I made it! Waking up at 6:30 am doesn’t kill you! I managed to have a garage sale and not die from exhaustion! Also, I decided that this may be the one and only garage sale I ever have, or maybe it will just be a long time before I do another one. It was A LOT of work but in the end, it was so worth it.
Okay, maybe I’m overacting a little. I had a lot of help from multiple people. Our garage sale had three different families contributing and most everyone helped with setting up and taking down. Plus everyone took care of their own pricing, so I didn’t do it all.
Now that it’s all over and I’ve had time to catch up on some sleep, I’ve been thinking and reflecting on how everything went from organizing to selling it all. I realize there is always room to grow and improve. I definitely learned a few things and I thought I would share them with you.
1. Don’t Put Things in Boxes
This is one I learned as the days went on. Some people will dig though boxes, but most won’t. So as things sold and thinned out, I tried to pull things out of boxes and put them up on tables. I wanted to make sure it was easy to see. This method really did help sell things.
I had a ton of linens and blankets that I sold. I started out with them in boxes and honestly I sold about half of them this way. However, as room opened up on the tables, I put the rest out and sold even more. There were a few sheets and blankets left that I expected. (I was very surprised that they sold to begin with.)
2. Try to Hang As Many Clothes As Possible
Shadrach hung a good bit of his clothes and he seemed to have more success selling his stuff. It probably helped that he was the only one that put out men’s clothing. 🙂
3. Try to Spread Things Out
Make sure that it’s easy to see everything and the prices are visible. Don’t overcrowd your tables. If the tables are too crowed, people may miss something or not even take the time to look. Any big items or things you think people may be interested in, should be clearly visible. This may mean spreading furniture, for example, out on the lawn.
4. Everything Needs A Price
Pretty much everything was priced in our garage sale but there were a few things that weren’t. Those items would be looked at but people rarely asked about a price. However, once we priced them, they sold. So make sure to price everything reasonably before putting it out. If you aren’t sure what to ask for it, put the price a little higher and leave room for negotiations, or do your research ahead of time. Look things up on eBay or something similar. Just keep an eye on things, because items priced too high will get lots of looks, but no offers. Be willing to adjust prices. Also, know that if there is an item someone REALLY wants and it’s priced too high, they will ask to negotiate.
5. Be Willing To Negotiate
Part of the fun of garage sales is haggling. Some people go just for that very reason and people will ask for things at a lower price, sometimes much lower than they should. Be willing to lower prices but also have an idea of how low you want to go on items and stand firm at the lowest price. If people really want something they will pay what you ask. In fact, I had a lady who decided not to buy something after I stood firm at a price. Then about an hour later, she came back and decided to buy the items. This probably won’t happen all the time but you have to know the lowest you are willing to take for an item.
6. Know When to Mark Things 1/2 Off
I know it’s crazy to think about marking garage sale items 1/2 off, but if you are going to donate them anyway after everything is over, you might as well try to get something for them. The less you have to mess with after all is said and done, the better!
On our last day, it was rainy and cloudy. So the traffic wasn’t great. We weren’t able to be open for more than a few hours before the rain really started and we had to close up to get our stuff out of the rain. Everything should have just been 1/2 price on Saturday, our last day.
7. Be Friendly
I think this one really does go without saying but make sure and greet everyone! Smile, say, “Hi” and acknowledge them. It goes a long way. You can even ask them some questions. (Gasp!) I know, I’m thinking crazy, but the friendlier you are, the more likely they will stay and look a little longer. Now, this does not mean follow the person around from table to table and make them feel like they are being stalked. Just make eye contact and say something polite to each person who comes by. Or you could be like Logan and call everyone your friend and get so excited that “friends” are coming to your house. 🙂
8. Have Fun and Be Flexible
Most of all, have fun! I felt like we had some interesting people come through our garage sale. Some people really like to talk and share their stories. You can learn a lot about people and maybe even get to know a neighbor or two you didn’t now before.
Also, be flexible! You aren’t an actual store and there are no hard and fast rules. So go with the flow and don’t have expectations. Trust me, things never turn out the way I predict but usually it ends up being much better than I imagined. I know that I like a plan and I like things organized, but when you are doing something with 3 other families, things won’t always go the way you planned.
Overall, this was a good experience and I’m so glad we did it. We got rid of so much stuff and pretty much everything left at the end was donated. We had a hard and fast rule, once it went out to be sold, it didn’t come back in the house. It feels good to have gotten our basement organized and cleaned up and to free ourselves of items we should have gotten rid of years ago.