Spring is near: How to organize a successful garage sale
This week I will be featuring a series on spring. I figure if the forecast won’t nudge the warmer weather along, my writing may help eradicate the catatonic effect that winter is having on my brain.
Once spring does arrive, most of us develop the need to purge the excess from our homes, to feel free and unencumbered. Often, garage sales and general de-cluttering become a major part of spring cleaning.
Organizing a successful garage sale is an art form. Sure, any Joe Shmoe can set items out in front of his house, and maybe even sell a few things. However, his sale will not be as lucrative as it could have been, had he strategically planned the event.
There are certain things to consider when preparing a garage sale that can drastically increase its success and revenue:
- Timing is everything. Although it is easy to get busy doing many other things on weekends come the warmer weather, it’s best to schedule a garage sale early in the season. Many dedicated garage-sale shoppers are addicted to the rush of finding a good deal (aren’t we all?) and are desperate to get back in the game after a long winter. It’s like the musty scent of their drug is calling. If you wait until the end of summer to sell your stuff, you risk missing out on the height of their enthusiasm;
- Early morning: Some people will be parked in front of your house as early as 7am. They are usually the more serious buyers so cater to them and start your day early;
- Advertise, advertise, advertise: Post signs everywhere! At street corners, in online (free) classifieds, on community bulletin boards. Even try to align your personal sale with the neighbourhood sale. These are often advertised on a larger scale so you can benefit from the increased traffic;
- Determine your bottom line: mark each of your items to reflect your ideal price. However, be prepared to negotiate. Know your absolute bottom line for each item and communicate this limit to anyone helping you on the day. Whatever price you attribute to an item – no matter how low and how reasonable - there will always be someone trying to knock off 50%. Don’t take it personally. It’s just business;
- Put your kids to work: one way to ensure added income to any garage sale is to set up a coffee and baked goods stand. You can sell each cookie for 25 cents and a coffee for 75 cents. Often shoppers will buy something from your kids simply because they are cute. But also, it’s nice for them to have the opportunity to buy a treat while on their shopping journey. Shoppers love it and the profit should offset the time and money it requires to make. The advantage is that your kids will enjoy having their own responsibility and will feel included in the family sale.
If you do decide to host a garage sale, try to have fun. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with your family, enjoy the nice weather and make a few bucks before lunch.