Garbage Sale Season

The best part about spring cleaning is throwing all that trash on tables and blankets in your yard and selling it to others for cash. Some garbage (not a type-o) sales can be a waste of time, lugging all your “get-rid-of’s” out, maybe making a few bucks, and then figuring out what to do with everything left. Here are some good tips that will help you avoid that scenario, and how to make even more money out of your next clean up.

1.) Watch the weather and plan on when you will have your yard sale.

In case of unexpected rain, it is helpful to own a tent. Advertise when you will be having your yard sale in the paper. Print up a few flyers to post on telephone poles with large letters and numbers, stating the date, your address (or directions), and some catchy phrase or picture to catch the attention of drivers passing by. Be sure to make these signs on brightly colored paper and paste them on busy intersections where they can actually be read. (Where cars will already be stopped.)

2.) Invite some friends to join you with their garbage.

This makes it easier for everyone to make more money. The bigger the garbage sale, the more ‘garbage’ and the more likely people will be to stop and browse. Also, the longer people spend at a garbage sale, the more likely they will be to buy something. Just be sure that everybody involved in a group garbage sale keeps track of what belongs to who.

3.)Have change ready.

You should be able to break large bills. Not everyone who is out ‘garbage sailing’ brings large bills, it is usually smart to bring smaller bills and lots of pocket change. However, some people may stop at a garbage sale they pass by and unprepared. Be sure that you are prepared to break a 20 or a 50 dollar bill.

4.)The worst thing you can do is put prices on anything!

First of all, it’s extra work that you don’t need to do. Second of all, if somebody is interested in something, you want them to be curious. If they already see what it costs, they may just put it back and walk away. If they carry it over to you and ask you how much you are asking… then the item is as good as sold.

This is when you tell them “Make an offer!” Chances are high that you can make more then you would have asked for. Maybe not, but are you going to turn down a reasonable offer?

5.) Certain things can be ‘fixed up’ and then sold for much more.

You can paint worn out candle holders to give them a brand new look. A strong example here would be a bread box I once decided I didn’t need any more. It was a plain wooden bread box I had received from a friend who had more bread boxes than she needed.

Before getting rid of this bread box, I painted the word ‘Bread’ on the lid, and some flowers. A reasonable price for that bread box before I had painted it would have been $5. After I painted it, somebody actually offered $50 for it! This may be an exaggeration, but putting a little work into some things can dramatically increase the value of them.

6.) Put out more than trash.

If it is a hot day, it is a great day for the kids to put out their lemonade stand. Even you can go to your closest warehouse grocery store and buy packs of candy and soda for cheap, store them in an ice chest, and sell them for $1 apiece. It is better to do this if your community is holding a ‘community garage sale’ – an annual event where almost everybody is holding a garage sale.

(My home town holds one in several towns and attracts a lot of ‘garbage sailors’. It is called the “50 mile garage sale” held on St. Rte. 90 the last weekend of June in Cayuga County, NY.)

You can also use this event to put out crafts if you have a hobby of that sort. Crocheted/knitted blankets are actually a valuable find for some garbage sailors.

7.) Be friendly to everyone that comes up.

If they don’t say “hi” back or make small talk, leave them alone. They may not be rude intentionally, but some people want their space while they browse.

8.) Have a ‘free’ box.

Also, have a few children’s items out with other things that you are willing to give for free. If a kid sees a teddy bear or a shirt they love, give it to them for free. That makes both kids and parents happy. It may make the parents reconsider buying something they wanted but were unsure about. Keep in mind that you may be ‘losing out’ by giving away free things. But to be honest, putting a smile on a child’s face is worth more than any amount of money.

9.) Have reasonable expectations.

Say you have a nice crystal set of glasses and somebody offers you $2 for the set. You may at first be crushed. Those glasses may be worth much more. You can deny the offer if you like, but why do you have the glasses out there? Are you going to keep them if you don’t sell them? Remember that it is ‘garbage’ you are selling, and you should never accept an unreasonable offer ($5 for the Corvette in the driveway) but you should have reasonable expectations about what a reasonable offer is.

10.) Everything that isn’t sold can be your next problem.

Nothing you would consider putting on a table for anyone else to buy should be considered actual trash. You can box those things back up and store them for your next garbage sale, if you have the extra storage space and don’t mind hanging on to those things a bit longer. You can also donate those things to your local catholic charity.

You won’t sell everything that you put out on your yard. Have a plan for what you will do when the garbage sale ends.

I hope these garbage sale tips help bring you financial success out of your trash. I charge 5% for offering this advice.

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