Showing posts with label garage sale. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garage sale. Show all posts

Tips for A Successful Garage Sale

This past Saturday we had our first ever garage sale at our home. I was pretty nervous wondering if people would come, and then I was wondering if we had enough stuff to get people to stop. It turned out to be a huge success and we sold out my entire stockpile in a few hours, including all those vitamins we got for overage on all our trips. I had 2 paper boxes full of just vitamins. We made $470 and we could have made more if we would have had more product. I had previously sold my extra product at a friends yard sale in November, so we only had stuff we bought in three months time.
TIPS for Success
  • About two weeks before your sale, take pictures of items you want to list on prior to the sale to try to get the most money for them. I posted ads for golf clubs, an HP scanner, an Ipod Nano, fax machine, chainsaw, and weed whipper.  See my craigslist tips HERE, this way you'll be more comfortable haggling at the sale when something has already been posted with little or no interest, and you really just want to get rid of it.
  • List FREE garage sale ads online with the, and a week before your sale, and again on Craigslist the day of the sale.
  • We put a sign in our yard on Thurs and Fri prior, stating "Yard Sale Here Sat." so people in the area would know to look for a sale. We were actually hoping one of our neighbors would capitalize on the traffic and have a sale too on the same block. We discovered that many people love to get up early and drive around to multiple garage sales. We heard of another sale on the next block and directed people to that one if they were interested.
  • Put a price tag on EVERY single item you display. If you don't have a price people will walk by all day. I had a partial roll of insulation out there with no price and had no idea what it was worth or what someone would pay. I noticed a few people inspect it, but they didn't inquire. So, I just put a $5 sticker on it. A while later a man asked if I would take $2, and then it was sold.
  • If you have brand new items in great condition, if it is priced right everyone will just pay the asking price. We sold the majority of our stockpile items for $1.00 and $0.50, with a couple higher priced things like trash bags, razors and candles for $3. We didn't budge price on any of the stockpile products because they were selling quickly as priced.
  • Provide bags for people to hold all their items. As soon as people picked up a couple things I used the opportunity to offer them a bag and encourage them to get more product. Many people quickly filled their bags and then I moved their items into paper boxes. We had several people who purchased a couple boxes of stuff.
  • Organize your product so that like items are together, it is not damaged, and so all products are visible. This will keep people from rummaging through boxes of stuff and making a mess.
  • It is amazing what product will sell at a yard sale. EVERYTHING! Don't worry that you have too much pasta, or poise or vitamins or phazyme. If it is priced right, it will all go. In the past I have not purchased stuff that is free after coupons because I didn't want it to clutter my shelves, but now my point of view has changed. If its free to me, I'm getting as much as I can. It really doesn't matter what it is. I had a bunch of Finesse hair spray that I didn't think would go because so many people are brand specific, but not at garage sales. They will buy any flavor of any product.
  • We had about 15 boxes of food and products and it mostly was gone between 8am and 10:30 am, We could have sold twice that much stuff. So when you're planning on having a sale, make sure you have enough stuff to sell.
  • If you price everything at 0.25, 0.50 and 1.00 you'll be able to quickly sum up a bag of product in your head without making mistakes. Stay away from weird prices like 0.75 or 0.40 or 0.65 if you can. I tried to price my stuff at about 25% of retail. So if something sold for $1.50 in the store, I charged $0.50. We sold Special K cereal for $1 a box that is normally $3.99.
  • Prepare and clean your tables and surfaces the night before so they are easy and accessible to put up.
  • We loaded all our boxes into the vehicles in the driveway the night before so all I had to do was pull out the box and place it on the table to sell it.
  • Invest in some good signs. I purchased 5 garage sale signs from for about $4 each. We wrote in our address on the sign and my DH went around the neighborhood entrance points. One sign was on a busy main thoroughfare and I think we got most of our visits from that one sign. We had probably over 100 customers stop. I didn't even get 2 boxes out of the truck before people started coming. It was a mad rush for about 2 hours. We asked everyone how they found our sale and 98% said they saw the signs. Only a couple people said they saw it on craigslist or the flyer. One lady said she thought we had such nice signs that we were sure to be organized and have some good stuff.
  • Make sure you carry a marker and price stickers to make any adjustments to prices - increase them if stuff is going too fast, and decrease them to get rid of stuff you really don't want around any more. Also to write prices on full bags or boxes once you've added them up and set aside so the customer can continue shopping.
  • Set up your driveway so there is a circle of items to corral your shoppers. We had some sporting goods, Christmas decorations, tool, yard and garden stuff and household stuff too. Most of this was on the perimeter or near the street so people could see big items. We also had our display of food and personal care items near the street so people could see that too. It was the biggest draw of the sale, so be sure people can see your stockpile table from the road.
  • Make sure you have about $40 in change of $1 and $5 bills. We had several people early on who only had a $20 so we had to run in the house to get some ones to make change. Have a couple dollars in quarters too.
  • As the sale winds down and you've emptied some tables and space, move stuff around so that your main display appears stocked. Remove empty tables and move the other merchandise closer to the road. Start cleaning up while you wait for stragglers to show up.
  • We closed up shortly after noon. DH went around and picked up our signs and that pretty much stopped the traffic by our house. We packed up what little stuff was left for our next sale in a couple months.
One thing we didn't do this time, but I'm going to do next time is get a piece of paper where customers can write down their email address if they want to be notified of upcoming sales. We might also try selling some clothes prior to just donating them.
So that's about it. We had a big day and needed a nice nap afterward. But it was exciting and happened so fast, I can't believe I was even nervous!
Watch for more garage sale stories about some of the interesting folks we met.

