This past weekend we had a garage sale. Why? Because of this:
Yeah, it's bad - we know. And this photo was even taken AFTER our big garage organizing weekend a week prior. Hence the garage sale.
Anyways, it went incredibly well - we managed to get rid of everything except 4 medium sized boxes of stuff and few other random larger items, and made oodles of moolah in the process. Happy? Oh yes, we are. Making a little cash off of the junk you were prepared to throw away or force on someone else for free always feels good, but it didn't happen without a lot of work and sweat on our part. Read on for some tips and tricks (and random crazy stuff!) that happened this past weekend.
Tips for a Great Garage Sale
1) Advertising! We put up an ad on Craigslist every single day the week before the garage sale, listing some of the stuff we'd have at our sale. We even went into somewhat detail on some of them that would help customers find what they were looking for - like clothes. We listed out the name brands and general sizes of the clothes we were going to be selling, and we had lots of customers come through and buy up 15-30 items of clothing - all the while thanking us for having great clothes at a reasonable price. You can't really beat that warm fuzzy feeling we got from their praise, either.
2) Signage is key. On our Craigslist ads we didn't put our exact address because of horror stories we'd heard of Craigslist Crazies showing up the night before a sale and pestering the sellers. We DEFINITELY didn't want that. So, we instructed people to go to a nearby corner and look for the yellow signs. We snagged some bright yellow poster board from Target for $2, cut them in half, and wrote GARAGE SALE in large letters with an arrow pointing towards our house. We nailed 8 of those bright yellow babies around our neighborhood, guiding people in from the two busy streets that straddle our neighborhood. We received so many compliments from our customers at the garage sale, that we think it all worked out quite well - and no Craigslist Crazies came to annoy us beforehand, either. It's also a good idea to put up general signs at your actual garage sale, that way customers know more about what you're expecting of them.
3) Open on time. Blame it on our wine-and-cheese date night before, but we advertised that we would open at 7. Let's just say that we actually didn't even open our garage door until 7:05, and we promptly got yelled at by one Craigslist Crazy who was roaming the neighborhood looking for our garage sale. Oops.
4) Surface space is sacred. We didn't really have enough folding tables or regular tables to display all our goods to our customers, so we improvised. Two sawhorses with a door between them added extra surface display space, and we also constructed a second one out of two bookcases and a door.
5) Hang the clothing. We almost didn't because we didn't have a freestanding clothes rack, but we fashioned one quickly out of two painters' ladders and a handrail wooden pole. Why is this so important? Most of the clothes we sold (and we sold a TON!) were taken off of the rack. It's easier to see and review clothing and sizes when you don't have to dig through large piles in the hot sun.
6) Put the big items out towards the street. This will attract people driving by and seeing if your sale is worth stopping at. We put stuff like TVs, furniture, exercise machines and appliances out by the street, and most people who slowed down to look also ended up parking and coming to see what other goods we had.
7) Group like-items together. We had separate tables for kitchen stuff, electronics, home decor, home improvement, clothing (lots for clothing!), shoes, etc.
8) Know your primary goal. Ours was to get rid of our junk and reclaim our garage, so we had incredibly low prices. Gap jeans? 50 cents. Candle? A quarter. Shoes? $1. Heck, we even gave away some free stuff. And people loved it. We were told we had one of the best garage sales some people had ever been to. Pretty sweet. But by keeping our prices super-low, we were able to get rid of most of our stuff - and even make some money by doing it. Sa-weet.
9) Stuff's gonna happen. Just roll with it and enjoy the craziness. We almost had a fight break out when one customer called another an a*hole before stomping away. We had a philosopher stop by and give us his take on the whole process of evolution theory and it's effect on our economy. We had another customer who thought that the super-ugly-badly-printed-print-in-a-plastic-gold-oval-frame that we found left in our basement storage room when we bought the house was the most beautiful picture she'd ever seen. We even had another customer who, after peppering us with nosy questions, offered me licorice she had in her car (no worries, I claimed I preferred candy corn - she had stranger danger written all over her!). All-in-all, I have to say the people watching was one of the best parts of the whole weekend - it kept us laughing and entertained the whole time.
10) Decide what to do with what's left. Because it's inevitable. We are donating the boxes of electronics, clothing, shoes and home decor to Goodwill, and will sell the leftover larger stuff (like appliances) on Craigslist. Then maybe we'll finally have a garage to use!
So there's our take on what we learned from our first big garage sale. I gotta say, it sure was an interesting experience! It was fun but exhausting (and boy, are we tired!), but we accomplished our goal: get rid of junk and make a little money while we're at it. I swear, our garage has never looked this empty.
What about you guys? Have you had any garage sales lately? Been to any good (or lame) ones lately? Sold/bought stuff on Craigslist? Any Craigslist Crazies stories to tell? Let's jabber about junk!
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