View Full Version : Garage Sale Tips Needed
03-09-2003, 02:29 AM
No, funny punners, I am not selling my garage.
However, a few homes on our street are having a garage sale next Saturday and I haven't had one in a long time. I certainly have a lot of crap I would not mind getting rid of...and I know one man's junk is another's treasure.
I want to put a price tag on everything. Should I put my "final" price or should I mark everything up a bit to allow the game of haggling?
Do clothes sell well? Jackets and shirts and the like? Put them on coat hangers or just fold them on a table?
How much for CD's from name artists? How much for CD's for "who are they?" artists.
Old VCR's that need repair...any value at all?
How about old VCR tapes? How much?
Cups and plates...sell as a set only, or price individually?
Any other suggestions will be helpful! They want to start this at the ungodly hour of 7:00 AM...ouch.
03-09-2003, 03:18 AM
7 am, eh? Be prepared for people showing up even earlier :eek:
If possible, try to have your tables and things set up the night before. Don't worry about putting all of your merchandise out (especially electronics), but have it organised so you can set up quickly in the morning.
Have about $10 in quarters and about $50 in $5's, $20 in $1, and a few $10's. There is always some goober first thing in the morning with a $50 or $100 bill - trust me on this (argh).
Pricing is usually not ones lowest acceptable price as people expect to bargain at sales. Depending on how you set up, rather than mark individual items, have boxes or tables marked by price - i.e. 50 cent box, free box, $1 - whatever. It will save you the hassle of marking everything.
When selling clothes, what I've done in the past is have a table dedicated for clothes and marked $1 bag (paper or plactic carrier) - people can pick and choose what they want. For larger clothing items - jackets, etc - have these hung up and price marked.
Books - usually 3 for a $1, or price larger hardback separately.
Cassettes - 2 for $1, CD's a few bucks each.
Videos - $3-$5 each (less for kid's movies)
Video players - price them but be prepared to let people know what's wrong with it (if you know) - or mark as "make offer".
Dishes can be sold as a set but be prepared for people to ask to buy separately (it's up to you). Cutlery, same - set or separate. People are strange creatures. Some people will buy 1 knife or 3 spoons and that's all they want. Who knows?
Garage sales are fun things. I grew up going to them as well as having them. Been to ones in very posh neighbouthoods and some in the most rundown. I've gotten excellent bargains in posh sales and seen the most outrageous prices there as well. They all vary. Be prepared to accept offers. Many people don't blink an eye at prices, buut some just get a kick from haggling.
Hope this has been useful. Shout me if you need more info.
Have fun with it. Good luck.
03-09-2003, 08:04 AM
Personally, I've had better luck NOT pricing things. People may assume that the price is it - no haggling.
Just remember why you are doing this - is it to make money to pay the cable bill, or are you more interested in clearing some crap out of the house?
If it's crap clearing, don't price. If someone asks how much for a cup, say "whaddya give me?" As long as the offer is reasonable, take it. Keep in mind, whatever you don't sell, ya gotta lug back in the house or down to the local Goodwill.........
03-09-2003, 08:20 AM
Yeah, I just start putting stuff out side and let people deal.
I made $300.00 off of garbage (if I ain't using it, it's of no value, for the most part) at my last garage sale.
I bought a car at a garage sale.
Be sure anything not working is clearly labled as not working.
Some large ticket items (usable washing machine. couch, nice bikes) I would go ahead and put a price tag on to avoid the $5.00 offers for a $800.00 couch. But, be prepared to take lower offers than what you expected.
People usually aren't prepared to have cash on hand for large ticket items, so take deposits (but not checks) and take the item off the market.
Around here, kid's clothing sells well, but cheap. Adult stuff is a hard sale.
03-09-2003, 08:25 AM
Oh, here are some tips:
1. use a tool apron (from Home Depot) as a change/money holder. It's on your person, noone will walk off with it, etc.
2. Good signage is important! Use BIG BLACK markers, preferably on white or neon posterboard. Cheapos that use a Bic on brown cardboard always wonder why noone shows up.
3. Have fun!
03-09-2003, 10:39 AM
Start the sale @ 10am. This way people come at 8. If you start at 7, people are going to start coming around 6 for a look. These are dealers. They are gonna try to undercut any price you got & show a big wed of money.
You can put up a sign that says OPEN at 7, no early birds, too. In that case people are usually lining up earlier than that thinking you got some choice stuff. Usually dealers & non dealers make up that line.
Be sure to have a bank, like 30 ones, two tens, a couple twenties, quarters etc.
Used electronics $5, as is.
Have some free stuff. I got rid of a lot of big stuff just marking it free. It would be too much work keeping it around.