The Stuff That Sells

So we participated in our first yard sale this past Saturday. It was one of those community ones where a bunch of houses in a development put their stuff in the yard and signs in the road. Then a bunch of sloppy jalopy's roll down the street and holler out at ya - Hey you got a TV? Hey, you got a space heater? Seriously, it was about 41F and windy on Saturday morning - not exactly great outdoor shopping weather. A few days earlier it was 68F in the morning and we were hoping it wouldn't be too hot.
Anyway, we brought two truckloads of stuff to our friends house in this neighborhood at eight in the morning. We had hardly got out of the truck and people are looking it to see what we got. I had boxes and boxes of stockpile stuff to sell - razors, candles, thermacare, visine, deodorant, toothpaste, scrubbing bubbles, glade refills, airwick air fresheners, Halloween candy, pledge wipes, Bayer aspirin, BBQ sauce and of course lots of vitamin D. I lined the boxes up on the makeshift table made out of an old bathroom door and a couple saw horses. People swarmed at the "drugstore" all day and as soon as they had a couple items, I handed them a bag to keep filling up. The product was mostly priced at 0.50 and 1.00, with a few things at 2.50 like the Hydro Edge razors and the Febreze candles and Thermacare.
Everyone ignored all the stuff we had that cost more than about $5. We had some good "man stuff" like toolboxes, and a chainsaw and other yard tools. And we had some golf clubs and other sporting goods for boating, diving and other games. We did sell most of the Nerf footballs that I got from the Ford House Party. And of course no one looked twice at the electronic items - the ipod, fax machine, scanner, CD player, telephone. I think they all were priced too high for garage sales, so they will have to go on craigslist and ebay.
Anyway, one of the most fun things to standing out in the cold blustery outdoors was talking to all these nice people. Everyone has a story. The one guy who happened to buy the highest price item that sold that day ($15 for a spare trailer tire) was telling us how he fell out of a tree 6 years ago while trimming it and he broke a bunch of bones and was laying on the ground in his yard, and the only reason he was found and didn't die is because the neighbor noticed blood running under the fence. He just has his last surgery a year ago, but he looked like he could have used more because he was walking with an altered gait, and seemed hobbled. (kind of like Scott does now). 
So at the end of the day, we pocketed about $220 which mostly was from stockpile product, and we packed up the trucks midafternoon. Now at least all the junk stuff is boxed up ready for the next sale in January. I really had no idea that stockpile product would be such a hot seller. I've been giving away my stockpile to friends and neighbors and charities all year which has been a good thing, but I like the idea of earning cash for it too. So now, I'll start watching the sales with an eye for reselling at yard sales. But don't all you couponers worry, I'm not going to become a smash and grabber - I still only have 10 inserts of coupons each week.
I think I'm ready to start the next year at a higher level yet of couponing - bringing in the use of rain checks more to capitalize on sale prices when the sale has already passed and then a coupon comes out. Then the stores have the item restocked and getting a higher quantity isn't hard to do, and also doesn't clear out the stock. My goal this year was to spend less than $1000 this year on food and household supplies and I might make it, since I've spent $922 so far and only have a month and a half left to go. It would be awesome to be able to recoup most of that expense by reselling product at yard sales, so the net expense for the year would be really low. I'm sure there's people who do that, but that would be a lot of work.

