Having a Great Garage Sale!

In this day and age, everyone seemingly knows how to put together and hold a garage sale. However, why is it that some people are lucky to gross $150 while others consistently make $1,500 or more from their garage sales.

Pick almost any city or town in the country; drive through any middle class neighborhood or residential area on any weekend. You’re sure to spot at least a half dozen garage sales. And what’s being sold at these garage sales? The accumulated “junk” that a lot of people no longer use or want taking up space in or around their homes. However, to be really profitable, you have to know how to plan and execute a proper sale.

Starts by taking an inventory of all the things you have “just taking up space” around your home. Decide which items you’d be better off getting rid of, and make a list of these things. These are the things you are going to put up for sale. And if you are honest about what you really want and need, the pile will grow if you look over your household a second and third time. Remember that many garage sale offerings are items of merchandise purchased on impulse, and later found to be not what the buyer wanted It’s the human condition to discover too late that we don’t like or have use for things purchased; we “outgrow” in size or taste articles that once fit, or pleased us. You’ll find that many items offered at garage sales are gifts that have been given to the seller, but not really suited to the recipient. In other words, it will be to your benefit, before you stage your first garage sale, to take a week or so to browse through all the garage sales you can find.

The problem is most people just don’t have the time or energy to gather up all the items taking up space around their homes and staging a garage sale to get rid of them. Many people really don’t know how to stage a garage sale; and a lot of people feel that putting on a garage sale is just too much bother and work.

This is where you enter the picture. You can start a so called enterprise with an ongoing garage sale of items donated and collected from those people who lack the initiative to put on garage sales of their own. In other words, you can become a “liquidator of people’s junk,” via garage sales that you promote.

You can begin your own sales by cleaning out your own attic, closets and basement or garage. Talk with your relatives and friends; tell them what you’re doing, and ask for donations of unwanted items. You’ll find people explaining that they really don’t have a use for a specific item, don’t want to keep on storing it, but for sentimental or other reasons, they have just hung on to it.

Once you have a little bit of experience, you’ll be able to advertise in the newspaper that you purchase garage sale items, or take them on consignment for a percentage of the final sale price.

The advertising angle is really quite simple, and shouldn’t cost you very much, either. Advertising is very important though, the more people who know the more potential buyers you have. Check area newspapers, and select the one that carries the most ads for garage sales. You shouldn’t concern yourself too much with competition from other ads. People who go to garage sales either go to all of them they can locate, or else only to those within a 3-to-5 mile radius of their homes.

You should run a small classified ad in the newspaper of your choice for about three days in advance, and up through the day of your sale. It’s easy to write ads. Simply check your newspapers for a week or two and see what the general format is like.

You should also have an old-fashioned “sandwich board” type sign to display in front of your house when your garage sale is going on. This gets peoples attention who otherwise might not even be looking for a garage sale but figure to stop by. There are most likely several free bulletin boards in your area. A flyer or several will be sufficient to passersby of the store or where the board is located.

Another great idea is to give your sale some flair. Maybe balloons, colored table clothes, cheap sodas or something to spice up the place and make people stay a bit longer looking for that sweet deal. Be organized with your items. You cannot simply dump items haphazardly on a table, sit down, and expect to realize great profits. The people doing the most business and holding the most sales are the ones with interesting displays, easy to locate items, and be sure to have people around to keep an eye on things and/or answer questions.

At many garage sales, some of the merchandise (particularly the clothing) is dirty. Notice this when you visit other people’s garage sales, and then take it upon yourself to make sure that every item is clean and looking new. A bar of soap, a bucket of water, and a few old rags will do wonders for shop tools, garden equipment and bicycles. The same goes for furniture polish on old furniture, and a run through the
washing machine for all washable clothing.

It is advisable to determine a price for each item before you set it out for display. Then mark that price on a price tag, and attach a price tag to each item. Your prices should also always be rounded off to more or less even numbers such as: $.25, $.50, $1, $1.50, $2 and so on. In other words, don’t ask for $.35, $.95, or $1.98, or any of that sort of pricing. Almost needless to say, you should always mark everything up by 100% or more. In other words, if you have acquired a particular item for $1, set a price of $2 or more on it. It’s also a good idea to mark up your asking price from the bottom-line price you’re willing to accept. Basically, the price marked on the price tag at most garage sales is taken as the starting price from which the buyer and seller negotiate. Most garage sale promoters price their cheaper items at the bottom line price they will accept, and don’t deviate from those prices as shown on the price tag. Then on the more expensive items, $2 and up, they mark up their asking prices by 20 to 40 percent and use that margin for negotiating with the customer.

Be sure to be friendly, leaving a good first impression. Don’t be afraid to smile and talk to some of your customers, after all, they are there to possibly give you their money. You definitely need to keep an eye on your merchandise, but do so in an unobtrusive manner. You don’t want to be watched over your shoulder when you shop and neither do your customers. I would recommend to at least try and know most of the approximate value of your items, so that when it comes time to negotiate, you can deal a fair price, knowing when an offer is to low.

When the day comes, there are certain things you should be sure not to be without. These include having correct change for people, an extension cord for people to try out electronics and maybe some moving tools for big furniture.

Throw in your own ideas and go make yourself some money!

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