Your Spring Garage Sale Primer

garage_sale_clip.gifIt’s Spring and a great time to clean out the house of unwanted items.  Whether you’re getting ready to move, or just doing Spring Cleaning, it’s a great time  to dispose of many outgrown and no-longer-wanted items. It beats taking the items with you if you are moving, and can even put several hundred dollars in your pocket toward buying furnishings for your present or new home.  Since we are often asked for advise on many of the things relating to a moving we thought you’d like a primer on garage sales.  So here is some of the best advice we have picked up over the years on what to do for a successful garage sale..

Planning

Allow plenty of time!  It can take three to four weeks just to prepare. Choose a date that will not conflict with holidays or other events that might lure prospective customers away. More people are likely to show up on weekends than weekdays. Your sale is likely to attract more customers if you join together with neighbors in a larger effort with more to sell.  Some homeowner associations sponsor tag sales or garage sales, so ask yours if you belong to one.

What to Sell

Practical household goods, bicycles, childrens toys and clothes, sports equipment and garden tools are often sold prior to a move.  Don’t move anything that you’re not currently using because moving is expensive.   Adult clothing has less appeal to people so price it accordingly. All items should be clean, polished and in good repair. Look around the garage and closets in your house and think about what you haven’t used in years, and sell them off.

Display

Stores merchandise their wares to attract your attension, so do the same thing with your garage sale.  Merchandise your items attractively in neat, clean surroundings. Paper tablecloths offer a pretty setting for glass and ornamental items. Cluster things in categories. Place more desirable items toward the back so browsers can notice other merchandise on their way to the most popular items. Have a 25-cent miscellaneous table for children. Clothes should be sized accurately and hung on a temporary rack.

Logistics

If you’re selling appliances, have a table near an outlet so customers can try before they buy. Set aside adequate parking, if you can, and a place to load large items. Have plenty of bags and boxes on hand for packing and newspapers for wrapping glass items. If you have the space, it’s nice to offer a place for trying on clothing.

Promotion

Place a classified ad in the local papers include three or four of the more tantalizing items for sale.  Give directions if you live in a hard to find area.  Don’t forget to tell people the hours you’ll be open. Take advantage of free publicity provided by bulletin boards in grocery stores and other public places. Provide directional signs to your property using an indelible pen. If your house is listed for sale, have your Realtor® hold an open house on the same day, increasing traffic for both the house and the sale. Expect early birds knocking on your door and if you don’t want to sell early, don’t.

Pricing

Visit other sales to get an idea on how to price things. Remember that garage sale shoppers are looking for bargains, so be prepared to bargain and lower your prices. Really valuable items such as antiques should not be sold at a garage sale because they’re not likely to bring the desired price from bargain hunters. Nothing is too worthless to be valuable to someone, so have a giveaway box for old magazines and other assorted odds and ends. Remember the idea is to unclutter your life!

Staging

Post a notice that all sales are final and payment must be in cash. Keep ample change in a cash box in a protected spot. Keep a record of sales, especially when there are several sellers. One recording method that is simple and efficient is to use small adhesive stickers in different colors to price items, then transfer the sticker to the name of the seller when the item is sold.

After the sale, donate left over items that are in good condition to one of the many charities in our area.  These charities are always looking for clean, usable clothing and small appliances.  If you were unable to sell furniture, check with all of the local charities around you to see who will take them for donation as not all are willing to do so.  Finally, you can often find buyers for furniture through online ads on Craigs List.

Moving? Know the value of your home …