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Question of the Week: When was the last time you had a yard sale?  How often do you have yard sales?

The last and first time I ever had a garage sale was this past Saturday. It was 41F in Tampa and only the brave dared get up and out that early. Check back when I tell you all about it.

Garage Sale Jitters

The week is winding down and I'm still rummaging through closets and storage areas finding stuff for my very first upcoming yard sale on Saturday, that I first mentioned HERE. It seems like the more you look, the more junk is revealed. I am seriously wanting to minimize and get rid of almost everything. There are some great blogs out there about being minimalist (like and it sure seems like life would be easier to just get rid of crap you don't use.
So, that's my hope. To get rid of crap. In case you're interested in seeing the type of crap I'm trying to sell, check out my Picasa photos HERE. I posted a bunch of them for sale in the local craigslist encouraging people to stop by the sale to get this stuff. I have two trucks full of stuff and product. My big fear is that no one will want to get out on a chilly Saturday morning and find our little corner of the world to buy this stuff. And I'll have to take it home and find another place for it. I don't want to bring it home, so some great bargaining will be had.

So I've Got This Garage Sale Coming Up...

and I'm not really sure how to proceed. You see, I've never had a garage sale and I've probably only gone to about 3 in my whole life. My parents never had garage sales, but I did observe my sister in law having a garage sale once maybe. I'm a total noob.
I know garage sales are supposed to be the thing that frugal people embrace, but I've always had to work 8 to 4 weekdays and never had the opportunity to attend sales on the first day. And Saturdays are for sleeping in late, not getting up like a school day and driving around strange neighborhoods in the dark. Even when I ride my bike around on the weekends and see a sale, I just glance over and keep going. Plus they seem like a lot of work. In my opinion its easier to just post a picture on craigslist. I've sold thousands of dollars of stuff on craigslist in the past but the stuff I need to sell just doesn't seem worth it.
So a friend of mine lives in a community that is having a neighborhood yard sale on the first weekend of November. She invited me to bring over anything I want to sell, since she's done this a bunch. I thought it would be a good way to get rid of those golf clubs I lugged down to FL and haven't used in fifteen years, and the old vacuum cleaners and of course some stockpile stuff like scrubbing bubbles, swiffer starter kits and BBQ sauce. I don't have the big draw items like kids toys or clothes, or tools. So, I'm not really sure what will go and what won't. I also don't know how to price the stuff so that it goes, but not giveaway.
Here's what I'm thinking I need to get set -
1. Tables - I do know that I need to get some tables, which I can borrow. I can get a couple Card tables, and a plastic round outdoor table. Plus I can use some extra plywood from remodeling to make more tables with horseshoes. I have a small 5x8 trailer I can put all this stuff on, or borrow my neighbors pickup truck.
2. Items to sell - I can box up razors, toothpaste, BBQ sauce, swiffers, scrubbing bubbles, candles and air fresheners and all the other stockpile stuff I'm not using as quickly as I want. I also have sporting goods like roller blades, scuba equipment, nerf footballs, golf clubs. I have a box of Tshirts I culled out from the dressing room to donate, so I'll try to sell them too. Also a chainsaw and an electric leaf blower, and a couple vacuum cleaners.
3. Advertising - I'm wondering if it would be good to take pics and place the items on craigslist a week early to see if there is any interest at a higher price. Then I can direct the buyer to the yard sale. Do you think this would work? I could also place an ad in the garage sale section with a map to direct people to this sale.
4. Pricing - Is it better to put price tags on stuff or just tag the table like $1 Table. Or should I just put color stickers on everything and then I know if the red sticker is $0.25 and the blue sticker is $1, etc. Do you think people will switch stickers? I would also have a price list of everything so I can see what sold for what (being the analyst I am) and to verify the prices.
5. Troublemakers - what about the people who will annoy me and just try to basically steal my stuff? Granted I don't have a use for most of it, but I would rather give it away to the Salvation army for free than sell it to a cheapskate for ten cents. What about the people who will try to steal stuff, do I need to watch for that? I have an ipod Nano I want to sell since I have several, and I want people to see it but not steal it. Should I wear it with my arm strap with a for sale note on it?
6. Signs - I'll make a couple directional signs, plus some price signs for my tables.
7. Freebies - I'll have leftover Halloween candy to give away to buyers, plus I can sell SOBE water or something to thirsty people.
Any tips you have from your experiences would be great. I'll keep you posted on my progress. I'm going to start gathering stuff and packing it up this weekend.
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