By April Amadonemail@example.com Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Fifty cents for an old baseball jersey, 10 cents each for a set of plates.
Just because some of the items sold at garage sales seem cheap doesn’t mean holding a sale isn’t a profitable venture.
On Thursday, the first day of their garage sale, Dion and Julie Pender of Lincoln Avenue Extension took in almost $1,300.
It was the biggest one-day haul ever for the couple, who hold garage sales every year.
This year, the Penders were moving, so they had a lot to get rid of.
"We had some more bigger-ticket things," Dion said. “We had a couch and a loveseat, a computer desk, we got rid of that.”
As the weather gets warmer and people are doing their annual spring cleaning, garage sale season is just beginning.
The Web site www.about.com advises anyone planning a garage sale to start early, as much as a month in advance, going through closets, setting aside anything sellable and saving grocery bags.
Proper signage is always important. The Penders put up neon yellow signs around surrounding neighborhoods, with big black letters that were visible to drivers.
Rita Lasal, who set up a sale in her Rapids Road garage on Friday, said advertising in the classifieds helps.
There’s no real science to pricing items, other than to keep in mind that buyers like to haggle.
"It’s amazing how much people will try to bump you down on stuff," Dion said. "If you really want $20 for something, you might want to put $22 on it."
Thursdays and Fridays are the best days, Julie said. Though they planned for the whole weekend, most of their best stuff was gone by Friday morning.
* NEWSPAPER ADS. You hardcore sellers should already know to do this. Put one in the paper three to four days before the sale, and let it run all the way to the sale day. Include the location and start time.
* COMBINE GARAGES. Hooking up with a neighbor or friend means more merchandise, which attracts more traffic (trust me, word of a heavy volume garage sale gets around quickly!). Plus, your friend may have a better location -- one that is on a street corner or near a subdivision interest that gets a lot of street traffic.
* PUT UP SIGNS THE NIGHT BEFORE OR TWO HOURS BEFORE THE OPENING. They ought to have lettering 3 to 5 inches high indicating the sale and the address. Use contrasting colors (black on white is best), and three of them with arrows should be enough to guide motorists to the sale.
* "YARD" SALE MAY NEED A PERMIT. If you're selling items in your front yard, most municipalities require you purchase a permit if the sale lasts for multiple days or if you are planning yard sales multiple times per year.
* PRICE ITEMS 1/3 OF THE NEW PRICE...if you want them to move!
* HOLD ITEMS ONLY IF CUSTOMER PAYS UP FRONT
Yard sales can bring in pocket change or enough to help pay for a vacation.
What you reel in can depend on the quality of the goods, but a lot depends on marketing and presentation. Some tips to help you get the most money from your sale:
# Plan your sale around paydays, right after the first or 15th of a month.
# Avoid a yard sale on major holiday weekends when many people are on vacation unless you live in a resort area.
GETTING THE GOODS
# Clear your clutter. If you haven't used something in more than a year, it's probably good garage sale fodder.
# Ask family members, especially those not living at home anymore, if it is OK to sell their stuff. It might have sentimental value.
# Give boxes to family members. Ask them to put in two or three items in addition to what's already been set aside. Allow them to keep the money from the sale of those items.
# Toss the broken and unmatched items that you would not buy if you were shopping. Or stick those items in a free rummage box for people who might be able to use an item for its parts.
# Let other family, friends and neighbors know you're having a sale. They may want to participate, allowing you to advertise it as a multifamily yard sale.
First and foremost, we are always looking for ways to making having a garage sale easier. I was surfing the internet recently and came across a blog post entitled 'Instant Garage Sale'. This intriqued me and I continued to read. The idea behind this is a collection of premade document files that you can easily print out to speed up the proceed of setting up a garage sale. These include signs with 3 directional arrows and using business cards as price tags.
Continue Reading for the rest of the article. Its a great read and highly suggested for all sellers.
How do I price this stuff? Pricing tends to be the hardest part of having a garage sale for many people. The general rule of thumb most recommended by experts is 10-20 percent of the retail price or value, but this just doesn't always cut it. You probably have a little more leeway during the Great Mukilteo Garage Sale because it attracts a lot of buyers, and some have a pocketful of money to spend. However, there's more to pricing than just a percentage of the retail price.
It can be really frustrating when you just have no clue at all what you should sell something for. Remember, there are no clear-cut, hard-and-fast rules on pricing garage sale items.
First you have to decide why you're having the sale. What's your first priority? Is it to get all that junk out of your house, or is it to make money? Think hard about it. Don't just choose one. It's always a little bit of both, but which is the most important? If it's to get rid of stuff, price low, of course. If it's to make money, just make sure you don't price too high.
Multi family garage sale. That is what will catch alot of peoples eyes. The ability to stop at 1 large garage sale over 5 small ones is very tempting to garage sale buyers.
Exploit this and team up with your neighbors to have a multi home sale or even a block sale. Make sure that if you decide to have one home where everyone places their stuff, it should be the most visible. Designate jobs for each of the families such as keeping things clean or taking the money.
