Friday, June 13, 2008

Tips for a successful garage sale

My cousin, Leslie, asked me for some tips on having a garage sale. I emailed her back and decided to post it here too, to share with others.

Okay. This probably won’t be brief but I’ll try to answer the best I can without being too long!

First, you MUST advertise. Around here there are a few places. The Pennysaver or the local newspapers are the best. We have the Ventura County Star, Daily Times and L.A. Times newspapers. The Ventura County Star is the best since it is more local for Simi Valley. Also, we have a small, once-a-week, newspaper called the Acorn that is great.

Choose one, the cheapest even, do not waste the money doing it in all of them.

Second, advertise for free. Here, again, the Pennysaver will let people put ads in for free if they are online only and not publicized in their weekly mailer. That link is Second, Craig’s List, in your local area, is free. Things in both of these are viewed by order they are put in so put them in the day or night before the garage sale.

Third, SIGNS! Bright, visible, neat ones. They do not have to glow. Even brown cardboard with dark, thick, black print is good. Try to have the same format for all the signs so if someone is following them they will know that they are in the right direction for the same garage sale. Using arrows to point -> -> -> -> at the bottom is good too. You do not have to put your address # on all of them. Be brief. People ARE trying to read them from a moving vehicle!!!

Garage Sale (or some people prefer to say Yard Sale).
Saturday & Sunday
June 14 & 15

Something like that. If you are doing it one day only you can put Sat too. Around here some people do them Fri & Sat but barely anyone does them on Sunday since most people are at church and they get less traffic.

Put the signs up around 5:30-6am AND be prepared for people to stop by this early! Do not get set up first unless you are up at 4am. Do not put them up the night before. You’ll loose some due to moisture in the night and some might fall down or be pulled down. And, don’t forget to check with your city to see if you are allowed to put signs up.

Some people even park their cars on busy corners with garage sale signs in the back window of the car to get more traffic.

Next, there are two types of garage sales. 1- where you just want to clean and declutter and make a few bucks. And 2- where you want to make LOTS and are set on it. And, there are different types of customers. 1- people that go garage sale-ing every single weekend, at 5:30am and know all the ins and outs of it. Some of these do it for themselves. Some to sell stuff. Some will steal from you. Some will lie and tell you something of yours is broken and ask for a cheaper price since they will have to fix it first. 2- people that just happen to see the signs so decided to stop by. 3- people that like to go to garage sales but end up going around 10 or 11am. 5- people that show up at 2 or 3pm when you are DONE for the day and exhausted and you are ready to give it all away rather then to pack up what you still have! LOL! I’m usually the last two!

So, be prepared. Keep your cash in something like a fanny pack. Have loose change. Put large bills (when you are paid them) in your house. Keep your doors closed. I have had people walk into my house to check and see if things are for sale inside too! Things that are small and have lots of value keep close to you, on a table (not down by the mailbox where if you have lots of customers you will be distracted and not notice someone stealing it).

Call a local non-profit thrift store NOW to see if they can come on Sunday or Monday to pick up the things you have left and do not want. If you call Monday they might tell you to wait until Wednesday.

Prepare now. Decultter and put stuff in boxes now for the garage sale. Do not eyeball the house at 6am to see if there is anything left you want to put out there!

If you have other friends that want to participate, invite them. For people driving by, the most stuff the see out, the better. Ask if they’ll share the expense of the ads but if not, it is okay too. And, ask for them to make up 5 signs to put in the neighborhood too. You want them on both sides of the neighborhood, at all entrances to it, on the streets on the way to your house, and at the major intersections to your house. I’d say about 15-20 signs for a normal neighborhood. Do these ahead of time.

Books- sell for 50 cents-$1.00 each at beginning of day. Drop to a quarter to get rid of them by noon.

Videos that are VHS or DVD are usually about $1 each.

Studded animals 25 cents to 50 cents each for normal sized one.

Clothes, if name brand, like Gap or Old Navy- $1-2 each at the most. But most people sell for about 50 cents to $1.00. designer clothes, like Narajii, April Carnelli… shoot, there are lots others but I’m drawing a blank, haven’t sold clothes in a while, they are piling up in my living room! LOL! Anyways, these one sell for $1-2 or if something like a NICE, like-new, expensive winter snow ski jacket, you can ask $5-10 for it. But, things like this would probably sell better on eBay or on Craig’s List.

Try to not put a personal, sentimental value on an item since it is special to you and make the price higher! Some things are harder to sell then others.

Be prepared for almost EVERYONE to talk you down in price and so set your prices accordingly ahead of time. BUT, if your prices are too high, people might just leave instead of asking you to bargain.

Don’t forget to have lots of cold water to drink for you all, sunblock on and chairs to sit in too!

AND.. enjoy yourself. You will meet lots of nice, fun people. See neighbors that you've never met, nice old ladies, etc! Chat it up and have fun!

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