New garage sale thread....

quiltgloApril 7, 2006

Okay, just starting the new thread, even though I'm no longer much of a garage saler.

For those thinking about doing one this spring. I've found that it's very hard to do one alone. Have at least one friend help.

Someone snagging tomatoes is really low. Be sure you lock any doors to your home. Nope, sorry baby, can't use the potty (unless you have a friend and you can go in the house with the people). Lock gates to the back yard if you can.

If you do have a garage, set up inside completely and don't even pull things out until your opening time. I hate the early bird folks and refused to sell to them. Even if they came back at the end. I'm snarky and would have rather given it away.

I covered everything on the garage shelves with sheets so that it was more obvious what I was trying to sell. I didn't want to tell people 50 times that the lawnmower wasn't for sale.

I have found that a neighborhood sale brings in lots of people, but they have too many choices. If 25 homes are having sales, you may not do as well because they have limited $$$ and want to check out the next sale.

I don't go to many garage sales now, but I prefer to have things priced. I hate to haggle (although I know some enjoy that) and prefer to know what to pay. If you don't like to price stuff, have really big signs with broad catagories. Not just little ones taped to a table. All books a certain price, all clothing a certain price. Maybe it will even out at the end.

When doing one with several people, we always got those colored dot stickers and each person was assigned a color. We pulled off the sticker and put in on a piece of paper. At the end of the day we could total easily for each of us. For the few items the sticker wouldn't come off, it was easy just to jot the price on their page.

If charities pick up in your area, it has become popular here for people to pre-arrange for the charity to come by the next day or so and get the leftovers. Just bag it up for them. Try not to bring anything back into the house if you can help it.

If you do an ad, mention some specifics. The tools bring out the guys here. When I purchased clothing for my oldest, any place which advertised slim jeans would get me there quickly. Baby stuff and toys are always good and fabric really sells here.

OK, what other tips from you die hard garage sale people?


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I certainly agree on the security issues -- get some folks to sit inside your home -- and keep the coffee pot (or tea pot) fired up.

Clean and tidy items sell best -- and fast. Febreeze fabric items if needed.

Include measurements on the tags. Saves SO much time over questions!! Especially on tablecloths and bedding.

Include a large tag on clothing for marking sizes.

Have lots of plastic bags/packing materials. Even a few empty boxes can help.

Have a covered box with someone designated as cashier. Or aprons with pockets. Decide on the amount of change to have handy.

Have boxes of kids items marked at 50 cents etc.

Have tags that can be taped to any SOLD items. Mark those items as quickly as possible -- and if there is room -- stash them at the back of the garage.

Have definite "Start" and "Finish" times.

Any items that are priced "FIRM" should be marked with that word!

Slash prices near the end -- and offer deals.

Have a "take away" plan for the leftovers -- to charity etc.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 8:04PM
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Great suggestions here ..........

I would like to encourage clear signing so that folks can FIND the place. Using neon colored signs - staying consistent w/ the color is helpful. Please make the writing big enough to be LEGIBLE!

While I/we usually check the newspapers before heading out, there is nothing to stop us from going to a spontaneous sale - if we can FIND it!

Parking is often another irritant - there are no hard and fast rules, except to ask yourself where you want folks to park, where will they turn around, and what about those large items - will you have buyer come back later, or is there reasonable access. You can't change those things - but you need to give some thought to them.

Even though garage sales provide a opportunity for a lot of social interaction, the sale will go better if you can minimize the need for that. The prior postings indicate that - the pricing in advance, the signs, and so forth.

I hope this thread helps those who want to do sales, and thank you, Quiltglo, for starting it.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 11:55PM
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Have lots of change on hand, lots of singles. Don't offer to hold anything for people who will come back later. Unless they at least give you a deposit, don't count on them returning. (I promised someone a TV for $15, they said they would be back later, never returned). Let your kids sell their own stuff and keep the money they make. Watch out, there are thieves everywhere. My husband put out a box of old LP records,it just "disappeared". My friend a few blocks away had a shoebox full of money stolen when her back was turned. Hang up a sign "All sales final. No returns." I sold one woman a candy dish for 25 cents. She drove away,then came back about 5 minutes later, wanting her money back because it had a small chip on the bottom.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 8:56PM
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the last two hours, do what I did one year and offer an all you can haul for 5.00.

