I’m in the Bay Area helping my Mom clean out her attic by running her garage sale tomorrow. (And I’ll be here to celebrate Mother’s Day in person on Sunday!) It’s the beginning of garage sale season so I thought I would share how I prepare for a garage sale:
+ In the week leading up to the sale, gather everything to be sold into one room.
+ Two nights before the sale sort your stuff into piles according to price for: free, $.50, $1, $2, $3, $5, $7, $10…If you have a LOT of stuff, the sorting process may take two nights.
+ Bigger items that are clean and in top condition can go for as much as 50% of what you paid for them. If they are worn or damaged, reduce the price even more.
+ Make signs for each price category (i.e. $1 pile, $2 pile) or put stickers/tags on each item. People may be too shy to ask or think you are ripping them off if you are not upfront about your prices. If you do not want to label each item individually, jot down your prices on a master list. At the minimum, mark your higher priced items.
+ Cleanliness REALLY helps sales. A damp rag removes dust and dirt quickly.
+ The morning before, post your sale on Craigslist. In the post list your top items, any hot brands you are selling, your unusual items, and mention if you have a free pile. The more detailed you are, the better the chance someone looking for these items will find you. If you have enough free items, post them on Freecycle.org (free membership required to post).
+ The night before your sale make 5-10 signs. I like to write in bold letters “SALE” with an arrow pointing to my yard on manilla folders. In smaller letters I write the date and start time. The address is usually irrelevant because yard sales are a visual magnet.
+ The morning of the sale haul your stuff out while keeping your items grouped by price, which makes it easy for customers to assess what you have. Be prepared for aggressive “early birds” who will want to wheel and deal before you have finished dragging everything else out.
+ Presentation is key. Put everything on tables, blankets or in buckets. Clothes have a better chance of selling if they are hung up.
+ Have a few low bills and quarters to make change.
+ As soon as traffic starts dying down, roughly two to three hours after the start time, cut prices. Wouldn’t you rather make a buck or two off an old pair of shoes than drag them to Goodwill?
+ Load up whatever does not sell into your car and drop them off at Goodwill or Salvation Army.
Here’s how the sale turned out!