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Old 06-06-2010, 12:56 AM
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Ok, we're having our first garage sale next Sat (or maybe Friday)

We've never had a garage sale before, so any tips would be appreciated.

We spent all day today sorting, pricing, etc. I use masking tape to put prices on items, except items I'm batching. I have a box, books, all books 25 cents each. also, have a knick knack table, all $1 each. Pictures, all $3 each. I figure keeping it at an even dollar amount, instead of 99 cents, etc, makes it easier to make change, don't have to fool around with pennies.

We have some big ticket items, including a water softener, new, and a toilet, new, in box (my dd is mortified we're selling a toilet), also, lots of garden tools, some furniture, toys, etc.

We plan to put up lots of signs throughout the neighborhood the day before, and advertise on Craig's List.

I plan to have a big box of school supplies to give away free, things like paper, pencils, rayons, etc, all either new or gently used, I hate to throw them away, but too bulky to pack up and take. I plan to have some bags people can just fill up with the items they want, seems a shame to toss them.

Also, I have a lot of Clinique and other makeup samples, I plan to bundle them and sell for $2-$3 each. some bottles of perfume, opened and slightly used, I will sell for $2-$3.

What about food---canned goods? I have a lot of canned goods i doubt we will use up, I might donate them to a shelter, but might just offer them free, just take them, get them off my packing list.

I will have about 4 people to help, including dh, ds and dd (if she doesn't hide while we sell the toilet!).

I see the garage sale as a way to make some extra $$$, but mainly a way to get rid of stuff that we would have to pay to move.

suggestions appreciated!
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:45 AM
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Donate anything that you would give away for free to the charity of your choice.

Donate your canned goods to a shelter.

Donate anything that doesn't sell after the garage sale to the charity of your choice.

ITEMIZE everything you donate and you'll have a tax deduction for next year.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:49 PM
Location: Central Fl
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Sounds like you planned well. Have EVERYTHING ready the night before. I put out a few traffic cones by the lower part of the driveway. I stick a sign in it with it saying "Open at 9am. No early birds. Thank you."

I open the garage when I'M ready.......close to 9am.

When open, I turn the sign around and move it to a large tarp in the yard next to the driveway saying "Free Stuff".

Tips- NEVER leave the cash box unattended. Do not let anyone inside your home. I cover up the more valuable stuff that I DO NOT want to sell with sheets and they are BEHIND tables in a way so that no one can get to the stuff I am NOT selling. Tables are put together in a big "U" shape around the walls of the garage in front of the stuff I'm keeping, with more tables in the middle, allowing for good traffic flow.

I ran a cable TV line out to one area where I was selling 4 TV's so folks can see them working. Have things lit, plugged in etc.

Have lots of bags.

I put signs on stuff, like a canopy bed I was selling..."A Canopy bed- every girls dream"

I also put signs up around the garage saying- "We are moving next year. We will have more garage sales, eventually selling EVERYTHING, including the house. If you don't see it, ASK, and come back again!....you will NOT be disappointed! Thanks!!"

We just had our garage sale yesterday and Friday, 9 to 3. Sold tons of stuff I will not miss at all. Mostly small stuff, with a few small pieces of furniture....nothing too costly. I made over $1500.00

One big rule- NOTHING GOES BACK INTO THE HOUSE. Anything that does not sell should be itemized and given to charity. Use the free software, "It's Deductible" - you will be amazed at your tax write-off.

One benefit for us was having probably 500 folks who now know we are selling probably by next spring- that is great free marketing.

Since we ARE getting rid of everything, (our Florida home is already furnished, so I'm moving almost nothing) I am leaving my tables set up, and spending the next month or so sorting through the house again, refilling all the tables. When the tables are full again, (and they will be), I will have another one, probably in August. I do not need the cars in the garage in the summer anyway, so this is good. We told everyone to come back in August. Many told us they would actually mark it on the calendar.

We told people, "If you need it and don't see it, ASK...we probably have one and WILL sell it before we move..." Made some good extra sales that way, because we did not have room for everything. My garage is about 24 x 36....we will need at least 3-4 sales to sell everything between now and next summer.....many things, like the mowers, snowblower, etc cannot be sold yet.....

I try to have the sale during the first weekend of the month, as more folks who get paid then have more money to spend.

My neighbor also had a garage sale the same time. We put signs up in each others garage telling folks "Check out the sale next door too!" When folks see more then one sale on a street, they will make sure to go there, so set times up with your neighbors.

I posted it on facebook, Craigslist, and told the younger folks in church about it. Many viewed it as an event. Guys can't wait untill I sort through my tools....(I don't need over 100 screwdrivers or over a dozen power drills in Florida.....I already have some good tools down there! )

Sorry for the long post...hope it helped. Looking forward to making that deposit when the bank opens tomorrow!

