Okay, maybe my title is a little misleading... because I don't really think having a garage sale is easy. But, I should tell you that I have a few hang-ups with garage sales--my own, in particular.
And, I am SMACK DAB in the middle of a week that involves lots and lots of junk and clutter being artfully arranged on tables in preparation for a big garage sale this Saturday. That's right--you local folks--please bring BIG TRUCKS and a WAD OF CASH and we will make you a DEAL! We will trade our JUNK for YOUR HARD-EARNED CASH!!! It's a deal of a lifetime!!!
Oh, but back to my garage sale hang-ups. I could write a whole month of posts about my garage sale hang-ups, but that wouldn't necessarily be helpful to anyone...but me. (Heaven knows I could use some free therapy!) So, you know what? I'll compromise and show you a few pictures at the end of this post that might help illustrate to you my GSHU, Garage Sale Hang-Ups.
But, FIRST, I'd love to tell you some of the TRICKS my husband and I have learned through the years that have made our garage sales WILDLY SUCCESSFUL. These tricks really will help make the process of setting up your garage sale MUCH EASIER, and help MAXIMIZE YOUR PROFITS.
I believe that is also called, "A bang for your buck." ...Or in this case--a buck for your junk!
So, here goes! How to have an easy, but wildly successful garage sale:
1. Don't throw anything away. One man's trash is another man's treasure. You can always box everything up at the end of the day, and donate it to your favorite charity. You will be surprised at some of the junk that will sell! To spice things up (and in my opinion, selling my junk in my driveway needs LOTS of spicing), sometimes my husband and I will vote on which crazy items will sell...and for how much money.
2. Don't spend days and hours sticking price tags on things. Our strategy is to begin grouping like items together early the week of the sale. The week of the sale, we park our cars outside the garage, and set up as many tables as will fit into our garage (with only walking room between each.) You might need to borrow tables for this. Check with your church--sometimes our church will loan out tables for a couple of days to good, God-fearin', Sunday tithin' church members.
We start grouping all like items together on the tables...We'll have whole tables tagged for like items: Kitchen items, Tools, Decorative items, Antiques/collectibles, Toys, etc. We make signs for groups of items to be sold at one price--like all towels are $1 each. Clothes on a certain rack are all $2 each. Our rack of the very nicest clothes will have a sign that says $3 each. Every table that has enough like-items gets a group price sign. Things that cannot all be the same price (like decorative items or antiques/collectibles), we use the pre-printed adhesive circle price tags. With all the items already grouped together on the tables, putting on little price stickers is not a long process.
3. HPP - Highest Price Prevails. This is a rule that came out of a huge garage sale we had several years ago when my parents were moving. My husband, my sister, and I were in charge of setting up, and setting the prices. Between the 3 of us, we would settle on whatever price was the highest suggestion. I know that seems backwards--but it sure works for us! If one of us feels something has more value, likely it will be valuable to someone shopping, so we go with that higher price suggestion.
4. Here's one that will shock you, but is my husband's rule: Do not WASTE YOUR TIME with the 25 cent, 50 cent or 75 cent price tags!!! My husband is a firm believer in pricing nothing less than a dollar. Our prices may be higher than the normal garage sale, but we make a lot more money in the end. He just doesn't want to mess with nickeling and dimeing people...if we have something, it is worth at least a dollar. Oh, there are times where we might group things--2 for $1, or bag up a handful of cheap toys and mark them $1. But, usually, items are a dollar or more.
5. Display all your books on a shelf, so that people can just view them like at a bookstore. People don't want to sort through boxes. If you don't have a bookshelf to do this, or even a board to prop against something, line them up on a table, with the spine facing up. You'll be amazed at how many more books will sell when they are displayed within easy sight. And again--don't be tempted to sell those paperbacks for less than $1! You can always lower your prices after lunch. But, wouldn't you pay $1 for a good book? I sure would!
6. Decide in advance whether you're going to haggle or not. Our rule is we never talk price in the morning. We tell people to come back later in the afternoon if they want to negotiate. This does make some people irritated (because they are used to haggling at garage sales), and this is the reason my husband doesn't allow me to work at the check-out table...because I hate telling people no, and I usually cave and give people whatever they want for whatever price! (Did you notice that, local people??? Ask the woman looking down and avoiding eye contact for the good deals!!!)
