One of the big things we stress with all of our listings is to “stage” a home. Staging requires you to clear out many of your personal effects and items that to you make the home looked lived in but to potential Buyers may it look cluttered. The best advice we’ve heard when it comes to deciding what you should do with that “stuff” is to ask yourself if you’ll keep it, sell it, or trash it.
When it comes to the “sell it” things, we’ve all heard the saying “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure”. There’s a huge resurgence in the idea of upcycling and a demand for vintage items. Many people are getting back into the garage sale method of selling items they no longer want and cashing in on the demand. But a garage sale can be a waste of time if you don’t take the right steps. So how do you set yourself up for a successful garage sale?
Do Your Research
First find out if you can have a garage sale on your property. Some homeowner’s and condominium associations may restrict garage sales. Likewise, municipalities may have restrictions on the days you host, where you hold it, and may even require you to purchase a permit.
Research the market price for many of your big ticket items such as furniture, electronic equipment, tools, etc. You don’t want to price yourself out of the market before you even set up.
Pick Your Day and Time
A good day can be a deciding factor in the success of your garage sale. Garage sales used to be held on weekends only but they are starting to trend to include Thursday and Friday afternoons as well. Avoid holiday weekends such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. Be mindful of when your local schools are hosting graduation ceremonies and consider avoiding those dates as well. Consider also when people get paid. Is there a large local employer that pays on the 15th and 30th of each month? Schedule your sale for the weekend immediately following pay day.
Just like a party, set an end time so you don’t have stranglers at your house until it’s dark or worse people knocking on your door well after you’ve closed up shop.
It used to be that garage sales were only advertised in the newspaper for a few days immediately before the sale date. If a seller was feeling motivated they would put flyers up around the neighborhood. With the advent of the social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Craig’s List, a seller can advertise to more people within a geographic area and target people looking for specific items. The best part about all three of these methods is they’re free! Don’t overlook the more traditional avenues of advertising though. Places like grocery stores and libraries may also have neighborhood bulletin boards that you may be able to place a flyer on.
Get Organized and Get Prepared
Now comes the most tedious part of any garage sale: physically preparing for it. You should have like items grouped together. Price tags should be affixed to the item or a sign near as possible to the item in question. Some people hand write each price tag, others buy the pre-typed tags at a dollar or office supply store, still others go by a color code system with each color assigned a price. Figure out what system you want to use and stick to it.
Set up all of your items ahead of time so on the day of your sale all you need to do is open up your garage door or pull out your tables into your driveway, yard, or sidewalk.
One of the most overlooked items needed for a garage sale is money. Make sure you have enough variety of bills and coinage to make proper change.
The Day Of
Be ready to meet an assortment of people. As more people start shopping, get up and walk around. It may help a person to ask questions about an item they’re considering and it may help deter shoplifters. You should also be prepared to negotiate on many items or know which ones are non-negotiable.
Keep your money to close to you at all times and secure large amounts of money inside your home instead of carrying them on your person or storing it in a money box out in the open.
At the end of your sale, filter through the items you have left and decide what you will do with them. Will you try to sell through online venues or will you donate them to a charity?
A successful garage sale isn’t something you can put together overnight but it is worth the effort when you’re able to clear out unwanted items from your house and make a tidy profit.