Saturday, December 5, 2009

10 tips on hosting a garage sale

A garage sale is a great way to make some money off your unwanted things. It takes a bit of preparation and a lot of organisation to have a good one, but the few times I have done them I made a few hundred dollars.

I have always been amazed at what people buy at garage sales and what people will haggle over. It’s the things you think are worthless that seem to sell.

Garage sales tend to be cheaper than eBay or op shops. People expect a bargain and will haggle over the stupidest things. I remember one I had. There was a tea for 1 set, china, wrapped ready for a present (because it was an unwanted one, I don’t drink tea!) I had $1 on it and a man who had already spent $5 on crap (the stuff I thought was worth nothing) was haggling to get it for 50c. I said no, his wife didn’t even want him to buy it, and didn’t want me to go lower. After a bit of back and forth he bought it for $1. I was so surprised someone would haggle on a cheap item.

Try not to take it personally when people offer ridiculously low, because they will. You have second’s dealers looking for stuff, people who buy and relist on eBay, everyone wants something for nothing.

Here are some tips for holding your own garage sale
1.) Advertise it well. Place an ad in your local paper, signs on community noticeboards, signs on the street directing people to your garage sale. It’s advisable to only place the street name, not number in the paper; otherwise people will rock up at 6am and expect to be able to see everything.
2.) Have a definite start time. For example, 8am, and do not sell before it. Generally you will have second hand dealers coming before the start time trying to get everything for nothing.
3.) Sell things other than your old stuff. Have a sausage sizzle, sell cold drinks, muffins etc... If you’re holding one the day before something (e.g. Mothers Day) you could even wrap up some muffins or cakes nicely.
4.) Have lots of bags and boxes and newspaper handy to wrap and pack things with.
5.) Display everything well. Hang clothes up on racks and try not to have everything squished together on a few tables.
6.) Price everything. People don’t like having to ask how much things are, so it’s easier to have everything priced.
7.) Consider combining everything with other people in the street. It reduces advertising costs and since it will be bigger, usually attracts more people. You can use coloured dots to determine who’s is what. Yellow for Jade, green for Sally etc... So everything can still be labelled. Simply peel the stickers off and put in a book to know who gets how much at the end of the day.
8.) Keep a change bag, not a tin. Tins are very easy to steal where as a bag on you is a whole lot harder. Make sure you have lots of coins and small notes.
9.) Keep your house locked. You do not want people having a wander through whilst you are busy with people and helping themselves to whatever they feel like!
10.) Have chairs handy to sit when it is slow and for others to sit whilst waiting for their family/friends to keep looking. Having colouring books etc... for kids to use is great as it keeps them occupied and people are more likely to linger and look if the kids aren’t whingeing at them.
Most of all have fun with it. Chat and be friendly. It can be a great way to meet you neighbours and make a few dollars.