7. Hang up your clothes. They're worth more hanging up, than wadded up on a table (which they will quickly become if they are folded on a table.) We typically charge $2-$3 per item. All t-shirts are $1. A man's suit is 2 items (coat + pants = $4). We purchased a clothes rod from Lowes just for this purpose. We nailed some small brackets to two trees, and slip the rod into the brackets on the day of the sale. Then, we just store the rod in a corner of the garage for a year or two, until the next sale.
8. Keep putting prime items out in front. Once an item out front sells, put something else out front to "market" it. Again, another fun way to spice things up and keep the time from feeling like someone is peeling off your skin moving quickly, is to wager which front item will sell first. Make sure those prime items have neatly-printed description and price signs attached.
9. Put up good signs, and advertise on Craigslist and in the newspaper. We do have a fun little trick for the newspaper ad. We never put our specific street number address in the ad. We list our neighborhood name (or just street name), and then put up very good directional signs with our address very early the morning of the sale. That keeps those annoying people from dropping by the night before to see if they can shop before the sale. (Oh, and I'm not talking bad about you, Miss Annoying Person...We have done the SAME THING to other people...We just don't want it done TO US!) Also, one year we were able to postpone a garage sale when the weather ended up being cold and rainy. Lying in our cozy, warm bed that morning, we decided we would just STAY. Ah, now that was a nice day! But, we did have the sale a week later on a sunny day.
10. Let your kids set up a Coffee / Lemonade Stand. (Coffee for the early-morning crowd, lemonade for the later-sleepers). This keeps your kids occupied, and their minds (and little hands) off all the stuffed animals they chose to sell, but are now having second thoughts. Plus, giving them the responsibility to run a stand gives them a chance to learn about serving a great product, adding up the totals, and counting the change. If you are really smart, you'll drive through Krispy Kreme and pick up a couple of dozen donuts to sell...and to enjoy yourself when you don't think you can make it one agonizing minute longer.
Well, there you have it! I am sure my husband will wonder why I inserted all of my own hang-up, negative talk into the garage sale tips. He LOVES the wheeling and dealing of garage sales. It almost makes it worse for me the day of a sale, because he is always completely JAZZED and energized, while I am walking around lead-footed and avoiding all eye contact with the customers.
So, I promised you pictures. Here are a few reasons I dread garage sales...all the touching and artfully arranging all the dusty junk...and trying to make it look appealing when all I want to do is put up a sign that reads, "Please oh please somebody just take this junk off our hands and never come back!!"
Yeah, the Christmas tree stands? That is a story for a whole blog post...
I have to admit...I get a little miffed when people pass by some of my nice clothes. I mean, that Talbot's wool blazer was expensive, and very nice...in 1993!
AAAaahhhhhhhhhh!!!! All that clutter I painstakingly thinned out, and carefully bagged and boxed up...now I have to re-open, re-visit, and try to sell. I knew when I bagged it up that I would eventually put it on a garage sale. But, it's like that really hard trigonometry test that you really hope will just disappear from the teacher's mind.
And this stuff? I don't even RECOGNIZE this stuff. I think there's an evil conspiracy going on here...Or maybe...my husband bought this stuff at someone else's garage sale...to sell at our garage sale. Does that sound confusing to anyone besides me?
Okay, okay, ENOUGH WHINING and COMPLAINING from me about my garage sale hang-ups. Because, you betcha I will be very happy to go out to dinner Saturday night, and help spend the profits from the sale. Who Hoo! Mama's headed to Target!
P.S. I hope you know that a lot of this stuff I say with a giggle. I really do love my husband more 'n my luggage!!! Even his wheeling-dealing garage sale jazziness.
Linked up with:
Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous
Works For Me Wednesdays - go check out the other GREAT ideas!!!
Penny Pinching Party - now go pinch some more pennies!!
We're Organized Wednesday - who doesn't love some organization tips?!