Throw a successful and hassle-free garage sale
Awww the sunshine is finally here and that means it’s the season for one of my favorite pastimes: Garage Sales!!! I’m one of those fanatics who can’t resist stopping everything I have planned as soon as I see one of those cardboard signs pinned up on a telephone pole. This drives my husband crazy as I’ve yet to convert him. I love the thrill of the unknown as to what treasures I might find or weird items I may discover. Plus, garage sales are the best place to get really cheap deals because people usually just want to have their junk gone!
Last weekend I wound up having my own garage sale to get rid of the basement full of crap I unearthed while spring cleaning. If you recall from my last post, I found some rather strange items like heart-printed toilet paper, a neon unicorn and a giant martini glass. Well, I ‘m happy to report that both the neon unicorn and giant martini glass were sold for a profit of….$0.75!!! Woo-hoo! A little girl pleaded with her mother for the unicorn stuffy and the martini glass went to a guy who plans to give it to his mom for Mother’s Day (he told me that she loves margaritas so he’s planning on making her a giant one in the glass…now that’s what I call a great Mother’s Day present!!)
It had been a while since my last garage sale and from this most recent one, I’ve come up with some helpful tips that I thought might be come in handy for any of you out there planning on purging your houses this summer and hosting your own.
1. Let people know about your garage sale: Dig out the markers and cardboard, employ the kids and start pinning posters about your upcoming garage sale in the neighborhood. Don’t forget to post your garage sale on your local Used.ca site by going to Place an Ad > Info > Events & Garage Sales. Lot’s of people check out the sales in the area to map out where their treasure hunt will take them.
2. Don’t price your items: This sounds strange as you would think it would be best to price everything so people know right away what you’re selling an item for. Trust me, it’s so much more hassle than it’s worth. You’ll spend hours putting price tags on all your items and only 25% will actually sell. Plus I’ve realized that it’s human nature for us to overprice items that we personally own as we are attached to them. So, when you put a price tag of $5 on the ugly candle stick holder that your grandma gave you, it’s not going to sell. It’s better to make up a sign that says “Make me an offer” so that you can barter with people. Example: When someone asks you how much the candlestick is and you say five dollars, you’ll quickly realize that the price is too high and then can ask them how much they would like to spend. This brings me to my next tip.
3. Don’t overprice your items: As I said, it’s human nature to feel that your personal items are worth more than what most people would pay, but remember you want to get rid of all this junk! I fell victim to this at my own garage sale: a woman asked how much this poster was and I came back at her with a price of $10! By the look on her face, I suddenly realized that I was asking way too much for it and had to remind myself that I actually wanted all of this stuff out of my house. Plus, the game plan was to donate everything left over to good will, so getting any money at all was a bonus. I asked her what she wanted to pay and we agreed on five dollars….poster gone!
4. Make a free box: One of the best ways to get rid of a lot of stuff is to put some of it in a box labelled “Free Stuff.” People can’t resist the word free and will gladly take these items off your hands, lightening your load to good will! We had a funny thing happen at our garage sale. This lovely older couple were shopping around and had purchased several items from us. The woman noticed that my friend Caron had a large free box at the end of the driveway. She asked how much she was allowed to take and Caron jokingly replied that she could take the whole box if she wanted to. A few minutes later I noticed that the box had gone missing and asked Caron where it had gone. She pointed to a car across the street and said “I believe it’s now in that couple’s trunk!” They took the entire box!! We killed ourselves laughing and I was kicking myself for not putting some of my items in it earlier. As the old saying goes, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” I’m guessing that couple thought they had found a treasure chest!
5. Donate it ALL: Once the garage sale is over and you’ve made a few bucks to go towards that road trip this summer, make sure to just pack everything up into the truck and drive directly to the Salvation Army to donate it. DO NOT start going through all the items again thinking that you might actually use them again one day. This defeats the entire purpose for having held a garage sale in the first place. Remember, you want to get rid of all this stuff otherwise you wouldn’t have had the garage sale! You will be tempted to keep some items so my advice is to invite some friends over for beer in exchange for them helping load up the truck so you don’t even see what’s being taken away. Plus, maybe they’ll want some of your things…my girlfriend stopped by and wound up leaving with a water bottle, a camping lantern and some clothes!
All in all, our garage sale went really well and I managed to make $79.25 to go towards our trip to Halifax this summer to see my husband’s family. Plus, I followed my own advice and donated everything else as soon as the sale was done. My house is finally clean and uncluttered…now the only dilemma is stopping myself from re-cluttering it with items from garage sales this summer! It’s a vicious cycle I tell ya! Lol.