Sunday, May 1, 2011

De-clutter and Reduce with a Garage Sale

 Thank you Peggy Barnes for tips on reducing our waste.  Plus, I love a garage sale!

Hello to Everyone and Hello Spring!

This month we are going to talk about Garage Sales.  Many of my clients have piles of items that are designated for their garage or yard sale. Many of them have had those items in that pile for a very long time!  The key to a good garage sale is organization and setting aside time to prepare for the sale.   

Should I Have a Garage Sale? 
It is important to decide whether your time and effort are going to be worth it and whether the upside will outweigh the downside.   
1. Take into consideration the amount of time it will take to gather up all your items, price all your items, set up the items, advertise your sale, work the sale, take the leftover items to a designated place after the sale and clean up after the sale.  It takes about 2-3 weeks to really prepare properly for a large garage sale.

2. The next thing to consider is realistically how much you will be able to make at your sale.  Your items may not be as valuable as you think they are….but we will talk more about pricing your items.    

3. The other consideration is whether or not a tax deduction, by donating the items to a charity, will bring about the same benefits.  Just be realistic and you won’t come away frustrated or disappointed. 

When Should I Have the Garage Sale?
The obvious answer is when the weather is nice but we can’t always determine that.  Just try and look as far ahead at the weather, as you can, and take your chances!
Obviously, Saturdays is the day that has the highest attendance although many people have a lot of success with a Thursday or Friday sale.  Sunday is usually not a great day to have a sale, it typically is a very low attendance day.   One of the best ways to have a successful garage sale is to ask your neighbors to have one at the same time.  A multi-family sale brings in large crowds and keeps your neighbors from being irritated with you for having strange people driving around your neighborhood early on a Saturday morning.

How Should I Advertise?
Always advertise your garage sale in the local newspapers.  Also you can advertise on Craigslist or your social network site like Facebook.  Placing fliers around your neighborhood is another great way to advertise.  Traffic is obviously what is going to make or break the success of your sale.  When advertising, keep it short and sweet – address, dates, times and sale hours.  Also make sure that you note that early birds are not welcome or you will have some people at your door at 5:00 in the morning or even the night before!  If you have some specialized items, like a lot of children’s clothes or exercise equipment, make sure that is listed.  Make sure you have signs and directional signs posted in prominent locations.  Bright colored poster board is a great eye catching thing to use for signage.
  
What Should I Sell?
Rule of thumb: don’t try to sell higher priced items, valueable antiques or collectibles at a garage sale.  Bargains are what the typical garage sale goer is looking for.  Go through your house and find those things, however weird or unusual, that you do not use or love anymore and set those aside to sell.  A great way to get your kids to clear out their clutter is have them go through their things and decide what they would like to sell and they can keep the profits!  The kids should also help with the setting up, working the sale and the taking down of the sale.  This is a great time to teach the value of hard work.  A lot of items with a variety of prices encourages lingering and lingering encourages buying 

What Price Should I Put On My Items?
This is probably one of the hardest parts of a garage sale.  The rule of thumb in pricing is to price items at about 10-30% of what you originally paid for the item.  However, if an item is still current and in really good shape, you can price that item for more than that percentage.  It is a really good idea to print out a page that shows the item and the price someone would pay for it new.  You need to have a price on everything. Even if you put a sign that says, everything on this table $1.00, people are going to ask how much something costs.  Blue Painter’s Tape is a great thing to use to put on items for pricing.  Price everything ahead of time; do not think you will have any time the day of the sale to be pricing items.  Below is a link to a website that gives a wonderful comprehensive guide to pricing individual items. 


How Should I Display My Items?
Most items should be on tables.  A Ping Pong table or several 6 ft. tables work well.  Toys, however, are sometimes better displayed on a sheet or quilt on the ground; if children are at the sale, they will be drawn to them!  Clothes are best sorted by size and/or hung.  Using a clothesline, strung between two trees will work!

Miscellaneous Tips
  1. Have an extension cord available for testing electrical items
  2. Have things clean and repaired
  3. Have change on hand (enough to make change for $100 along with silver coin), grocery bags to bag items, a calculator, pen, pencils, tape measure, boxes and newspapers (to wrap fragile items in) and have a safe place to stash your cash.
  4. Have bags and newspapers available for wrapping fragile items or for someone to be able to carry a lot of items home!
  5. Try and round up a few people to contribute items to the garage sale.  If they don’t want to help with pricing or working the sale, charge them a commission % to sell their items.  This will benefit both of you…….you will have more diverse items, you make a little profit, they make a little profit and they are able to rid their homes of clutter. 

Home Electronics Disposal

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