03-09-2003, 11:38 AM
No matter what price you put, people will haggle. Out philosophy was to not have anything under a quarter - if we can't reasonably charge a quarter for it, it goes in the "free" box. You can price something at ten cents and someone will want to give you a nickel for it. This drives me batty, since I hate the stupid practice of haggling. Show me the price you want, and if I like it, I'll pay it.
We've never had good luck with adult clothes.
You will get early birds, no matter what time you advertise. They will insist on rummaging through everything while you're setting up, and will not accept any price they don't set themselves. They also, even though they insist on paying the lowest price possible, only carry twenties.
Most importantly - when the garage sale is over, pack up the stuff that didn't sell and take it to Goodwill. Don't hang onto it for another year in the hopes that it will sell next year - it probably won't. Just get rid of it. You tried to sell it, you didn't get it out of your life. There's nothing sadder than that 1986 World's Fair mug that hasn't sold for three years.
I am strongly against not labeling prices. I have passed on stuff that wasn't priced a lot of times since I didn't want to go thru that "size each other up" routine.
Put a reasonable price on it. E.g., for exercise equipment it's "I'll pay you to haul it away." (Smirk)
03-09-2003, 01:08 PM
Depending on where you live, you may need to get a permit to have a garage sale. I think getting one where I live is something like $3 and you need to give a few days notice.
I definitely second (or third?) the idea of taking all the stuff that didn't sell down to Goodwill. Especially if you are planning on moving anytime soon.
03-09-2003, 01:19 PM
If you have quality stuff, consign it. I work in a consignment store, and it's interesting to me to see how people get a lot more money, even with a 50/50 split, than if they sold the same stuff at a garage sale. Even some odd stuff.
I'd pay $3.00 in a consignment store for a shirt I'd pay 50(why is there no cents key?) cents for at a garage sale. Garage sales are just deemed "cheaper" to buy at.
And consignment is more convenient.
As the shopper: I absolutely want things clearly marked with a reasonable price. If I want it bad enough, I'll haggle from there but if it's not priced at all, I won't even start the discussion. I like small touches that make the garage sale experience better for me. I like hot coffee offered. I like large signs helping me find you. I like the items clean and reasonably priced. I will walk away if the entire garage sale seems "overpriced". Be friendly and say "good morning". I've been to many garage sales where the seller is either surly or simply a bump on a log. Most garage sale buyers are a friendly sort that like to chat a bit.
As the seller: My advise is simple....don't. :D Every time I've had a garage sale, I SWEAR I'll never do it again. It's a helluva lot of work (cleaning, pricing, displaying) for little money. Then a few years roll around and I have way more stuff than space, so I do it again.
Good luck and have fun!
03-09-2003, 02:04 PM
¥700 does ¥ go in front or behind the number?
A useful page. (http://home.earthlink.net/~awinkelried/keyboard_shortcuts.html)
03-09-2003, 02:18 PM
Great tips, I'm planning on having a garage sale when it warms up a little more. A couple other things I have done for other garage sales:
* Depending on the amount of stuff you have, it might help to rent or borrow some of those big banquet size folding tables. You might be able to borrow them from a church or school, or at a rental place it might cost you $10 or so. Plus you can also rent a clothing rack to hang up items like prom dresses, curtains, coats or suits, etc. These items sell much better when on a rack like that so people can look them over conveniently.
* Also, I always have a calculator or adding machine on hand, if for nothing else but to make sure I don't shortchange somebody. I'm especially prone to those type mistakes when it's an early morning sale, before my 3rd cup of coffee!! :)
* It also helps on bigger or electronic items to have the owner's manual included if you have it. This can help you get a little better price, helping to show that the item was well taken care of.
03-09-2003, 03:53 PM
If you live in a confusing labyrnth of streets signs are important .
As a professional garage saler ( the pay suck but hey, look at all the crap I can buy!) if the signs are not legible ( written in big black permanent marker) I have learned not even to bother.
People who take the five minutes to do a sign (s) properly will get a bigger turn out.
Also, on your sign, put whatever the few big ticket items are:
Three blks east, first right. Follow signs.
Also, consider putting an ad in your local paper. Ten Bucks or so can make it worth your while.
And remember: Ninety percent of your traffic in the first three hours. After 12 noon, you pretty much are going to be left with your stuff. Don't be afraid to make a deal.
Tools, bike, books, furniture.
(If there is even a remote mention of books or kids stuff it is well worth a drive by.
03-09-2003, 04:02 PM
My aunts, who are veteran garage-sale shoppers, believe in the 10% rule- garage sale items should cos 10% of what they're actually worth (or less). So a $20 sweater would be priced at $2. So say my aunts, anyway.
Just my $.002 worth.
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor
03-09-2003, 04:12 PM
Always advertise in the paper. It is well worth your price. Just add a few cents to the price to cover the costs. Many newspapers will give you a Rummage Sale Kit, just for placing an ad. They are often quite helpful. Ask for them.
