24/7 MOMS Frugal Living Editor
Spring has sprung, and with it comes the opportunity to make cash by holding a garage sale. Your efforts will be most rewarded when you create a sale where your buyers love to shop.
Begin with planning your advertising. Signs make or break your sale, so don’t leave making them to the last minute. Drivers will drive to or away from your sale, based on signage. Use bright colored paper and thick, permanent markers. Advertise the date(s), time, location and direction drivers need to find your sale. Save lists of your inventory for print or online ads. Using the same color paper and printing for your signs will distinguish your sale from others. Be sure your signs are durable and can weather the climate they’ll be placed in.
Advertise your sale on local bulletin boards, Craigslist, with your Facebook friends, and in community newspapers. Think payday weekends, community events and other sales in your neighborhood to increase traffic. Use keywords that are popular, such as baby items, kids’ stuff, tools, furniture, etc. Research places in your community where you can affordably advertise. Ask around for links to garage sale listings, buy-sell-trade Yahoo groups, and other places where buyers look for garage sales.
Give yourself plenty of time to gather your good stuff. I always have a garage sale “seed box” where I place items I want to sell. Be sure your items are clean and in working condition. Don’t sell junk items with good stuff as this “cheapens” all of your merchandise. Price your items fairly, based on the average prices in your community and not what you paid for them. Be reasonable and willing to make “package deals” or discounts. If you don’t know what items sell for in your area, research them in the classifieds or with neighbors. Realize that overall; if you give your customers a great deal, they’re buy more. Utilize clear, visible pricing tags and signs. Buyers are often in a hurry to get to the next sale, so don’t frustrate them or they’re likely to move on. Price your items to sell during your highest buying traffic.
Inventory placement is key to selling what you have at the best price. Place items in a “department store” fashion, close to their accessories. Present an organized appearance, rather than piles of stuff most people don’t want to wade through. Label items in a way that will attract a buyer. Create corners where kids can reach toys, books and things meant for them, away from the main flow of traffic. If you don’t want items played with, put them in view but out of reach.
Selling with a group makes your sale more attractive to prospective buyers. Several sellers working together can lighten the workload if you communicate and help one another. Anyone not at the sale who is leaving items to sell should be readily available by phone for questions. Merge the cashier process if possible. Clearly label each person’s items and have a system for recording who sells what.
Food, childcare and cleanup are parts of group selling that get thought of last, but mean the most on sale day. Save yourselves your hard-earned cash by organizing a potluck to keep everyone fed. Children can be an obstacle to selling, especially if you’re selling their stuff. Work together or with a separate person to take care of the kids. No one wants to be left with leftovers, or a mess – so you must have a plan for closing time.
Be ready before opening time, with small cash for making change, bags and paper for packing breakables. Welcome your buyers and ask them what they’re looking for. You may make a deal on something you’re willing to sell but don’t have as part of your sale. Have fun and when you’re done, be sure to note what worked for you this time – and what you need to make your next sale more profitable.