Garage Sale Tips, Tricks, ‘n Lessons Learned

Under the Oaks blog : Garage Sale Tips, Tricks, 'n Lessons Learned

Last Saturday at 6am I tweeted the following:

Garage Sale Day! I’ve already vowed that this won’t be happening again for at least another 5 years. #exhausted #wanttogobacktobed

In my mind I like to think that I only exist in an alternate universe before 7am, and on a Saturday while I am still a young, childless woman? I don’t like being conscious before 10am.

In life, there are only a couple of other things that bother me more than losing sleep: ignorant, hateful behaviors and … clutter. If there is something in my house that doesn’t have a home it gives me a lot of anxiety. If there was one thing my husband could change about me, this would probably be it. Something in my closet that I haven’t worn in 6 months? Likely to get rid of it. 6 years of Sports Illustrated? Recycle. An old Playstation that hasn’t been touched in 6 years? Donate. I have no attachments to material things other than my wedding ring and probably … my bed, definitely my bed.

What better way to clear a house than with a garage sale. Added bonus, make a profit! My main motivation for this past weekend (and this coming one) was not to make a profit, but to get rid of all the extra stuff that’s been giving me anxiety just lying around the house. However, after tallying our earnings I started to think of the projects around the house I could tackle, just like A.

I learned some valuable lessons after having a garage sale that I wanted to pass along. We shall call this, Crystal’s top 10 list of hosting a garage sale, while attempting to stay sane:

1. A garage sale is really easy to plan and host in a short period of time. NOT Tip: Be realistic and don’t over-commit yourself. You can throw together a crappy, unplanned sale or you can think it through and spend time making the best our of your sale, increasing your profitability.

2. Host with a friend(s), neighbors, or family members. When you market your sale as a multi-family sale, people love that and are more likely to come. More stuff + variety = more likely to find a great deal. Added bonus: you have someone to keep you company and help with bargaining shoppers.

3. Market, and do it for free! We used Craigslist, Yard Sale Search, and the Raleigh News & Observer. I used phrases such as “multi-family”, “priced to sell”, and “cheap”. Make affective signs and post them prominently. I had issues with the stakes I was using for my signs so they kept falling … which I’m sure meant we missed a couple of buyers.

4. Go room by room. I literally walked into each room, and closet, in my house and asked, “does anything in here give me anxiety, i.e. need to go?” This is the part that takes time.

5. Prepare and price everything two or three nights prior so that you can get a good night of sleep the night before.

6. When pricing items remove feelings of sentimental value, the buyer doesn’t know the story, nor do they care. Price to sell. Almost everyone that stopped by our sale last Saturday said that our sale had the best prices of all the sales they’d been to.

7. Be prepared to sell once you start putting stuff out (if you are organized this isn’t a problem). I opened my garage door at 6:45am and was immediately greeted by bargainers. Other garage sales hosts suggest posting that early shoppers are not welcome. I say, if you are going to buy my junk and be up as early as me, you are more than welcome! However in order to say that I had to …

8. … be organized! Clearly mark all items, display them in an attractive way, wash clothing, package things nicely, etc. We were fortunate enough that we could borrow tables from A’s father. Another friend (and faithful reader) suggested borrowing tables from my place of employment. She suggested that surely my company hosted events every now and then and might allow me to use folding tables for my garage sale.

Annie found this link and sent it to me regarding organizing a garage sale via IHeart Organizing. Really great ideas for presenting and organizing your sells, also some great tips on a garage sale in general.

9. Be willing to bargain. When a buyer offers a lower price on an item ask yourself a series questions:

  1. Can I make more off of Craigslist? Do I have the time and energy to do so?
  2. If I cannot make more elsewhere, or don’t have the time, is it my intention to donate to Goodwill?

If you intend on donating to Goodwill, take the price offered via the buyer. Another suggestion, never say what your bottom dollar is, ask what they are willing to pay, I learned this from Million Dollar Listings and bargaining in a market in Beijing. 🙂

10. Be content. It is likely that you aren’t going to sell everything that you set out to sell, this is okay! Tell yourself that anything over a dollar was a dollar you didn’t have before. I have to keep telling myself this as I spent a little over a week preparing … be content, be content, be content …

This weekend we are having garage sale part two (with better street signage to attract more shoppers). Because I posted the garage sale via Craigslist I was contacted by a local charity that will come pick up the remaining sale items for free (and tax-deductible), and sell in a thrift shop for a local animal, no-kill shelter. I will be contacting them to pick up the remaining items in my garage after Saturday. I’ve already vowed that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will be making its way back into my home. I’m not looking to earn my 15 minutes of fame on a show of Hoarders y’all!

Wish us a profitable garage sale, part 2! xoxo ‘n lols, crystal

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2 thoughts on “Garage Sale Tips, Tricks, ‘n Lessons Learned

  1. And…when the garage sale is over and you’re out shopping, ask yourself, “Do I want to see this on a table at my next garage sale, a year from now, for a $1?” That talks me out of buying a lot of things that I think I need!

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