Preparing for a Garage Sale…

The last few weekends have been dedicated to clearing out our closets, kitchen cabinets, garage, etc. in preparation for this weekend’s garage sale.   My mom inspired this post when she asked, “how should we display the items and how should be price the items?”  Well, let’s first discuss how to get ready for a garage sale.

Goal: Clear the items you don’t use and sell them for a profit.

Steps on getting ready for a garage sale:

  1. Clear out closets, cabinets, garage, etc.  Ask yourself these questions – Have I worn this in the last year?  Do I use this pot or pan or utensil to cook?  Do these lamps still add to my décor?  If the answer is NO, then sell it in the garage sale.
  2. Gather and store the items for the garage sale in one place (usually the garage since that is where the garage sale is typically held).
  3. Set a date and advertise on Craigslist, your local paper, and on the internet.  Put garage sale signs at the front of the neighborhood and direct them to your house. If you don’t want “early bird’s” make sure to state that on your signs. Be creative and say something like “early birds pay double.”
  4. Prep your inventory – make your items look like new.  For example, if selling a mirror, then clean the mirror to get rid of finger prints.  Spray the clothing that you are selling (which should be hanging, not folded) with a fabric freshener.
  5. Pricing – see below.
  6. Display – use creativity when displaying the garage sale items.  Keep like items together by bundling with twine or in baggies.  Big ticket items like furniture should be near the front to entice shoppers. You’ll get a higher price for appliances or electronics if you lay out all the attachments, accessories and related paperwork for that item.  If you have no original receipt, go the retailer’s website to determine the approximate purchase price.  An extra bonus would be to include the owner’s manual.  A well-organized, tidy garage sale equals good profit.  It suggests to the buyers that the items have been well maintained.
  7. If you are selling items that require electricity, have an extension cord accessible for your customer to test the appliance/electronics.
  8. Sometime before the garage sale, make a trip to the bank to get $100 ($90 in ones and $10 in coins).
  9. Time for the sale!

Reminder:  when it comes to garage sale pricing, remember to price it within reason…taking into consideration you are selling a used item.  In other words, do not expect to get exactly what you paid for the item.  The more willing you are to sell the item at a fair price, the fewer items you will have remaining in your garage after the sale is over.   Everything should be marked clearly.  Garage sale labels can be purchased at local stores like Wal-Mart or Target or you can be creative and make your own.

A good rule of thumb is to price the item 35% less than what you originally paid for it (depends on the current condition).  So remember to expect and be ready to deal with the shopper.  Be reasonable with your prices. If someone makes an offer on an item that you are not willing to negotiate, offer to take their name and number to call them if the item doesn’t sell during the garage sale.

At the end of the garage sale, if you have items that did not sell, DO NOT put them back in the garage; DO call your local charity or donation center to have them pick up the items.

I”m looking forward to this weekend’s garage sale. Check back next to see how we did!

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