Tips for having garage sale with another person?

marti8aJuly 24, 2007

My neighbor wanted to have a garage sale & I told her I would help. I started getting my stuff together, pricing it, bagging it & putting it in the garage.

I went to her house yesterday & her garage is crammed with stuff that looks like it has been there for a long time, cobwebs, dust, dirt dauber nests on stuff. I asked her where she planned on putting stuff & she wanted to put all the furniture in the garage & the tables on the driveway.

I think we should put the big stuff on the driveway & the tables of glassware inside the garage.

Also, I asked her where she was going to put her more expensive items & she said she didn't have any & that I shouldn't bring anything over that might get stolen or broken because she didn't have anywhere safe for it.

Is there a way to keep the more valuable items (like pieces of china & old dishes) safe from kids?

And last, how do you keep track of the money for each person? I put white stick on labels on my stuff with my initials. So far she hasn't priced hers.

I went over today to try to help her clean out the garage & she was getting ready to leave so all I managed to do was move the furniture to an area to make it easy to move out of the garage. But the rest was bagged & boxed & I didn't know what was for the garage sale & what she was keeping so had to leave it alone.

Also, she has a couple of signs from a few years ago & wants to just cross out the info that won't be the same & rewrite the new stuff. I think we should put a new poster board on top of the old or at the least cover the old info with the same color piece of poster board & rewrite the new info in the correct spot to make it easy to see. Also we need more than two signs & I was going to use boxes & put some weight in them. Easier than trying to drive a stake into the ground & having the poster tear up from the pounding. What kind of signs work best & should they all be exactly the same? I was thinking of making them diamond-shaped & taping to the box to make them stand out.

Does this sound like it's going to be a disaster to anyone else?

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talley_sue_nyc

I t hink you should decide you're too busy to do a garage sale, or something, and get out of doing it w/ her.

it just sounds like too much work, and she doesn't sound helpful.
Is there anyone else you can get to work w/ you, if you really want to do a garage sale?

Or, tell her, you're too busy to coordinate w/ her, but if she wants to do one on the same day, fine, here's when you're going to do it.

She doesn't sound really ready.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 5:48PM
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claire_de_luna

I kind of agree with Talley Sue. I have huge sales every other year, and always invite people to come and sell their stuff on sale day.

There are hard and fast rules though. One is everyone has to be there to sell their own stuff. As long as their things are in my driveway, they need to be there to sell it, No Exceptions. (I've had too many people drop things off, thinking I should do most of the work, deal with the public and collect money for them.) Also, if someone has a question about an item, they're available to talk about it, which helps them make money. Everything must be marked so there's no question about the price of an item.

I always take money for other people, and expect they will take it for me. As soon as I can, I go pay them for the item that was sold, so they can make a note of it and I don't have to. If we can, we'll usually have the customer go pay someone directly for an item, especially if there's a lot, or it's large. Most of my friends also set up in different parts of the driveway, so we can direct customers to their section. If you find you still want to go to her house, try to set your things up in the driveway so you can unload it there, and make it easy on yourself to load up the leftovers.

I don't think she should expect you to help her clean her garage. Let her keep her things there, and that way you don't have to deal with what hasn't been done. Big items should always go outside to attract people.

Signs are very important. It's your advertising, and good advertising works. People follow signs, and the brighter, bigger and better they are, the more people you'll have. You're in the business of trying to make money for your efforts, so the signs shouldn't look like an afterthought. I think stakes work best, and we usually make a hole for the stake with some rebar first. Bright pink, orange, yellow or lime green are all great colors for signs. Use a bright color for the information so it's easily seen.

Small or expensive items should be placed right next to the table where you'll be taking money so you can watch them.

Good luck to you. It sounds like you both have different ideas of how to have a sale, and you should do what's easiest for you, even if that means having it at your house on your own terms. It's a lot of hard work, yet I always love sale days. If you're doing it with friends, it feels like a party where people come up to you and hand you money! You know what I love more? When it's all over...

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 6:45PM
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marti8a

Well, I didn't want to do this at all. This neighbor had an accident and as a result, she is weak & can't drive anymore. She needs to move & all the neighbors are trying to help her out. She told her neighbor on the other side of her & they made plans to have a joint garage sale. But then, the other neighbor decided her stuff was too heavy (appliances) to move to my neighbor's house so she is going to have her own garage sale. I just found out today that my neighbor's son-in-law is coming to help Friday morning too, but he probably won't get there early enough to help open. If I didn't already have all my stuff ready to go, I wouldn't do it. And if I hadn't already loaned them my canopies & tables, I'd have my own. Sheesh!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 6:55PM
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marti8a

Btw Claire, I like what you said about each person having their own area & collecting money for their own stuff. I think that would relieve me tremendously.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 6:56PM
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bud_wi

Why can't each neighbor just keep their own stuff on their own property and have just one sign from the main road(s) leading to the area? Each house can have things done their own way and have a sign in front. This is the way I've seen it done in my neighborhood. You don't have to haul everything over to one person's house.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 3:45AM
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talley_sue_nyc

I'm w/ Bud.

