Saturday, 21 July 2012

Unexpected Garage Sale Success

Hello!  I'm still trying to figure out what is wrong with my computer and why it won't let me upload my own pictures into my posts (Thanks for your suggestion Nette, I'm working on trying that out and praying that it will work!)

In the meantime I thought I would post about something that I don't have many pictures for anyways (Update: Finally figured out my picture mess and have a few pictures now).  After my Mum and sister held a bridal shower for us, we knew we had to make room in the house for the new stuff. We could finally let go of what felt like millions of off-casts that we had accepted from people three years ago when we moved in. We had doubles, triples and even some quadruples of some items. We were so, so grateful to the people who gave us their hand-me-downs when we moved in because we had only the basics. But now, three years later, we know that we don't need three twin sized beds in our house, for example. So right after the wedding shower, we decided to hold a garage sale the next weekend and my sister and her husband joined in as well!

After reading some of the tips on YHL we set to work raiding each and every room in our house for things that we hadn't used or even seen in the last year.  As we found each item we priced it right away, which on the day of the garage sale we were really grateful for.  That way, if we were busy with a customer, my sister or brother-in-law could see how much we were asking for and sell it for us.  Also, when I go to garage sales I always prefer to see a price tag to have an idea of how much negotiation wiggle room I'll have.

The night before the sale, our main floor was jam packed and Darryl thought it would be hilarious to hide amongst the junk and play "Where's Darryl?" 

Disclaimer: this was at roughly 2am after a looonnnggg day of getting all of the stuff together, biking around at 1am to post our signs and we were getting delirious.

Getting into position...

So....can you spot him?

This one is even better because of the floating pillow in the middle of the room.  Never a dull moment with this guy, I tell ya.

Anyhoo, here are a few things that helped us to have a successful garage sale...

Advertising:  My brother-in-law posted our sale on Kijiji and Craigslist the Monday before the sale and that very day he had at least 5 people emailing him for more information, so get their attention early on!

Signage:  Make it bold, clear, concise and consistent.  I made 12 neon pink signs with thick, dark writing that was easy to read from far away.  Darryl and I rode our bikes around to post them the night before, around 1am, because we're ca-razy like that.  Good signage is KEY to getting people to your house. 

Pricing:  Knowing that most garage salers will haggle, we priced a good deal of our stuff a dollar or two over what we wanted to get for it, but still kept the prices low.  For example, I was selling a desk and put a price tag of $18 on it (come on, $18 for a desk!?  Who wouldn't bite at that!?), knowing that people would haggle me down a bit.  I would be happy to get $15 for it.  We ended up selling it for $12 in the end and were thrilled to not have to pack it into the car to send off to value village!  We also decided, half way through, not to price things at the obvious $5 or $10 marks.  We always picked a more obscure number like $12 or $17, knowing that people would take us down to $10 or $15.  That way they felt like they got a bargain and we didn't feel like we'd lost out. 

Limiting the word "no":  Because we weren't in this to make money - we just desperately wanted to de-clutter - we rarely said no to someone who offered us a lower price than what we had posted.  As long as it wasn't insultingly low, we sold it to them and let me tell you, all those 50 cent sales add up quickly!

Offering discounts:  I didn't think clothing would really sell, so I only put some of my better stuff out there on a clothing rack with a sign that said "$1 each or five for $4!"  While clothes still weren't the biggest sellers, I think it did help to sell a few more pieces than had I priced them at $5 each.

Being Prepared:  We had advertized for 8am-1pm and we'd heard of early bird shoppers so we started setting our goods up at 6:30am.  We had our first customer at 7:15am.  I didn't realize they would be that early!  As soon as that first customer came, we had not one single moment of no customers until 12:30pm!!!  We were absolutely run off our feet.  So be prepared, start setting up plenty early, and have price tags on most, if not all, of your items.  Having done this really cut down on all of that "Hey Darryl!  How much for the blender!?" while he's busy selling a lawn mower to someone else.  We had discussed and previously decided how much we'd like most items to go for. 

Here were are all set up for the day...



In the end we stayed open until about 2:30-3 because the people were still coming.  Since Saturday had been so successful and we still had so much left over, we decided to give it all a second go on Sunday.  And after we were all done on Sunday, we loaded all the left overs straight into our cars and sent them off to Value Village.  We didn't want a single item to come back inside with us!!

When all was said and done, we made just over $700!!!  Who knew garage sales could be so lucrative!?  We've decided to put that money towards a little weekend getaway for our 11 year anniversary this September.  We had noooo idea we'd have so much success getting rid of our stuff and are so happy we stopped putting it off and actually did it!

Have you ever held a garage sale?  Was it successful?  Have any tips to add?

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