by Danny Rodgers
(San Diego, California, USA)
you too can have a garage like this!
Garage sales are a fun way to make some extra money, get rid of old stuff you no longer use and help the environment by recycling. But, to have a successful garage sale it takes hard work and planning. It’s easier if you involve your family. Many hands make light work, you know.
Invite your neighbors or friends to bring their items over and to help set up. The more things you have for sale the more potential customers you’ll attract. Plus, they can help with the advertising costs, sign placement, price marking and just keeping an eye on the money and the merchandise.
Start with accumulating items long before you have a garage sale if possible. That’s not to say a spur of the moment sale won’t be successful as well. Place things for sale to one side where you won’t have to be looking for them on the day of the sale. Go ahead and write the price on a sticker and put it in plain view, not on the bottom. The more things you get done ahead of time, the more you’ll enjoy the day.
Check your community for required permits. Most towns require a permit but the cost is minimal. Place an ad in the newspaper and save money by keeping it brief. If you do have a specialty item, go ahead and mention it and don’t leave out the address of the sale. It’s been done many times.
Signs can bring extra traffic to your sale because not everyone reads the paper. Make sure your sign is readable and not too flexible. If it bends in the wind, people won’t be able to read it. The same goes for small print. Write in large, bold letters. Obtain permission to place your sign if it’s on private property. Some cities prohibit garage sale signs anywhere. You should also place flyers on community bulletin boards.
Hide or cover anything that’s not for sale. Be friendly but let them shop and buy. Prices should be about a quarter of what it cost new, as a rule of thumb. Be careful about putting too much sentimental value in the price.
You want to earn extra money but if you don’t want the item anyway, sell it and not have to re-store it. In pricing, remember you can always go down but not up. Be fair on pricing and expect bargaining. Always be truthful on the condition of an item. It’s best to point out any flaws before the purchase.
Don’t have a garage sale on a holiday weekend. Try to pick a weekend that good weather is forecast. Too hot or too wet can ruin your chances of making money. Display merchandise attractively. Don’t pile everything on top of each other where customers have to waste time digging.
Place a few interesting items near the roadway. Light music is okay but not too loud. Guard your money and watch for shoplifters. Most people are honest and rarely is there a problem. By the way, have plenty of change on hand along with plenty of bags for purchased items.
When the sale is over count your money and take down any signs you’ve put in people’s yard or on the roadways. Remember as the old saying goes, “One man’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Almost everyone, rich and poor, spends money at garage sales.