Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring Cleaning: Garage Sale Tips

Every April, our neighborhood has a garage sale.  Last year we decided to participate for the first time, and we sold a lot of stuff. I admit that I was actually surprised.  Added bonus: it was nice to meet a lot of our neighbors while making some extra cash.  Since this was our second year participating, I have learned a lot about the do's and don'ts of a successful sale.  In case you are thinking about having one yourself, here is my wisdom.  

1) Make your house easily identifiable.  Balloons do the trick.

2) A surprising amount of people will try to pay with large bills, and hope that you have cash to make change.  Decide if you are going to accept large bills (and please, buy yourself a counterfeit money pen so you can check them out right away).  Also, start off with about $25 in singles and $15 in five dollar bills so you can make change.

3) There are special garage sale stickers that you can buy.  I got mine from CVS.  Some are blank, while others are for 25 cents up through $3.  They make pricing everything so much easier.

4) Have a comfortable place to sit in the shade.  You will have a lot of downtime as people come and go.  The chairs below have drink holders and a built in cooler.  Their inventor deserves a high five.

5)  This goes without saying, have lots of water to keep you hydrated.  Also, a bowl of water for people coming around with dogs is a nice touch.  We have a lot in our neighborhood.

6)  Have an extension cord available for people looking to try out electrical items your are selling.  Buyers are often hesitant to purchase items that that can't see for themselves actually work.  

7)  A fabric covered cork board makes a great display for jewelry you are trying to sell.   

8)  My husband had a fantastic idea for a makeshift clothing rack.  He positioned a 6 foot dowel on the corner of two fences, and it worked perfectly.  I tried to arrange the clothing by color to make it more appealing.  I also saved a bunch of hangers from the dry cleaners to serve as light-weight hangers that wouldn't take up much room.  I gave them away as people asked to keep them.

9)  This last tip is important.  Decide if you are having a sale to make money or to get rid of things you no longer want.  It will help you determine how to price things and how much you are willing to haggle. Everyone is looking for a deal, and while most people are reasonable, there will always be the one who offers you a quarter for a $10 item.  Know what you will accept.  

A little bit of curb appeal from my front yard.  I am really happy with the way it is turning out.  I hope to have more pictures as the season progresses.

Do you participate in or rummage through garage sales?  What is the best thing you have ever found?  What about the weirdest?  Do you have any tips as either a buyer or a seller?


Adele said...

This sounds such a fab idea! Hope it was a success!
Have a fab Tuesday Hun xoxo

Emmy said...

Wonderful tips, Erin. I've been wanting to have a garage sale for the longest time to get rid of stuff, and these are awesome ideas. Thanks for posting.:)

Kristina said...

Good tips. Our town does only one garage sale day per year and I really wanted to do it this year but it falls on the day before our wedding. Looks like I'll have to refer back to this post next April too!

rooth said...

This is so strange but I always wanted to have a garage sale. Even when I was little, my cousins and I would have a faux garage sale that no one would come to just to do it. Thanks for the tips and what a great way to clean house

thecoffeehouse said...

nice curb appeal! we need to have a garage sale so bad. i am dreading putting stickers on everything though. i kind of just want to say "$1 for everything".

Stephanie said...

I haven't had a garage sale since I graduated from college but it was nice to get rid of a lot of crap that me and my roommates had accumulated. I always hit up garage sales hoping to find a hidden gem and I just never have any luck! Maybe I need to come to yours next year ... :)

Heather said...

Great tips! We had family-wide garage sales a couple times when I was a kid, and I remember once buying a great shelf my cousin was getting rid of. Good times!

Blond Duck said...

I've been spring cleaning all month!

E said...

I love shopping at garage sales, but have never had one. Glad yours was a success!

Sizzle and Zoom said...

Right on hints for a great garage sale. Have had several and still love stopping for one.

strat said...

I bookmarked your blog for reference. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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