HOME: The Great Garage Sale Experiment Part 1




I have spoken on and off about cleaning out the closets, donating items to charity and buying things at second hand stores for a greener (and cheaper) tomorrow. But one thing I have never attempted was to run a garage sale. I have been told that garage sales typically are not worth the effort put in. That is why I have always just donated items and taken the tax deduction at the end of the year. But this year, I have so many old baby items, including furniture, that I decided to take part in the annual neighborhood garage sale. If you have an opportunity to have your garage sale during an event like this, it seems it might be more worth while. The community association pools the entrance fees and buys ads in local papers and puts up signs. The whole neighborhood takes part, so you will get a lot of foot traffic-and that is key. I am doing a two part post. This one will talk about preparation for a garage sale. The next post will be after the sale and about if I think it was worth all the effort.

So the first part of preparing for a garage sale is cleaning out your house. I have been preparing for this for months. Each room I clean out, I store items to be sold in a spare, unused bedroom. If you don't have an extra room, find room in your attic, basement or garage to keep storing things to sell. Keeping everything in one spot will make things easier to price.

Weeks before the big day buy ribbon or yarn, small stickers or labels, and a black marker. I use the stickers to price out items. I have ribbon on hand to tie things together or hold things together so they look presentable and are "saleable". For instance, hooded baby towels typically have a cute design on the hood, but you may miss it if it were tossed in a box, flopping around. I folded the baby towel like a square package, showing the hood on the front. I tied a ribbon around the whole thing like a present, and priced it. Now the towel will stay nice and folded, and customers can see the design on the hood nicely. They will also sit neatly where I put them so customers don't need to weed through a box of nonsense and lose patience. If you are not sure how to price stuff, here is a salvation army link that I found helpful:
http://www.salvationarmysouth.org/valueguide.htm

Also, if something is dirty or has scuff marks, Lysol wipes or a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is a great way to spruce up items. No one wants to buy a grungy, dirty, scuffed anything. A little effort now goes a long way.

I am making a huge effort to properly label and make sure things are organized and presentable. I plan on using old baskets and boxes that I was planning on selling and have them hold items nicely, like you would see things at a nice store.

I may also, if I have time, sell baked goods in sandwich bags tied off with cute tags. Many customers will have been walking all day and could use a snack-and yummy food attracts customers! Water bottles might not be a bad idea, either!

Finally, in preparing for set up, many folding tables are a must to show off your wares. We purchased a cash box, and will get coins and singles the morning of so we can make change. I have saved many grocery store bags that I plan on reusing so I can offer customers a way to carry home more than one item. I hope to have music playing (for our sake as well as our customers) and some chairs for us to sit in. I hope to have a marker, some small boxes to hold items, tape and some paper and poster board nearby in case I need to make a sign or two during set up. We should have a couple extension cords handy so people can test any electronics (maybe even batteries or light bulbs), and a calculator as well. And I may wear an apron (stocked with extra stickers and a marker) so I can be mobile and give change on the fly without being near the cash box (although someone should be at the cash box at all times!)

So as you can see, we have much to still do before the big sale on Saturday. I will let you know how things go-and if I decided it was worth all the effort and time it took to price things and spend a whole Saturday taking part in this garage sale.

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