Oh, one more thing. Beware of dealers who will try to come the night before. They will tell you they have a sick kid in the hospital and can't make it tomorrow....or some story like that. They will say, "Could I just look?" They will try to cherry pick your best stuff and snag it for a low price, so they could resell it for a profit. There is nothing wrong with that, if they came during the posted time. Anything THEY want to buy the night before WILL sell during the normal time. IF you let them look, don't let them buy...that is shafting the folks who plan on being there the right time. Anything they want to buy- say "No thanks, come back tomorrow". You probably have the price way too low on those items....raise the price. If it is not gone by noon, THEN lower it.

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Old 06-06-2010, 06:02 PM
Location: Bangor Maine
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Just a suggestion but if it's a hot day put out a nice large pitcher of lemonade with some 6 or 8 oz paper cups - to offer free. Sounds like you are well prepared otherwise.. Expect some people to offer you less that some things are marked. That always seems to happen. I also concur with the person that said to donate the can goods to a shelter that does a meal or a soup kitchen. It will be much appreciated.
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:24 PM
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It will be hot here!

I read to have bottled water in an ice chest, sell for 10 cents, I will take a loss, but people will linger longer..............or should I give it away

My main goal is to get rid of stuff, profit second. I think of every item sold as one less item to pack, ship and store. My dh won't be here all day, but my kids will. My ds is shrewd, he knows his money, has an eagle eye, and wont let anyone rip us off. we plan to keep the doors locked at all times. also, he plans to wear a fanny pack for money, no money box.

Good idea to set the free stuff in a seperate pile, perhaps on a blanket or tarp on the lawn, along with some bags, just help yourself, school supplies, canned goods, etc.

Sorry, but the idea of taking food to a food bank doesn't appeal to me, simply because I've done that before and had my contributions turned down. They are looking for bulk donations from grocery stores, etc, don't want to process a few cans of this and that, not worth their inventory time, etc. I've already donated a ton of stuff to Goodwill, mostly things that don't sell well at garage sales, like clothes, etc.
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Old 06-06-2010, 06:51 PM
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If you are able, and have the time and merchandise, you could host the sale for more than one day. A Thursday or Friday will get you the hardcore garage sale shoppers who stay away on weekends, but a Saturday will get you those who have a regular work week.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by swmrbird View Post
If you are able, and have the time and merchandise, you could host the sale for more than one day. A Thursday or Friday will get you the hardcore garage sale shoppers who stay away on weekends, but a Saturday will get you those who have a regular work week.

Maybe do a Thurs & Fri

How soon in advance to advertise? we plan to advertise on Craigs List, perhaps I should start now? and when to put up signs, the day before or sooner?

Our house looks like a bomb went off inside, all the clutter now being staged for the sale. Lets just hope it sells1 If not, we will have sunday to haul it off to goodwill, either way, we're rid of it, yippee!
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Old 06-07-2010, 06:04 PM
Location: Central Fl
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I would go with whatever is the norm for the area. Around here, Friday is now the big day. People get paid then, and many plan on going to the sales then. Saturday is also good for those working weekdays. I did $900 on Friday and $600 on Saturday.......both days were worth it.

Our local paper has a deal for running an ad for 4 days, Saturday is a morning paper, so I ran it Wed-Sat.....also posting it on Craigslist and making it a facebook event.

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Old 06-07-2010, 08:04 PM
Location: Kansas City North
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Have plenty of change, dollar bills, etc. When I had a garage sale, the first few buyers all paid with $20 bills and depleted my supply of $1s very quickly.

Don't use a cash box. Use a carpenter's apron with big pockets or a fanny pack.

Decide in advance if you are going to accept checks (I wouldn't) and post a sign stating same. Stand fim on that. There will probably be someone who will want to use a check - politely direct them to the closest ATM and tell them you'll hold the item for 30 min. (or whatever time you feel is appropriate) while they go get cash. If they don't come back in allotted time, put it back on sale and congratulate yourself that you didn't take a bad check.
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Old 06-08-2010, 04:47 AM
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I've said this before, be prepared to know some Spanish. Maybe simple numbers, yes, no.

Are you near a main road or off one? That can make the difference in traffic. I know our house was off the road so we didn't do so well but my parents have a neighbor who always cleans up because they are on the main street between 2 major highways.

Be wary of thieves...keep an eye on your best small stuff. Sometimes people use diversions.

At the end of the day, just have a free box and let people take things.

I hear you on the donating things. I've decided most of my stuff is going in the trash. It's not worth giving if I am throwing it out. We don't have the amount of stuff worth holding a sale.

Good luck.
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