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Spring and Fall Cleanup with Garage Sales

Getting rid of your junk means selling other people their next treasures

Careful planning means success when it comes to garage sales. There are many techniques and tricks that will help those dollars and change add up in your pocket.

It should begin with stuff - your stuff
This is the painstaking preparation process that will make items move faster. Label everything. Price it and mark it with masking tape. On sale day, spread like items out so folks are tempted to look at other things in search of favorites. This will give you a conversation starter as well. The labeling process may take a couple of weekends or a few evenings before the big event.

Set a date and time for the sale
Saturdays are best, but not just before a payday. The middle and last Saturdays of the month are ideal if they fall on a Friday after people receive a paycheck. In many cities, if you hold two or fewer garage sales in one year, a permit is not required. Check first. And be sure to ask about the rules of putting up directional signage. If you live on a side street, be ready to post signs at the main artery. Be considerate and remove them immediately afterward. If the sale is for two days, remove them at the end of the first day and get them back up bright and early on the second.

We have found that most sales will occur within the first hour of an event. The rest of the day, you'll see stragglers who are looking for true bottom-of-the-barrel bargains. They will also be the ones who don't have much cash on them. Your early birds are armed with bills and loose change and are on the lookout for the best goods. With that said, a garage sale that starts at seven could easily wrap up by noon. By then, you've said goodbye to the stuff that sells. Package it up and take it off to Goodwill or other donation point. It would be courteous, however, to remove the pricing first.

The Hostess with the Mostest - in the Fanny Pack
Don't worry about serving coffee and cookies. That's not why people go to garage sales, although many experts will disagree. You're hoping to cater to the serious garage sale-ing crowd and they simply are there for the stuff.

Even garage sales attract sticky fingers and thieves. Never leave money unattended. Keep all cash transactions low-key and keep your cash close to your belt. A fanny pack works well, and be sure to have plenty of change.

Even better, it is best to have a second and third person help. If you can partner with a neighbor, friend, or family member, do it. Assign one individual to oversee the back side of operations and station another at the front as greeter. They'll be a deterrent to folks leaving without paying while the person at the back will eagle eye all those small items sitting on tables in the darkest part of the garage. (You'll want to have that space available, anyway, in case it rains.)

Paper or plastic?
Doesn't matter - but have plenty on hand for packing up those sales. Save up your newspapers, too, for wrapping fragile items. Many people arrive at a garage sale "just to look," knowing quite well that they will end up buying. But, psychologically, they don't want to admit that so they won't be prepared to carry multiple items back to their cars.

Flippers, Pickers and eBayers
They're everywhere these days - those who are out looking for items to re-sell on eBay or flip on Craigslist. If there are items you're putting out that you feel may have more value, check out the "sold" or "completed listings" section on eBay. If you'd rather not mess with the photographing, listing and shipping (although it's easy), then go ahead and sell them.

 

 

 

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