As a bonus, you could put on the sign: 3 garage sales! or something, so people realize it's not just one household's stuff.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:29AM
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lobsterbird

I'm with (Rose) bud, too. When I had a yard sale, it was a big task just to cart stuff out onto my own driveway and price it. I can't imagine having to take it somewhere, and then dragging back home the stuff I didn't sell. Keep it simple.

Since your immediate neighbors are trying to help this one neighbor out who needs to move, perhaps someone has extra tables that can be borrowed so everyone can keep their sale stuff at their own houses? I would deal with the issue of the tables, since that seems to be the only thing keeping you from having your own yard sale. Consider it a favor you are doing for someone who is in need -- but you don't have to make yourself crazy in the process.

Tina

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 12:25PM
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marti8a

Dh's junk to the rescue, I think. He started cleaning out the garage & found some stuff too heavy to take anywhere but the driveway. The neighbor said her sil will be there early Friday, so I am going to let her do her thing & hope for the best. I got most of mine arranged today, will spend tomorrow morning giving the house a 2nd declutter sweep & then I'll help her tomorrow evening. Thanks for the advice & encouragement.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 2:45AM
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marti8a

Day 1 of the sale is done & it wasn't too bad, and I even enjoyed it until about noon.

Now I have a question about garage sale safety.

Most of the garage sale tips say to have a helper and I did until about 9:30 this morning & I figured that would cover the rush.

Then, about 1 when people had stopped coming, I was going to close it but a car with 3 young men stopped by. They had paint all over their clothes so I assumed they were painters. Dh had 2 pellet guns in the sale, one rifle type & one pistol type. Two of them went straight for the guns & started aiming them & the one with the pistol started acting like a gangster. It scared me & I called the neighbor I was going to have the sale with & pretended I was talking to dh & stayed on the phone with her until they left.

All morning there had been one car after another, but when those 3 were here, not one person even drove down the street. I was trying to eye them down, but my heart was racing. All I could think was that I was alone, I had money in my fannypack & if they wanted to be aggressive, there wasn't anything I could do about it.

What do you do if you have a sale alone?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 4:43PM
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marti8a

On the flip side, we sold a couple of bikes this morning & the people had to get a truck to come back & get them. One bike was ok, but the other was junk & they offered dh $5 for the good bike. Dh thought a minute & said ok as long as they took the other bike too. lol They accepted.

We also had a refrigerator for sale & I had it stocked with sodas & water for sale.

I had to run an errand this afternoon & when I got back, both bikes were gone (so I know it had to be the people who bought them) and sodas still in the fridge. AND I had left the door to the office (not in the house) unlocked & all my carp great stuff is still right where I left it.

So the trust in people that was shaken with the one group of guys was restored with the other people. But I still want to be careful tomorrow if I don't have a neighbor helping me.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 4:50PM
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bud_wi

Yeah, watch out for groups who show up at yard sales. Especially groups of men. It is just not 'normal' for groups of guys to go tag sale shopping as a pastime. Groups, any group, often have one try to distract the seller and then the others make their way into the house. If they get caught they act innocent and pretend they thought there was "more stuff for sale inside". Keep doors locked at all times! Shoplifting is common with groups and sometimes they are just caseing the place to come back later for robbery. Do not answer any personal questions no matter how friendly people seem or even if they claim to be neighbors 'from down the street'. "Are you guys moving soon?" "You live in this big house all alone?" "Do you have any electronics/power tools/antiques inside that you might sell?" And DO NOT allow anyone to 'come back later' to buy something. By this I mean, it's OK if they have paid for a large item and set a time to come back for it, but many times after a yard sale people try ringing the doorbell later in the evening or the next day when they think you are alone, because they decided they *really wanted* a certain item after all. Well, too bad! After a yard sale check all your doors and windows to make sure that someone did not unlock or leave one ajar, one so they could come back later. It is unfortunate that is has to be like this but 'better safe than sorry' and 'better rude than raped'.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 1:13PM
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Maura63

Wow, Bud, while what you wrote seems like "common sense," it is great info for someone new to having garage/yard sales.

Very sobering, yet savvy advice. Thanks for posting this.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 4:30PM
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bud_wi

I didn't want to be too long winded with my post but there are other things one may want to do for safety when having a tag sale. If you are having it in your garage you might consider removing expensive new, lawn mowers, snow blowers, tillers, snowmobiles, jet skis, ect to a neighbor's garage for a day. If you cannot do that, at least cover them with a tarp so that it looks like a pile of lumber or the recycling bins. People eye these things up and it is possible that they may come back and rob you when you are away from the house. The neighbors would suspect nothing when the U-Haul showed up, since you had a tag sale and they would assume you sold the items and they were being "picked up".

Keep all the money you collect on you, and not in a box on a table that can be a 'grab and dash'. Also have two fanny packs - one for small bills and change, and one to stuff the big bills you will be collecting. No need to entice a robber by pulling out a whole wad of big bills and flashing them while you look for extra singles.

Best of all, always have another person with you when you have a sale.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 5:28PM
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