By Marilyn Bohn
My daughter and her family are moving to a different state and they have several items they don't want to take with them so they are having a garage sale. I just organized a two car garage and my client found so many duplicate, good, and unwanted items that she is having a garage sale. The reasons for a sale are many and varied. No matter why you are having a garage sale here are some tips for a successful sale:
1·Gather Your Inventory
Once you have decided on what you will sale be tough with yourself. Store your yard sale inventory in black plastic garbage bags or boxes with lids. No peeking! There is no appeal, no mercy and no second chance. The things in the bags or boxes are no longer junk or stuff, its inventory!
2·Set The Date
Choose your day, and plan a one-day sale. Have a strategy for sale's end. Many charities will pick up all unsold items. Or set a time and after that time give everything away free, or charge a dime for everything. My daughter got a beautiful, in excellent condition queen size bed free at a garage sale. She didn't even know after 3:00 everything was free, but they stuck to their decision and she benefited. Whatever you do, don't let the survivors back in the house! If you can't sell this stuff at a garage sale, why would you want it to clutter your home?
You've sorted your stuff and scoped out the field. Now it's time to play retailer. First rule: advertise, advertise, and advertise. Put an ad on Craig's List or other local advertizing places.
The secret to a successful yard sale is foot traffic. The more folks who walk through your sale, the more you'll sell. Lots of cars parked on your street tell yard-sale cruisers where to find you. If business is brisk, buyers won't leave your premises without that lighted beer sign, for fear that someone else will snatch it right up. The more, the merrier; your muffin-tin change sorter will overflow.
Depending where in the country you live put an ad in the newspaper. Many local papers offer special garage sale rates or free signs to yard sale advertisers. Watch your wording. Mention furniture, baby items, garden tools or other desirable items you have to offer, but don't waste your money on "miscellaneous".
If you want to keep pre-dawn bargain hunters from banging on your door at 5 a.m., include the phrase "No early birds!" in your ad. A creative use of "Early birds pay double" will discourage all but the most fanatic; make them pay for the privilege.
Use your computer (or your kids) to make signs, lots of signs. Use neon poster board and deep-black markers. Make the directions BIG. If you can't see your signs from a block away, neither can your customers. If you live tucked deep in a twisted spiral of subdivision streets, place sign at each and every corner between your house and the nearest main road. Make it easy for buyers to find you.
4·Preparation and Price
Assess your inventory. Does it look garage-sale drab? A little elbow grease can yield big bucks. Run dusty dishes and filmy glassware through the dishwasher. A quick spritz with automotive vinyl protectant makes small appliances and plastic items shine like new. Clean, fresh-smelling clothing hung on hangers commands a higher price than stained and rumpled items tossed into boxes.
Pay attention to packaging. Plastic food storage bags group children's game pieces, display jewelry, and hold hardware bits and pieces.
Price every item. Yes, haggling is part of the yard sale scene, but for those with shyer natures, a price sticker saves a lot of energy. Buyers are more apt to buy when they know the price is in their ballpark. Use masking tape or small adhesive stickers to label your wares.
Bundling is an old retailer's trick, and one well suited to the yard-sale seller. Abide by your area's yard sale price guidelines. Yard sales have their own economy. The goal is to get rid of stuff. Your shoppers know the going prices as well as you do.
5·Set Up Shop
Make sure your site can be seen from the road, and plan to haul a few big items out front, for good measure. It's best to work from a stripped site, so remove everything that's not for sale from the driveway, garage or carport. If you can't, drape the not-for-sale items with sheets or tarps.
Set out your wares. Tables, even a slab of plywood board resting on sawhorse, make it easy to browse. Hang clothing from ropes or chains attached to the ceiling. Display books, spines up, in shallow boxes for easy shopping. When possible, use signs to identify merchandise: full-size sheets, infants' clothing. Lay a heavy-duty extension cord to operate radios and television, and test electrical appliances.
Remove anything that can be tripped over, including the dog, who should live elsewhere for the duration of the sale. Check the garage floor and driveway for slippery spots or hidden hazards. Tape down extension cords or cables.
Are you ready to make change? A muffin tin makes a good change holder. Be prepared with at least $20 in small bills and change. Or a big pocket apron works too or an old tackle box.
6·Ready, Set, Sell
Don't sit there like a lump in a lawn chair! Get up and talk to people. Be excited and enthusiastic. Be bubbly and vivacious and share lots of information about that wonderful set of bed linens that you love and adore but no longer match your color scheme. Put your best foot forward.
Plan for at least two staffers for every yard sale, and more is better. One person acts as "background", shuffling cash, keeping an active eye on everything. A cashier sits at the front with muffin tin or cash box. Leave the selling to the most enthusiastic salesperson.
Offer free lemonade or some drink, and give your children a taste of private enterprise, entrusting them with a donut concession. If people are eating, they're staying--and if they're staying, they're buying. That's the point!
7·When The Sale Is Over
Wrap up your sale when you said you would. A yard sale is a lot of work, and you're still not finished. Dispose of the leftovers, either to the charity pick-up or by boxing and delivering the items yourself. Be considerate of your neighbors and next week's yard sale enthusiasts. Remove all signs, and return your sale site to normal.
Then go count your proceeds--and take the family out to dinner. You've earned it!
Marilyn is a creative organizer who helps women, seniors and their families create space and end clutter in their homes and offices by setting up custom made systems.
Marilyn invites you to visit her website http://www.marilynbohn.com where you can find solutions to your organizing needs. She offers free tips in her blogs, articles and videos for your home and office organizing solutions.
Marilyn is a creative organizer who has been organizing for over 20 years. She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and is working towards becoming a Certified Professional Organizer. Professionally she has been organizing homes and offices for two years. She holds a bachelors degree in Social Work. She has reared five daughters and currently lives in Utah.
Go to her website http://www.marilynbohn.com where you can find free organizing tips and interesting blogs and helpful articles on organizing.