The garage sale I ran for my Mom Saturday went well, though some of the really good stuff did not sell. It always amazes me what people will and won’t buy. We had a steady stream of customers from 8:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. At 11 a.m. traffic fell off a cliff.
What sold and for how much:
$22 – acoustic guitar with soft case (orig $50 before I realized it had a partially cracked neck)
$5 ea – two bowling balls (to a couple who said they have a “bowling ball garden” in their backyard. Gotta love the funky Berkeley types.)
$.25 ea – dollhouse furniture that was fairly beat up and not too clean after gathering dust for 20 years in my Mom’s attic
$3-$5 – heavy coffee table books
$5 – heat lamp
$20 – mountain bike. After it sold, two more customers said they wanted to buy it. One guy even told me he would have paid $30!
$15 – mini fridge. I had an extension cord to demonstrate it worked.
$4 – solid oak chair painted a tacky baby blue with pink splatters
$1 ea – used pet beds
$1 ea – kids toys
$1 (orig $2 to $3) puzzles and games
$1 – $2 – wood picture frames
Many misc. items
What didn’t sell:
$5 (orig $15) – a breadmaker, even though I marked it down many times. Probably should have started at $8 to $10.
$10 (orig $15) – a brand spankin’ new Cannondale Camelback. I’m carting it back to LA because I’m determined I can sell it.
$.50 to $3 – hardly any of the clothes
$10 – two full size kayak paddles
$5 – tire chains
$3 (orig $5) – Pirates of the Caribbean: curse of the black pearl DVD
$100 – Selmer clarinet (we made the mistake of not listing it in the Craigstlist add)
$1 – cowboy hats
$15 – a plug-in crepe maker
What didn’t sell because I put it aside for myself:
- A pair of gently used Cole Haan black loafers. Score!
- A floppy-brim straw hat that is very lady like
- A wooden hand massager that I can use for a gift
- Two small mason jars that will be great for storing leftovers
- A bright red sushi tray that my neighbor will love
- A red and white floral top
- Displaying things on tables and benches so people did not have to get down on the ground to look at items
- Being friendly but not in-your-face
- Accepting most price cuts when customers suggested them
- Group items my category. Originally I recommended folks group items by price. But this only works for small sales. My Mom had enough stuff that it made more sense to group by category – sports equipment, kitchenware, furniture, clothes, books, etc.
- Marking everything with price stickers
- Advertising on Craigslist
What I would have done differently:
- Drop prices earlier. When I cut prices at 11 a.m. it was too late. I should have started dropping prices on items that nobody was showing interest in, like a 4-drawer dresser for $15, at 10 a.m.
In total we sold about half of the stuff. Another 45 percent got picked up by curb crawlers. Once you say something is free, it becomes very valuable!
The last 5 percent I loaded in my Mom’s trunk to take to Goodwill. Our total haul was $217.80. Not too shabby!