Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Garage Sale Heaven

A successful garage sale depends on a lot of factors! Here are some things that catch my eye and might get me to spend a few dollars at your next shindig. Many of these will remind you of the craft show post recently. It makes sense because you're trying to sell.

Get my attention!

The garage sale sign is an art form. I imagine that I could't count the number of times I drove right by a sale because I had no idea it was there. And in brown, I suggest what would have caught my eye much better.

  • The tiny sale sign that you can buy at your local Mart is NO GOOD. You can't even fit your address in the little white bar at the bottom and there often isn't even an arrow to point down your street. Make your sign big. And make it yourself. You can put some design into it and make it really stand out.
  • The big hunk of cardboard you wrote on is NO GOOD. It's the same color as the telephone pole you stapled it to. Camouflage is not something you want to do with your garage sale sign. Use something brighter or at least lighter colored. Or go the exact opposite direction with something much darker with white writing.
  • The piece of neon printer paper is NO GOOD. Sure, it's colorful, but have you ever heard of "too long; didn't read"? Well this would be "Too small; couldn't read." Assume most people will be driving when they see your sign. A very wide Poster Sharpie will go a long way
  • Leaving your lawn bare is NO GOOD. Post a sign in your yard in case someone wasn't paying close attention to the address!
Show me what'ya got.

Now that I'm here, let me see your wares.

  • That blanket on the lawn with everything laying in the center is NO GOOD. I can't reach the things in the center without tumbling over, and I feel like a hunchback just browsing. Put your items up on tables. Garage workbenches, picnic tables, and card tables all work equally well.
  • Your clothing is all in a cardboard box or worse (a trash bag!) and that is NO GOOD. I don't have the motivation to pull out every item and check the tags. Plus I have to dig through it all leaving it a mess afterward and that's even less appealing. Use your clothesline, fence, or garage door as a clothing rack. Post a sign stating all the sizes that are available and organize them.
  • So how much is this? Should I make an offer? Making me wonder is NO GOOD. Post those prices! You'll always have hagglers, but many people will just hand over exactly what you ask for it. You can potentially make more than you expected!
  • I was on the lookout for certain kinds of items. You had them, but I didn't see them. Having everything everywhere is NO GOOD. Organize your secondhand wares logically. Taking a little extra time to put like items together such as books with unused greeting cards and notebook paper, movies with older movie players, and toys near the kids clothing makes it easier for the buyers on a mission to spot what they were hoping for.
Tips for a JACKPOT garage sale.

Here are some clever ideas I've noticed when browsing through some jackpot garage sales I've been to.
  • Masking tape is your best friend. It comes off easily, you can write a price or size directly on it, it's very inexpensive, and you probably have some already! I was at a sale recently with a bunch of different sized jeans. Each pair had a size written on a piece of masking tape right on the front pocket. 34x36, 16W, 18mo. I ended up buying 3 pairs of jeans all of which fit, and all because I could glance the size in a moment. If that doesn't sound impressive, it was the first time I've bought clothing at a garage sale in years.
  • Save up your plastic grocery bags. My arms can only carry so much! It sure was a great way for the seller to get rid of her bags and give me more incentive to keep looking and filling that bag now that everything wasn't falling out of my arms.
  • Host a group sale. Nothing gets my attention faster than the phrase "multi-family." Use that masking tape and a set of your child's many colors of marker to keep track of each family's earnings.
  • Unloading can still be profitable. If someone looks interested in a handful of empty picture frames, give him a deal and get the whole lot off your hands! You'll make more by selling the lot (might not have sold each piece separately) and he's happy because of the great deal you gave him.
  • Breaking a set can be profitable too. You'll find this a lot with crafters and handymen(women). I only want a single zipper/cabinet knob, but you're selling the entire box. Sometimes you can pull one or two items from a set and later on sell the rest as a lot for the original asking price anyway.
  • Put the radio on. Ease the awkward silence of browsing for the hunters and have a more enjoyable day yourself with some great tunes!
In any case, have a great time and I can't wait to rummage through your garage sale sometime.

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