How it worked was you sell them a plastic bag for 5.00 and let them fill it, but tell them it can't be heaping over. good way to get rid of a lot of "junk" and shoot up $$- I doubled my money in the last two hours on junk, .50 items and stuffed animals!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 2:39PM
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My brother and I had a great yard sale. He has a huge front yard--so we made a big sign that said, 'park on lawn' and marked off an area where cars could park (rural area). Then we got a slew of boxes and stacked them so we had differnt heights to place things on--and easily seen from the road. We covered the boxes with old sheets. We put several things out that we weren't in a rush to sell--so we put high prices on them and hoped that people would stop by just because of the flashy items.

The last person I told about the great yard sale, decided that the idea about putting out the flashy items we weren't in a rush to sell was a pretty good idea. She got her husband to agree, and they set out their wide screen tv--turned it on to a football game. Well, the two of them had to rush off and left the yard sale for the sister-in-law to handle for a short time, all by herself. You guessed it. The TV sold and brother-in-law went crazy. Sure the price was high--but a steal.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 4:48PM
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Some great suggestions! Here's some of mine:

* Blue painters tape makes a good price tag if you run out of stickers.

* I always make sure to have an extension cord set up so that appliances can be tested.

* Make sure that we have decent food for the sellers to eat.

* I so agree that signs are so important - I like to make sure my are uniform (same color); it really sets your yardsale apart and makes it easy to locate.

* Our personal rule is that anything that doesn't sell goes directly to Salvation Army/Goodwill.

Great thread - I'm looking forward to reading more suggestions.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 11:29AM
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Nobody has mentioned plants...if you have some plants that need thinning out, they could sold or given away.

One of my nephews made himself some money by selling the marigolds he grew in those throw-away kind of flats. My sister had a huge collection of those containers, and the people just bought up all the flats of marigolds.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 9:50PM
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brass tacks, we have several homeowners in nearby neighborhoods that have become locally famous for their semi annual plant sales. One in particular proprogates and seeds all year long in her backyard. She is an older lady. Her sales last for 2 days - that's how many plants she sells. She has a lot of unusual plants and it's kind of funny when you comment on another neighbor's plants and they say, "I bought them at that plant sale".

For those green thumbs - it must be lucrative.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 8:33AM
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One of my neighbors just dragged everything out to her yard, put up a sign saying "Free - donations accepted" with a coffee can and left for the day. I'll bet she made more than those of us that sat around haggling all day. And yes, the coffee can was still there at the end of the day! That's what I want to do this year!

    Bookmark   May 29, 2006 at 5:33AM
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mommabird, how awesome. You usually hear about people stealing items and the money box! I used to do Halloween on the honor system and haven't been disappointed yet. It's amazing to come home and still find left over candy in the bowl.

I usually put up signs first thing in the morning saying "half price sale starts at 2:00 p.m." It generally brings people back. Also have free piles - especially for the kids. At the end of the sale, most everything goes to the curb with a larger free sign. Whatever is left the next morning goes to the ministry.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 11:50PM
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I know this has been said but it bears repeating. Signs are so important. I'm a garage sale-aholic, but if the signs aren't clear, I skip it.

Problems to avoid:
--writing on the sign is too small to read
--arrow pointing the wrong way or no arrow
--no sign at a spot where you must make a decision to turn one way or the other (don't assume your customers are familiar with your neighborhood - they aren't)
--and please take your signs down when the sale is over, it's frustrating to follow the signs to a non-existent sale

Next item: pricing. This is also repeating what's been said above but if an item isn't priced, I usually don't bother asking. I do like to haggle when I think it's appropriate, but I don't want the seller to look me over and then decide the price. Or decide the price based on how interested s/he thinks I am.

Pet peeve: When I offer a lower price for an item, if you want to bargain, fine, if not that's ok too, just say sorry, price is firm. BUT please do not go on to tell me such things as "it's brand new, never used!" or "I paid $xxx for it", etc. I don't care. I've offered what I think the item is worth to me, you can accept or raise me or say no but the sob story just turns me off totally.

Don't put out your old bras, underwear, make up, rusted pans, etc. No one wants to buy them, moreover, no one wants to see them. Throw those things away!

I'll probably post again when I think of more!

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 1:37PM
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lowspark said: Don't put out your old bras, underwear, make up, rusted pans, etc. No one wants to buy them, moreover, no one wants to see them. Throw those things away!

