(This is the last post in the series of creative ways to make money I’ve been doing with Katherine at Rhymes with Smile.)
This is the garage sale post. I call it the last resort because with many items, you can get more money by selling them in other ways (Craigslist, consignment shops). But with items that don’t make the cut in these methods (and there will be many), hold a garage sale, and make a few bucks!
This will be the third year in a row which I have held a garage sale. I do not get stressed out about garage sales. I probably don’t make as much as I possibly could, but I clean out my stuff, and I make much more (around $70 each of the past two years) than I would by taking stuff to the thrift store (which is where the garage sale rejects may end up).
Here are nine steps I do to hold a successful garage sale.
1. Throughout the year, gather stuff from your house you want to get rid of, and move it to “the garage sale pile” in a closet or garage.
2. Pick a Saturday you are free at least from 7am- 1pm and mark it down. Tell all your friends you want to hold a garage sale on that day, and see if anyone wants to join you. If you have several people, it doesn’t matter if each person only has a blanket full of stuff. If it’s only you, you may want to have a decent amount of stuff to sell. Hold the sale at the person’s house that is closest to a main road. My yard is visible from Main St, so it’s ideal.
3. The week before, post an advertisement on Craigslist. List some of the specific items that you think might be most popular (e.g. guitar stand, baby clothes sizes NB-2T, corner bookshelf, 2008 Mac desktop) along with a general description of the other items. You may post pics of the popular items if you like, especially furniture. Please do not post a pic of your “garage sale pile” if no one can tell what is in the pile (see above).
4. One day before, refresh the Craigslist ad. Make a couple half-poster signs that say “Garage Sale” or “Moving Sale” (if it’s true), the address, and the date–nice and big, so you can read it while driving a car. One pet peeve of mine is garage sale signs that say “Today.” This is because people frequently forget to take them down after the garage sale, and then for the next week, the sign says “Garage sale today.” I find times unnecessary on these signs unless your times are unusual. Most garage sales around here go from about 8am-1pm, although people will show up around 7.
5. Put sticker labels on stuff you are asking more than $1 for. When you price the items, try to think what you would be willing to pay if you found it at a garage sale. You can price it more if you are willing to hold onto it, but if it is going to the thrift store regardless afterwards, price low. You have to let go a bit of what you paid for the item originally, and think what someone would be willing to pay today. For example, a computer that still works might have cost you $500 10 years ago, but, let’s be honest, not many people want old computers, so if you get $20, you are probably doing well.
6. Make sure you have a decent amount of change, mostly in small bills and quarters.
7. The morning of, get up early, hang your signs in a very visible location on the nearest main road. If people are going to have to drive a little ways, hang some more signs so they know they are still going in the right direction. Lay your stuff out on tables or tarps so each item is visible. I usually put all my $1 items on a couple tarps with a sign “$1.”
8. Set up a chair, wait for the customers, and if you really want to get rid of stuff, announce things like : “any $1 items you can fit in a grocery bag for $5. ” Barter if you like.
9. Around 1pm, gather your remaining stuff and take it to the thrift store. Count up your money!
By the way, I’m planning to have a moving sale on April 27, so let me know if you want to join in, or stop by if you are in town!