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Karen and I have been having Garage Sales for Years, we live for the opportunity to purge (get rid of crap) and get money for it (extra spending cash for the casino). After many years of having garage sales and going to garage sales we've learned a few tricks of the trade, you will have to forgive me if I rant once in a while (actually alot) but some things to me are just a no brainer but not everyone shares my same opinion. Here's some of my do's and don'ts of having a Garage Sale.
Spend time getting prepared if you can, don't just wake up Saturday morning and decide to have a garage sale, clean and dust the items you are putting out, nobody wants to buy your child's outgrown highchair with baby puke on it, I don't care how nice it is or how much money you spent on it.
Make sure the kitchen items don't have a greasy residue from sitting on that shelf above your cabinets for the last 10 Years.
Have everything priced, if you can't price everything at least put up signs saying make offer or everything on this table $1.00 or whatever, some people don't like to ask and if it's not priced they may just walk away.
Spend time on Signs, It cracks me up when I see a 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper written with regular pen ink on a stop sign, who do they think we are super heros with xray vision? Nobody can read it and quite frankly if that's the kind of effort you put into your signs then I can't imagine your sale is much better, oh and one small tidbit of info: make sure the spelling on your signs are correct. We use large pcs of cardboard and then cover it with white sheets of paper and then use sharpies or markers to write in HUGE Letters, include dates & times. Please be kind and take down your signs when it's over, nothing irritates me more than following signs that people put up for their sale 2 weekends ago but were too lazy to take down.
This is for the person having the garage sale and the person going to garage sales...HAVE CHANGE, nothing irks me more than your very first customer of the day wants to buy an item for 50 cents and hands you a $100 dollar bill and says do you have change, seriously people don't leave the house with a $100 dollar bill and expect people to break it, get a bunch of small bills, same for the person having the garage sale, if you are hoping that I will just say keep the change because you don't have 3 quarters to give me forget it!!!!
Try to have tables, if you don't have a table try to improvise with buckets and plywood or your ironing board or something at least. If everything is on the ground on a sheet in a big pile I usually just drive on by. If you have clothes try to hang them somehow, I guarantee if they are on a hanger and look nice they will sell much better and at a higher price than if they are just in a pile to pick through on the ground, one small hint at least use your lint roller to get rid of the dog and cat hair (just saying).
Greet every person that comes and say thanks to everybody that leaves whether they bought something or not, Karen and I grew up learning retail and customer service and I'm telling you a smile and a "Hi, How are you" goes a long way. It just blows my mind when I show up to a garage sale and you are the only customer there and the homeowner doesn't make eye contact with you or doesn't even bother to say Hi, hey you invited me to come to your sale with your signs it's not like I just knocked on your door and said sell me your stuff, the least you could do is say HI to me.
Have a FREE box and put it right up front, it is the best way to get rid of stuff that won't sell, seriously you could put a bag of dog poo with a ribbon on it and if it says free someone would take it. Don't be afraid to put anything in the free box, I guarantee someone will take and you don't have to put it in your own garbage.
Have a cooler with ice and sell cold pop and water, if it's a warm day people will gladly pay $ .50 or $1 for a cold bottle of water or soda, just make sure you have a little profit margin in there, you don't want to give it away.
Be willing to negotiate, I know some people aren't comfortable negotiating so you just price your item and then someone comes along and offers you less but you don't want to negotiate so you just let it go at the cheaper price and then you feel robbed. There are a lot of people not afraid to offer you next to nothing for your items so either price it lower and stay firm on the price or maybe price it a little higher then you have some wiggle room if someone wants to negotiate the price down.
Be honest and disclose details about items that aren't working or maybe missing a piece or part, if something doesn't work tell the person interested in it or if part of something is broken but the rest of it still works let them know, have an extension cord available to plug things in if people want proof that the item still works. First of all it's the right thing to do, second of all you might think well I'll never see them again so who cares but it could be a neighbor from down the street that you've never met and you sell them some faulty item and don't tell them, believe me they will remember and maybe tell the their neighbors that you are a not a nice person (probably in not so nice words).
Have grocery bags, you know you have a million of them stuffed somewhere so get them out and reuse them for your customers. People remember nice and organized garage sales and will come back, we've had people tell us they remember us from a previous year.
This isn't a must but it's kind of nice, have some kind of music playing quietly in the background, you don't want to have Black Sabbath blaring (no offense Ozzy, you know I love you but...) if there is some quiet music in the background it breaks up the silence and may actually keep people there longer, when I am the only customer at a sale and there is absolute silence and if the homeowner doesn't greet me then I just feel awkward and uncomfortable and want to get out of there quickly. I know not everyone feels like that but it can't hurt to try it!
Just a few of my Garage Sale no brainers, what are some of yours????