Monday, August 5, 2019

Tips for Hosting an Epic Garage Sale!

So you want to host a garage sale?

We've composed a list with few things to think about before you have the big sale.

Please price all of your items!

  • When pulling out items from your closets and shelves, go ahead and price them. 
  • Use stickers, string tags, or masking tape to mark your price, although please consider where you place the sticker. After sitting out in the hot sun, stickers can leave damaging marks on leather shoes (I might have a pair of those with a damaged spot.) When removed, stickers can damage paper or the finish of items, so sticker placement can have lasting effects. 
  • You can always have a table where everything is $1, $2, $5, etc to save on pricing things individually. 
  •  DO NOT use a permanent marker to write the price on an item. I have walked away without numerous items, because someone wrote on the item with permanent ink. 
  • This big sale had almost everything priced! (unfortunately, we didn't know they wouldn't have clothes and there wasn't any good vintage pickin's, but they had lots of items priced and organized!) 

Organize your items. 

  • We have friends who host a very organized sale and they will always have a very profitable sale. 
  • Display like items together and stage what you can, just like in a store. 
  • If at all possible, hang your clothing. (Yes, I bought a leather jacket in the middle of the summer, because I could see how awesome it was hanging on the rope stretched out from the barn to a tree in the yard!) 

  • If clothing must be displayed on tables, organize them folded by sizes or styles (little boys, girls, women's...) 
  • As clothes on hangers sell, use the empty hangers to move the items on tables to the hanging rack. 
  • Please don't throw your clothes in a big pile on the ground and expect someone to dig trough it. 
Promote your sale - after all the work cleaning out your closets and house, you've got to get people to come buy your items. 
  • Social media is a good place to start, but it's not the only place you need to advertise. I don't care how much I am on Facebook or how often my feed is refreshed, the garage sale post seem to always show up on Sunday afternoon, the day after the sale ended. If we are not personal friends or a member of the same Facebook group, we might not ever see your sale announcement. 
  • Post an ad in your local paper. We go thrift shopping on Thursdays and that's the day our local paper comes out. We get the paper and plan out our route. Sometimes the online version of the paper is ready on Wednesday night and we can plan out where to start our day. 
  • Signs are also a great way to promote your sale. Just as with the social media post, if you use signs only, someone is only going to find your sale, if it's along their normal, daily path. If you are in town, this can work for you, although if you are in the country, you will have less intentional traffic. I'm not going to drive every country road in our county, just looking for a random sign, although if I saw ads in the paper, with items of interest, we will drive the distance. 
Do's and Don'ts with Signs. 
  • Big pet peeve: People who don't take their signs down after a sale. We've chased plenty of signs in the past, to realize they were left up from the previous weekend. I've seen some stay up for a month or more. 
  • Do make them very visible and eye catching. Remember, we are seeing your signs from a vehicle at considerable distance and we usually aren't sitting still. 
  • A little sign, stuck in the grass with little bitty writing, can't be seen very well. 

  • Being able to see an arrow for which way to turn is always helpful and considerate of traffic behind us. 

  • Fun signs are eye catching and make customers happier. We followed assorted signs like these for about 10 miles, laughing all the way! 

  • If you advertise you have a BIG sale, make sure it really is! We've drove way out of town for the "Mother of all Sales" and the "Hoarders Paradise" to be very disappointed with a couple of tables on a front porch. The next time we see those ads, we won't make the drive out there again. 
  • Find some more ideas on creating eye catching sale signs by Jennifer Allwood here.

Now that you are almost ready for the big sale, lets think about a couple more things you need.

  • Make sure you have enough change. Be prepared to break somebodies $100 bill. It happens. Someone happens upon your sale and they find something they really want and don't have any smaller bills with them. Don't loose a sale, because you didn't have change.
  • Food and drinks are needed, so you don't have to leave your sale. 
  • I can't make this stuff up. We saw this sign, honked, talked to the cat, looked around and NOBODY ever came outside. We left empty handed. Don't leave your items unattended. 

  • You'll want chairs and a table to use as your check out stand. 
  • If you are hosting the sale with a friend and you each have items, you will need paper and pen to help keep up with each others items.
  • I've been to a few sales were they've even used a cash register. 
  • Consider taking credit cards or PayPal, etc as a way for someone to purchase items. (Ideal if you have some big ticket items or if someone comments online and wants you to "hold" an item. Get their payment to reserve the item for pick up at your sale. 
  • If you have room, maybe consider having a couple of holding areas for customers to place their items, while they shop. At the "Epic" sale, they had racks to hold items plus they had these convenient shopping baskets. Now, would I go out and purchase these items, just to host a sale? Probably not, but if you have room and have the items on hand, it's an added convenience for customers, which leads to happy customers who are in the mood to buy more. We laughed all the way to their sale and it was super organized and thought out. They had good, clean merchandise and lots of shoppers. 

  • Also consider having plenty of bags, boxes, and packing material. Save your grocery sacks for a time period leading up to your sale. Reuse the "junk mail" for wrapping breakables such as dishes, glassware, or figurines. Boxes will help hold items for the customer who buys the entire set of dishes or tote away a bunch of random items. 
  • Please keep your pricing in mind. You are having a yard sale to clean out your house and get rid of the clutter. Something might sell for more online, but know that will take the extra effort for you to photograph it, list it, wait for it to sell, and ship it. If you want to get rid of the item now, think about a fair price that will move it along quickly. 
  • If someone is there and wants it that day, work with them on a price. I remember reading in a book about selling online and they said "something is only worth what someone else will pay for it." Reread that again and think about it. Trust me, the beanie babies that you thought were collectibles... they aren't highly sought after. 
  • One time, I tried to sell my prom dress at a garage sale. Someone offered me a price for it and I refused the offer. Nobody else came along and wanted it, therefore, I was stuck with a dress I wouldn't wear again and no money. 
  • Unfortunately, reports are saying that no one wants your china dishes, so most likely they will not fetch a premium price, even if they've been stored for years and don't have any chips. (That's why I wrote this post about using the pretty dishes.) 
  • Consider having a 1/2 price day. Most estate sales are full price the first day, sometimes 25% on the second day or afternoon, and almost always 50% off on the final day. It's a good way to move out the remaining items on the last day of the sale. 
  • Have a plan to deal with your leftover items. Will you take them back in the house? Will You attempt to sell online? Will you donate to a resale shop, church mission in your town, shelter, call someone to come pick up your items? 
Remember to have fun and say hello to all your customers, when they arrive! Be friendly and courteous and watch your items disappear away from your epic sale!  

And hey, if you want some fun junkin' t-shirts and accessories, just hop over to my shop to find them! 

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