Use very thick letters in your sign, if you expect drivers to read it.
Add balloons to the sign, rather than colored papers. Balloons attract attention, colored papers just make it hard to read.
Clearly label all items. Then haggle, but never too much on the first day. Get into the major haggling on the last day of the sale.
All clothes on hangers.
Hide your tin box of change. Keep your folding money indoors, so it can't be snatched & run away with.
The VCR should be clearly marked as "Broken But Fixable--Sold As Is".
We had a robbery attempt at one sale. My brother & his 3 friends came outside to stop it, armed with baseball bats, a length of nickle-plated steel chain, & a battlemace (don't ask). The robbers were frightened off. So, keep a bat handy, JIC.
Don't sell your CDs or videos at a rummage sale. Go to Amazon & sell them on line. It's quick & easy, & you'll get way more money for them that way.
Team up with your neighbors & get a really big rummage sale going. Label each item with colored dots to keep track of who owns what.
03-09-2003, 06:03 PM
Also, remember to have fun.
It is one a great chance to meet really nice ( non-battlemace wielding) people.
But also, remember, you can either try to make money or get rid of your crap. Unless you are in a prime location ( and I hate you, but in a nice way) it cannot be both. Pick one and live with it.
If you are selling something that is broken, put down what you think it is that is wrong with it. There are always old men who like to tinker and putz with a twenty five cent radio.
03-09-2003, 06:08 PM
"# The VCR should be clearly marked as "Broken But Fixable--Sold As Is"."
Some electronic things come to life if you unplug them & plug them back in. So, 'as is' also works fine.
Yep, you do need a permit for some cities. With the cost of the permit & the ad, I'd have to clear about $50.00<---alot.
Our local auction place takes stuff in boxes too. I make more that way then I would with a garage sale. A vcr, uh hmmm sold as is, fetched not $5 but $80 :-)
03-09-2003, 06:27 PM
I've heard that you should also:
1) Make sure only one person will accept money for an item--this way, someone absconding with an item can't say, "Oh, I paid the young lady in the red shirt", and then skedaddle.
2) Don't allow access into your house for any reason. I know it sounds mean, but you don't know what strangers will do in your house. Suggest a service station or public building.
3) Open your garage so that potential buyers can plug in electric equipment to see if the items work. Don't forget to lock the door leading into the rest of your house.
03-09-2003, 09:49 PM
Don't sell your legos.
They go for craploads on ebay.
=( I wish I could afford legos again.
03-10-2003, 10:29 AM
One time someone took some jewelry. Keep an eye on that stuff & watch out for people that distract you with their friend so that they can take something.
03-10-2003, 11:44 AM
For Denver, Friday is the big sale day. I hear that nobody sells much on Saturday. There's a big flea market on Sat & Sun that's largely stocked by people's Friday garage sales.
The flea marketers run the neighborhoods on Friday, loading up on resalable stuff at cheap prices, then sell it again on the weekend.
03-10-2003, 01:06 PM
If you're running the sale with a spouse, make sure the two of you are on the same page. For example: "OK, we're selling that old recliner, marked $10, but we'll take $5 for it, right?" This just makes sure that the two of you agree on what price was too low, and what was acceptable.
Definitely have an extension cord handy to plug in electrical items.
03-10-2003, 04:40 PM
How about time?
In my area just about no one comes around after one pm. So why have a sale after that?
I agree, very few people came by after noon for my sale, but those that did bought stuff.
03-11-2003, 02:28 PM
Completely different advice:
You may be able to make more money with less bother by boxing the crap up and hauling it to goodwill. Keep a list of items - have goodwill sign off on it and give you a receipt, and write the mess off on your taxes.
There are sites that tell you what the IRS considers fair value - and its often significantly more than you'd get at a garage sale. You won't get 1 for 1 on your taxes, but you will get whatever you marginal rate is.
'Course, if you want to do the garage sale, as you pack it up to give to Goodwill, do the same.
03-11-2003, 06:39 PM
Well ftg, by one or two I might have a sign on the stuff to just take whatever you want--free. At least that way I don't have to pack it up & haul it somewhere--for free too :-)
03-12-2003, 08:37 AM
My husband wandered into a yard sale (years ago, when he was still doing the "extended cocktail hour") and was checking out tools and guy stuff. He walked up to the guy and asked him how much for the "whatever" tool he was holding. The guy said it wasn't for sale. He was just cleaning his garage. (hilarity ensues! Husband stumbles away with no good stuff to take home). Just thought I'd share.
03-12-2003, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by Harmonix
Don't sell your legos.
They go for craploads on ebay.
The same goes for nearly any toy or game. We collectors are vultures. We'll buy it for $.50 from you, sell it on ebay for $100 (or keep it and laugh at the suckers spending $100 for it on ebay) and brag to our friends about it later. Sorry, it's what we do. :)
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