Coordinate your prices. Sell similar items for similar prices and they will be more likely to sell. If 2 families are selling the same item and they have a price difference, who would want to pay more? Straighten these types of things out prior to the sale.
Be sure to have alot of easy to read signs that clearly state that it is a multi family sale.
We never leave our houses without pants or shorts on, right? With that in mind, before you walk outside to begin your garage sale, you need to be prepared. Here is a list of necessary items that will make life easier as a seller.
- Always have change! Whichever denomination you want is up to you but you need to have a lot of it. Unless you are planning on selling everything for an even dollar amount, this is a must.
- Recycle those old grocery bags. Whether they are plastic or paper, use them to bag multiple items that someone may purchase.
- Keep your money safe with an apron or fanny pack. In addition to making sure no one runs off with your money, it will allow you to walk around your sale without having to go back to the money table.
- Have batteries available for testing items such as toys. Electrical sockets and extension cords are very useful as well.
- Place a garbage can near the entrance of your sale. This will help ensure people are not throwing trash into your yard.
The majority of garage sales are going to be selling some form of clothing. Whether it be pants, shirts or coats, there is one thing that is a must. You must wash these clothes. In fact, you are more likely to sell clothing if they have that freshly washed smell of laundry detergent. No one wants to purchase something that they know is dirty and may turn something down that otherwise would have sold.
On another note, while putting each of these into the wash, check the pockets. Money and other things are left in pockets all of the time and then put through the wash. Normally this wouldnt be that big of a deal but seeing as you looking to sell such items, you dont want to be giving someone free money that was left in the pocket. Always check the pockets!
I frequently am told or overhear tips that I have never heard or thought of before. These tips are definitely things that sellers should be thinking about simply because these are your average customer making opinions on past experiences. Don't make yourself look like a bad seller, heed the warning.
- Put that cell phone aside and stay off it.
- Price everything.
- Cut your grass.
- Keep your dog inside or locked away.
- Make your items look presentable.
- Don't stand out in your pajamas.
Any others that you readers can think of?
While not directly related to garage sales, the following link made another great point on why it is beneficial to have garage sales. They believe that a good way to help sell your house is to make it seem bigger. This can be accomplished through a garage sale by selling off old unneeded items.
I can't agree with this more. There is nothing worse than looking at a house that is cluttered. It seems to restrict your visions and all you can think of is your new home being cluttered. A great idea for any home seller.
I have seen my share of tips from other people about successful garage sales but one that I see often is that they recommend putting your address on your sign. I however believe that this is likely a bad idea. Sign space is certainly limited and putting your address on the sign may force you to make other more important writing, smaller. Many people scour the neighborhoods and surrounding areas looking for sales and just because you put your address does not mean it will make finding the sale any easier.
Drivers are more than likely not going to have a map in their car that will help them find your sale. The job of the sign is to quickly alert drivers which direction they need to drive. You need to baby step these drivers to your sale rather than relying on them finding it themselves. Create additional signs that lead to your house on every necessary street corner. This will help make sure that people are in fact getting to your sale and not turning around in confusion.
Many people who have had a garage sale on both Friday and Saturday will notice that on the second day of the sale, it is common to see less customers. Many people believe that if you are having a 2 day sale and you happen to go on that second day, you have already missed out on the good stuff. While this obviously may be true, there are obviously still things for sale, things that your customers may still want. Early birds are most likely to attack a sale the first day and pass it up on the second so how do you bring them and everyone else in on the second day of your sale? Simply advertise twice.
If you put an ad in the newspaper, run two separate ads for Friday and Saturday. This may make the customer believe that they are really getting to the sale on the first day when in fact it may already be the second. Another way to get people to come by if you are not advertising in the newspaper is to change up your signs. If you have a sale on Friday with a bright pink sign, put a sign up on Saturday with a green background. Someone that was out the day before and had already came to your sale may be tempted to come back again without even knowing they had already been there.
While the techniques may be a bit sneaky, they are worthwhile. It is very possible to see a big improvements of a 2 day sale with these suggestions.
We have all seen what we consider good and bad signs. Unfortunately though, bad signs would likely outweigh the number of good signs that people create. A sign needs to give information quickly and accurately as well as catch the eye of the driver. Here are a few tips for create a productive sign.
- Do not simply write on a brown box, try a white background.
- Use thick black ink for the writing.
- Make sure the writing is clear, let your child help elsewhere.
- Accurately point to the direction of your sale.
- Write the day and hours of your sale.
- Make sure your sign is stiff enough and wont bend in the wind.
- Attaching a balloon can catch many peoples eyes.
- Know your laws and where it's illegal to place a sign.
The Internet has allowed information to be at the the fingertip of anyone wanting it. This also works with garage sales. Below are a few resources that can be used to help get the word out about your garage sale. They allow free listings and are separated by state. These sites work great as well for finding some otherwise unknown garage sales that may be in your area.