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Karen and I have been having Garage Sales for Years, we live for the opportunity to purge (get rid of crap) and get money for it (extra spending cash for the casino). After many years of having garage sales and going to garage sales we’ve learned a few tricks of the trade, you will have to forgive me if I rant once in a while (actually a lot) but some things to me are just a no brainer but not everyone shares my same opinion.
If you need to make extra money you will want to read My Top 15 Must Do List to have a successful Garage Sale!
Spend time getting prepared:
Spend time getting prepared if you can, don’t just wake up Saturday morning and decide to have a garage sale, clean and dust the items you are putting out, nobody wants to buy your child’s outgrown highchair with baby puke on it, I don’t care how nice it is or how much money you spent on it, at least make it look presentable. The nicer it looks the more money you will make on it, trust me it’s true.
Make sure the kitchen items don’t have a greasy residue from sitting on that shelf above your cabinets for the last 10 Years. Have several rags with you so you can constantly be wiping and dusting.
Have everything priced:
Have everything priced, if you can’t price everything at least put up signs saying make an offer or everything on this table $1.00 or whatever, some people don’t like to ask, and if it’s not priced they may just walk away. Print some price signs with maybe a cool graphic or font, it makes it look like you know what you are doing.
Put up good signs:
Spend time on big signs to put up around your neighborhood. It cracks me up when I see an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper written with regular pen ink on a stop sign, who do they think we are superheroes with x-ray vision? Nobody can read it and quite frankly if that’s the kind of effort you put into your signs then I can’t imagine your sale is much better, oh and one small tidbit of info: make sure the spelling on your signs is correct.
We use large pieces of cardboard and then cover them with white sheets of paper and then use sharpies or markers to write in HUGE Letters, include dates & times. If you don’t want to mess with making signs Amazon has a large selection of Garage Sale/Yard Sale Red Street Signs Pk of 4
that you can order. Please be kind and take down your signs when it’s over, nothing irritates me more than following signs that people put up for their sale 2 weekends ago but were too lazy to take down.
This is for the person having the garage sale and the person going to garage sales…HAVE CHANGE. Nothing irks me more than your very first customer of the day wants to buy an item for 50 cents and hands you a $100 dollar bill and says do you have change? Seriously people don’t leave the house with a $100 dollar bill and expect people to break it. Get a bunch of small bills, same for the person having the garage sale. If you are hoping that I will just say keep the change because you don’t have 3 quarters to give me forget it!!!!
Display things as nice as you can:
Try to have tables, if you don’t have a table try to improvise with buckets and plywood or your ironing board or something at least. If everything is on the ground on a sheet in a big pile I usually just drive on by.
If you have clothes try to hang them somehow, I guarantee if they are on a hanger and look nice they will sell much better and at a higher price than if they are just in a pile to pick through on the ground, one small hint use your lint roller to get rid of the dog and cat hair (just saying).
Have categories, put all the kids stuff and toys in one spot the lower it is the better, kids will come and grab it and want to play with it and parents tend to just buy it so they don’t have to rip it out of their Childs’s hand and cause a big scene.
Put all the shoes together and home goods together, for kids books I usually put in a bin and put $.25 each on it, if you have larger adult hardback books price those accordingly. The more organized it looks the more appealing it is to people especially the ones that slowly drive by in their car deciding if they should stop.
Greet everyone coming in and say Thank you to everyone that leaves:
Greet every person that comes and say thanks to everybody that leaves whether they bought something or not, Karen and I grew up learning retail and customer service and I’m telling you a smile and a “Hi, How are you” goes a long way. It just blows my mind when I show up to a garage sale and you are the only customer there and the homeowner doesn’t make eye contact with you or doesn’t even bother to say Hi, hey you invited me to come to your sale with your signs it’s not like I just knocked on your door and said sell me your stuff, the least you could do is say HI to me.
Have a FREE box and put it right upfront, it is the best way to get rid of stuff that won’t sell and it draws people in when they see the FREE sign, seriously you could put a bag of dog poo with a ribbon on it and if it says free someone would take it. Don’t be afraid to put anything in the free box, I guarantee someone will take and you don’t have to put it in your own garbage.
Have a cooler with ice and sell cold pop and water, if it’s a warm day people will gladly pay $ .50 or $1 for a cold bottle of water or soda, just make sure you have a little profit margin in there, you don’t want to give it away.
Be willing to negotiate:
Be willing to negotiate, I know some people aren’t comfortable negotiating so you just price your item and then someone comes along and offers you less but you don’t want to negotiate so you just let it go at the cheaper price and then you feel robbed. There are a lot of people not afraid to offer you next to nothing for your items so either price it lower and stay firm on the price or maybe price it a little higher then you have some wiggle room if someone wants to negotiate the price down.
Be honest about stuff that doesn’t work:
Be honest and disclose details about items that aren’t working or may be missing a piece or part. If something doesn’t work tell the person interested in it or if part of something is broken but the rest of it still works let them know. Have an extension cord available to plug things in if people want proof that the item still works.
First of all, it’s the right thing to do, second of all you might think well I’ll never see them again so who cares but it could be a neighbor from down the street that you’ve never met and you sell them some faulty item and don’t tell them. Believe me, they will remember and maybe tell their neighbors that you are not a nice person (probably in not-so-nice words).
Have grocery bags:
Have grocery bags, you know you have a million of them stuffed somewhere so get them out and reuse them for your customers. People remember nice and organized garage sales and will come back. We’ve had people tell us they remember us from previous years and they always come back to see what we have.
This isn’t a must but it’s kind of nice, have some kind of music playing quietly in the background, if there is some quiet music in the background it breaks up the silence and may actually keep people there longer. When I am the only customer at a sale and there is absolute silence and if the homeowner doesn’t greet me then I just feel awkward and uncomfortable and want to get out of there quickly. I know not everyone feels like that but it can’t hurt to try it!
Just a few of my Garage Sale no brainers, what are some of yours????
Look at these great kits you can buy, I might have to try one of these next time.
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