Darn, guess I better start tossing ! I've put out bras before and they've done well. Since I detest bras to begin with - what I have put out are generally new (bought, tried and hated)and priced cheap. Same with hair products. Makeup I toss due to possible bacteria - I'm kind of funny in that respect.

Pricing - very important. I don't like being put in awkard positions. What I may see as I quarter item, the owner may have a personal $5.00 attachment to it. Just a bad position to be put in. When pricing, remember the idea is to get rid of the stuff. Price it accordingly. Try not to think how much you originally paid for an item but more.... what would I pay for it if I saw it at another garage sale.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 4:27PM
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I stand corrected. I've seen bras & underwear at garage sales and thought, wow, who would buy someone else's used underwear (& bras)? I mean, those are rather personal items. But if you have sold them then I take that back! I guess there's no telling what will sell, so maybe you should just put it all out there and hope for the best.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 4:51PM
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lowspark, luckily I never have a solo sale. It's always with other families/friends. I might be embarrassed if it were just me. Maybe I subconsciously price them low so I don't have to see a shopper wagging that bra high in air, yelling from across the yard... "whose bra is this and will you go down?"

My brother and sister in law once had a garage sale and he was so embarrassed that he wouldn't come outside for a long time. SIL put out a *love chair* for sale and it was quite a contraption LOL. Many people asked what it was. I couldn't blame him - that was WAY too much. Believe it or not, it sold for $50.00 HAHAHA.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 6:54PM
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I'm a bit of a germ freak, lowspark, but if it was new/ like new and very cute, I would buy a bra from a yard sale. Bras are like gloves, I think, and not as personal always. Panties/briefs... that's another story.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 8:36PM
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Well, I just got done gathering up some things for the DS's Scout garage sale. The DD's Irish dance group is having a sale on the same day, but I just don't have enough items to send to both.

Figuring up all the items I've sent on to the thrift stores throughout the year, it probably would have filled one of our front closets. No way I'm willing to give up that space for the once a year sale.

I was pleased that the DS was willing to let go 30 of his books as well as at least 30 books on tape. Since they are geared for upper elementary boys, I think they'll sell well. Now, he has some room of his shelves for the next batch of gifts.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 10:39PM
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Good for your son Gloria. Those items should do well.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2006 at 8:43AM
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LOL Lisa! That reminds me of a story from way back when I was in high school. A male friend of mine worked at a local department store as a floater meaning they would put him in a different department every day. Well, he got sent to ladies lingerie one day (they must have been desparate for help!). In those days, you'd type in to the number pad the department which consisted of a two digit number and a letter. You guessed it, something like 36D. Well he was typing in that department code and it wasn't working, and he had to go for help. Imagine his embarassment when he realized he was typing in the bra size!

Sorry to get off topic....

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 4:27PM
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That's funny lowspark. Didn't they used to keep bras in little drawers too? None on display if I recall. My how times have changed.

I had my garage sale today - continuing tomorrow. It's actually a moving sale for both me and my sister. We got SLAMMED in the a.m. People knocking on the door an hour before it opened (was advertised) - was awful. Total chaos. We did fairly well - close to $900.00 and I think the most expensive item was $30.00. Not too shabby for a bunch of small items. Tomorrow is negotiation day :) I want all my stuff gone.

My sister had two sets of old barrister bookcases and she originally thought she'd put $75.00 on each set. Sounded really cheap for such old items (wavy glass too). I told her to check Ebay before she priced them and WOW... those suckers are very expensive. $600 to $1800. That would have been an awful mistake. Gotta love ebay :)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 11:04PM
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I'm about to have a garage sale & glad I found this thread. I have a bunch of old glassware (etched glass from the 30's & glass rolling pins) and I was wondering if I should try to sell them in a garage sale or just save them for ebay in the fall.

Oh & a few years ago I was going to have a garage sale with a friend & my mom sent a bunch of her stuff for me to sell - bras (padded) and makeup. We were so embarressed to set out those bras & they sold like hotcakes. lol

    Bookmark   June 20, 2006 at 4:11PM
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".....& they sold like hotcakes." Funny isn't it?

My sister was amazed at the amount of used hair care products I sold. Her hubby was equally amazed at how well the cables, telephone cords, ac adapters, etc. sold. He was sorry he didn't bring his "collection" to sell. Those do tend to multiply and breed like rabbits in your house.

Sometimes the strangest things sell before the good stuff. Go figure :)

    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 1:13AM
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