buy them in the store for! I'm not going to pay $8 for a pair of 12 month jeans (especially when they are stained)! It's just not going to happen! I don't want to hear how you paid $30 for them and what a great bargain this is. Standard garage sale pricing is 10% of the original cost. Take into account wear and tear into the price. If it's an outfit in great condition, you can go slightly over the 10% mark, if it's really been worn hard, go under the mark. If you just want to sell the stuff to get it out of your hair, sell everything for $.50 or $1 or even do a "stuff a bag for $5" sale. I ALWAYS buy more when I can fill a bag.

5. Have prices easy to find. I understand that you don't want to make every single t-shirt with the price. But if you have a lot of something you don't want to individually put a price on, then hang up signs. Make the font large and make them easy to understand. (Okay, I just have to share that I went to a yard sale a few weeks ago that they lady had actually attached a 3x5 index card to EVERYTHING with what it was, size, original retail price, how many times it was used or worn and what specific even it was used or worn for if it was only used once, needless to say, I didn't buy anything from her because she didn't follow tip #4. She was actually selling boys t-shirts, worn for $10, umm, no.)

6. Have plenty of small bills on hand. I couldn't tell you how many times people have not been able to make change at yard sales. I usually have small bills with me because I know I'll be yard saleing, but on the random week day sale I happen across sometimes people can't make change so they lose my sale.

7. ADVERTISE! It is so easy to advertise for free now! Garage Sale Cow is my current addiction. You go there, type in your zip code and click on the yard sales you want to go to and it maps it all out from your house to every sale and back to your house! BEST WEB SITE EVER!!! (Excluding Saving Sherry of course!) Post it on Craig's List in your area. Do you have a bulletin board at work? Do any of your friends? I have a couple of friends who put my garage sale on their electronic bulletin boards at work for me.

8. Put up signs! I HATE garage saleing around my parents house. I don't know why but everyone thinks that I know my way around every subdivision in their area. They will put a sign at the front of their subdivision with the address of the sale and there won't be anymore signs anywhere. I don't psychically know that I need to make 2 rights followed by a left, then another right to get to 134 Chestnut Street. Put a sign at every turn along the way to your house, and if you go more than 2 or 3 blocks without turning, tell me I'm still on the right path and to keep going straight! The easier you make it to find your sale, the more likely I am to go.

9. Feel free to ask. If someone is digging through clothes or looking only at electronics, ask them if they are looking for something specific. Sometimes they are looking for something you have, but they aren't looking in the right place.

10. Don't be rude. Understand going into your sale that people are going to offer less for everything you are selling. Do not be offended. Sell it for less if you feel comfortable, if you think they are not offering you enough, meet them in the middle. You can always just say "No." But please be nice about it! You may have an emotional attachment to that lawn mower because it is the first one you ever owned, but Jim from the lawn mowing company only sees a really old lawn mower that is going to need work to keep it running, he's not trying to offend you, he just wants to get the best deal he can for his money.

Well, I hope those are some tips you can put into effect for your next garage sale. Do you have a great tip? Let me know! I can use all the tips I can get this weekend!